199. The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis by Aurelia

Chapter One: Genesis by Aurelia.  (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Pages: 177
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 22, 2012
First Published: Sep. 9, 2011
Publisher: Gerber Rigler
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5

First sentence: "The conference was scheduled to begin at 11:11 PM, sharp."

Publisher's Summary: "Could a thirteen-year-old’s summer be any more of a nightmare? First Julia’s dad takes off to start a whole new family. Then Julia’s mom, Elizabeth, yanks Julia from cheerleader camp. If that’s not bad enough, Elizabeth exiles Julia to eight exciting weeks with Julia’s recently widowed grandmother in Cedarwood Ridge, land of no signal, no mall, no best friend Kellie. Julia’s only hope for human contact in the land that cell towers forgot is geeky John Freeman, who is six months younger than she and about a million years behind her idea of cool.

If only Julia knew that her mom plans to dump her at Grandma’s not just for the summer, but for a whole year. If only Julia knew that although things may look desperate, a collective of wondrous beings called The Twenty-Two are watching over her and trying to make contact. If only Julia knew that they could tell Julia every thought she never knew she had and bend her reality in any way they choose. And that she’d be with John Freeman when it happened. And that he’d think it was cool. And that is just the beginning. For this seemingly mismatched pair of thirteen-year-olds will come to understand that they have been chosen to save the world from the sinister manipulations of Niem Vidalgo Oten, a terrifying corporate overlord with supernatural powers who secretly rules digital communications all over the world and commands an army of ruthless minions."

Acquired: Received an egalley from the publisher through Netgalley.
Reason for Reading: The premise piqued my interest.

I'm going into this review without a clue as to what my rating will be nor which way my review is going to lean.  This is a tough review for me write.  On the one hand, I really did not like this book and yet, I was completely hooked on the premise and couldn't stop reading!  How does one really dislike yet enjoy a book at the same time?  I'm not sure but it happened with me and "Genesis".

First off, two of the main characters, Julie and her mother Elizabeth, are both extremely unlikable characters.  Julie is a teenaged brat who is so wrapped up in herself that she inhabits her own little world where she regularly verbally abuses her mother and friends alike.  Her mother is no better as she permits this behaviour by walking on eggshells around her daughter giving her power over their mother/daughter relationship so that she, the parent, is a pathetic victim of bullying by her own 13yo daughter.  While at the same time she seems to have the exact mother/daughter relationship with her own mother!  I hated these two characters passionately and wanted to slap some sense into them almost every time they opened their mouths!

Fortunately before we meet these two we are introduced to the intriguing Twenty-two, the beings who exist in between time and space who can interact and have effect upon what happens on our world to help things along for the better.  They recruit people to help out and especially now help is needed as a dark power is trying to take over the world through digital communications.  This story line is unique and the dynamics between the group of beings is very engaging.  On top of this when we meet John we finally are introduced to a likable main character.  John is a science geek, has social anxieties, obsessions and has a rather typical Asperger's personality.  Along with this he is just an all around nice, fun guy.  The character of John carries  the book as it would have quickly disintegrated without him. 

So with John and the plot, there is something here that did capture my imagination and kept me reading.  Julia's character does grow through the book and her rather unbelievable episode that causes a change of heart may possibly make her character more bearable in the second book of this series.  I'd be willing to try the second book to see if it gets better from here.

One thing I must mention though that I am very upset with is the author's use of the word "retard" in conversation between two grown women.  This is unacceptable.  As a member of the mental health community, it is imperative that people be aware of the hurtfulness of this word.  It has the same affect on a large portion of society as the n- word does on blacks, and the f- word on gays.  I don't want the word , or the others, banned out of existence; they have their place within historical settings or when showing the ignorant hatred of the person speaking.  But the use of "retard" has no place in the casual conversation of a supposedly intelligent adult business woman.


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