Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ginger High

Ginger High
by Melissa Burmester

Summary (From
Ginger High is no ordinary school. It is a school for students with special powers. Many years ago people came to Earth from the Kingdom of Animist, a parallel universe. Two long time friends, Matthias and Amanta, attended the school and then returned home to Animist. The school has had many unexplained deaths. Daisy Fisher attends the school after her old school burns down. Matthias and Amanta are called back to the school to help solve the mysteries. What are powers? And what is with this crazy school? Welcome to Ginger High.

How to put this nicely... I did not enjoy this book. My husband was ready to kill me because I kept on reading paragraphs out loud and saying "What????". And he was EVEN more surprised when I actually finished it. And this is why:

I'm breaking it down to really explain what is wrong with this book...

The characters are bland, often described only by name or as their gender. At times, you're not even sure who the adults are and who the kids are - because there is a severe lack of characterization in both description and dialogue. Also, when you have a lot of characters and none of them stick in your head, it's hard to keep track of them and the plot.

Plot - The biggest clue of a problem with plot is if your readers have no clue what is going on. I mean, at some point it focuses to solving a string of murders. The jumping time frame really messes with your head as well. I felt like there really wasn't a central plot bringing everything together.

Fantasy elements - I love the idea of another world - Animist - unfortunately, when the characters are in Animist - well, there is a severe lack of description and you only know the characters are there because the author blatantly points it out. Vampires were also a predominant feature but even though they were evil, they weren't all that scary. Again, because of the bland descriptions or lack thereof.

What stuck with me: The ominous descriptions of wooden bracelets.

I feel severely guilty writing this review. I understand the author was 12 when writing this novel, but it's not a novel that should be published. I believe that, as a writer at 12, she did not have enough writing experiences to properly describe and develop this novel. I love the potential this book had, but the book itself was something that would need a lot more work before being sent to print. And, frankly, I'm surprised it did.


Now, I am going to send this fairly nice looking ARC over to Kate (The Neverending Shelf). And Kate, I challenge you to like this book - or at least finish it!!!

Stay tuned. Once Kate has read it, she'll send me her response to the book and I'll post it on the blog.

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.


  1. WOW, what a nice review, LOL I love your honest take - you were nice, and explained it well.

    Now lets see what Kate thinks! :)

  2. It's hard to post a review for a book you didn't like, but you explained your reasons very well and honestly.

    Nicely done!

    Wow, to be 12 and have your story published! Unreal.

  3. At least you did an honest review. I had a book not long ago that I just didn't want to finish but did so I commend you on being able to finish it. Side note if you take away the fangs on the cover it reminds me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  4. I'm going to be ageist here and say, I'm not sure I'd willingly read a book written by a 12 year old, unless the 12 year old was a genius or Jane fricken Austen. I know that's horrible, but, I sort of have this perception that great writers have some sort of life experience. Urg, I'm not sure where I was going with this, boyfriend made a strange noise and I lost my train of thought, but yeah, I do think its cool she was published so young, but something I'll pass on.

  5. Kudos to the author for being published at only 12 but its a shame you weren't able to enjoy it. It will be interesting to see what Kate thinks of it but thanks for the honest review.

    @ Aprilnicole - I totally thought of Rocky Horror when I saw the cover!! In fact if I saw the book in a shop I'd have probably picked it up on the strength of the cover alone LOL

  6. Great job with the review! I'm struggling with one myself and may take some pointers from yours. You did a good job being objective. Now I'm just really interested in what Kate has to say about it! LOL...this should be good.

  7. I wouldn't want anyone to read something I wrote when I was 12. Eeek!

  8. Not every book is good. Your honest review saves me some time, because I have to read everything that looks even vaguely vampirey, and if I don't like this, I won't feel alone! Your remarks are fair and well thought out.

  9. I saw that you were hating it on Twitter. Interesting to see why. It is a very rare book written by a 12 year old that should be published.

  10. Honestly, great at 12 years old, you wrote a book, good for you. Now store it on a shelf somewhere and keep writing and living, and maybe come back to it one day, or write other things and have it published as your juvenalia someday, just for kicks. But why feel the need to publish it?
    Who publishes a 12 year old unless the kid is a genuis, and even then, writing requires a ton of life experience to flesh it out, which a 12 year old just doesn't have and can't express.
    Great, honest review.

  11. I read this book when I first started blogging, and I completely agree with you. Yes, it's awesome work for a 12 year-old. But seriously, who can really expect a 12 year-old's work to make it in the publishing world, unless (as Misty said), the kid's a genius. Props to you on giving an honest review though. Sometimes those aren't always easy to write!

  12. The cover is amazing, I would have picked it up based on that alone. But, I've heard from many that Ginger High was a bit hard to follow and lackluster. I'll still give it a shot but I'm not expecting much.


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