PJV Quickie: While Sunshine had some strong and likable characters and an interesting plot, the author tried to cover too much in too little time. I was often lost wondering what the book was about and the direction that the story would be heading in.

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Title: Sunshine
Author: Nikki Rae
Series: Sunshine #1
Type: Young Adult/Paranormal
Published: January 28th 2013 by Nikki Rae
Source: Author
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Review:

Sunshine is truly a hard book to review because I liked it as much as I disliked it. For one, I was a big fan of the characters. I thought Sophie was a perfect female lead because, for the most part, she felt real. Sophie’s home life is miserable thanks to her mom who resents her for disrupting her perfect life by being allergic to the sun. Unfortunately, her mom is not the only shadow in her life. There’s also Jack, her ex-boyfriend, who has hurt and betrayed her. In order to cope with the constant pain, she hurts herself.

“It’s one thing when someone hurts themselves. It’s another when you have no say in when you get hurt or who is hurting you.”

I loved that it dealt with a few dark and gritty topics because I don’t think YA books touch on these subjects often enough. I firmly believe that your teenage years are the hardest to get through and that those years are often influenced by others around you. The relationships you form can either have a negative or positive effect on your self confidence and your well being. So, It makes sense that, after being hurt by so many, Sophie would completely close off herself from everyone.

But then Myles enters her life and he changes everything. Myles is quiet, shy, and have a few secrets of his own. He’s instantly drawn to Sophie, who wants nothing to do with him. But avoiding him proves to be hard because he has a way of showing up whenever she needs him. It was amazing to see the change in Sophie once she begins to open up to Myles. She goes from a broken woman who fears being touched, to actually enjoying being in his company. Eventually, she even starts to trust him, which. Of course the change is neither easy nor instant, it takes time, but, while he got frustrated at times, Myles was very patient with Sophie for the most part.

But, has much as I liked the main characters, there were times that I couldn’t get into the story. For one, the author’s writing style was choppy both in dialogue and with the flow of the story. There were times that I had to roll my eyes at the interaction between the characters because the conversations seemed forced and/or random. Secondly, After reading 70% of the book, I found that I was confused about what the book was about and where it was heading, which is usually a bad sign. While I did read the blurb before requesting a copy of the book, I really didn’t remember anything about it once I started reading it, so I pretty much went into it blindly. But, honestly, there’s no way I shouldn’t have a firm understanding of what the book is the about after the 30% mark. Eventually I realized that the issue was that the author tried to cover too much in one book, which could have easily been avoided since this is intended as the first book in a series. First we have Sophie’s personal home life, her secrets, her coping mechanism. Then there’s Myles’ home life, Myles’ secret, Myles’ supposed “abuse”, and a few other random stuff that was thrown in for no reason, only to be nicely cleaned up in the end.

A perfect example of this is the character Michael. The blurb hints at an evil who not only threatens Sophie’s life, but her families’ as well. First, this plot doesn’t show up until you’re 82% into the book and, even then, her family being threatened is only a mild, insignificant part of the story. Secondly, their was no build up or hint for the turn in the plot. One minute we’re reading a book about the relationship between two broken individuals, the next minute we’re randomly reading about some psycho who’s after Sophie. The sad thing about it is that we can’t even claim that it was a plot twist. There’s a certain finesse to a plot twist, while it pops up out of nowhere, it’s done in a way that convinces the reader that the twist makes sense and that it belongs in that part of the story.

Then there were questions left unanswered. For example, I would be forever grateful if I was told why Sophie felt the need to “blow chunks” every other chapter. It was both disturbing and annoying and I just didn’t understand why that was important enough to be mentioned at least every few chapters. Plus, it takes away from the seriousness of the situation when it’s something that she always does and there’s no rhyme or reason to the episodes. Ironically, the one time that Sophie actually really needs to “blow chunks” is the one time that she doesn’t feel like doing it. I would also like to know why Michael felt that Sophie had to die. It’s very apparent that it’s not because of Myles, it’s something about her specifically. I thought that this would be a nice set up for a cliffhanger, but the author went in a completely different direction, which was really no direction at all.

On top of all that, there’s also the issue with Myles and Sophie’s romance , which is pretty much nonexistent. Sure, I saw where the author was trying to go with their storyline, but it seemed a bit forced. One minute they’re friends and we’re waiting for the sparks to fly, the next minute the sparks are skipped over and they’re already discussing their “sorta” relationship.

While there were a number of things I didn’t like about the book, I enjoyed it overall. I loved that Miss Rae was willing to go beyond the typical vampire book and write about a number of sensitive topics, though I wished she had gone a little bit more in depth with it. I think that whole thing was kind of passed over and never really revisited again. But the intention was there and I appreciate that, so I’m definitely looking forward to the second book in this series, I just hope it’ll be more clear and concise.

mich