The Year of the Great Seventh
By Teresa Orts
Published on July 6th, 2013
Published by Drayton Press
Published by Drayton Press
Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.
To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.
It is unfortunate that I have quite a few negatives to say about this book, because the premise seems pretty cool. I am into Egyptian mythology, and I think Sophie is a great character. She is down-to-earth, but still very now. Her character traits are not magnified in any way. She is non-judgmental about her friends and their lifestyles, which, at times, can be a bit "fast". She is easy to relate to, and you feel like she could be a real person...
Until the book turns into fantasy.
I feel so horrible about this, especially because nearly all of the reviews on GoodReads have been positive... but here we go with the issues:
1. Time and its passage: I did not feel the author did a very good job of marking the passage of time. Sophie and Nate are suddenly obsessed with each other. Occasionally the author will tell you a few weeks have passed, but you still do not feel that a long amount of time has gone by, so you sort of wonder how they fell in love with each other.
2. Lust. Vomit. This relates back to #1... their yearning for each other is just not believable because they have basically had very little interaction with each other. Now, while we all know high school students can feel very passionately with very little reason or stimuli, I just cannot buy this. It is like an attempt at a star-crossed lovers thing, but without you really believing they are star-crossed. Whenever Sophie starts talking about how much she misses Nate, it feels out of the blue to me.
3. The ending.... whaaaaaaaaaaaaa??!? I still have no freaking idea what happened. At all. I re-read it several times. I have no idea what exactly happened to Sophie, no idea what is going on with Nate. I don't get the prophecy or how it falls together. The explanation did not make sense to me at all. I cannot emphasize this enough. I am not an idiot, I just did not follow it, no matter how hard I tried. Sophie has somewhat of a "vision" early in the novel, which is incongruous - how is she somehow part of this prophecy?? I was left feeling annoyed.
4. Freshman mistakes: It is clear this is a first novel. This could have been so much better with more refinement and perhaps a critical eye from a seasoned author. You know how sometimes you write something, then you go back later to another part and edit it, and you use the same phrase? For example, if right now I wrote (again) "clearly this is a first novel", you would think to yourself "Uh, she just wrote that a few sentences ago, why is she using the same phrase again?" This happened at least 3 times in the book. The author used a distinct phrase and then re-used it a few paragraphs later.
On the whole, the story has potential, but it really needed to be fleshed out more. The ending, as I said, was so confusing. I wish the author had given more time to build the end and explain what was going on. When Nate starts "having issues", I was taken aback, because until then, it seems like a normal non-fantasy book, and I was unable to visualize what is happening to him.
I would be curious to read the second book to see if it is a little better in terms of detail and explanation, but I definitely have more enticing items on my list.
p.s.(a?) Some drinking/sex/drugs in this make it inappropriate for the jr high set, but this would be an okay read for a high school student.