Review: Swell

7 November, 2012 / 2 Comments

book review

Swell by Julie Rieman Duck

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012
My Copy: eBook, 204 pages

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When Christian Rusch plucks Beck Ionesco from the freshman ranks for himself, she’s tempted with parties, popularity, and love. But as the free-flowing booze that soaks his world seeps into her own, Beck begins using liquid courage as a way to ignore Christian’s dark moods…and cover her anxiety about his flirtatious friend Hillman.

However, when Christian breaks up with Beck, and Hillman makes a dangerous move, no amount of alcohol can stop the pain or keep her out of trouble. And just when it seems like she’s lost everything, Beck is partnered with Jesse Leary for an art project. After spending time with him, Beck realizes it’s more than a study date…and Christian’s not happy about it. Then again, Beck’s not sure she’s happy with him, either.

But only after plowing through a bottle of wine, a wild fight, and one guardrail that becomes Christian’s last call, does Beck admit to her problem and ask for help from the one whose life secretly parallels her own.

My Review
This novel is very much an emotional rollercoaster that takes the reader through Beck’s struggle with fitting in, facing her alcohol addiction, and struggling through relationship ups-and-downs.  The story was very heart-wrenching and just made me want to reach out to this girl and help her to see the mistakes she was making!  It is a very strong coming-of-age story about a girl who makes a bunch of wrong choices — particularly with alcohol and things she will do to get her hands on it once she becomes hooked — and eventually needs to hit rock-bottom in order to admit and deal with her problems.

I have mixed feelings about the characters.  Jesse was by far my favourite character in the book.  He is funny, witty, and so sweet and understanding with Beck.  I thought that he was represented very nicely and was very well developed.  Beck really made me angry sometimes.  I did not agree with her decisions and I just wanted to scream at her for being so foolish!  Though Beck’s character irked me terribly, it did not stop me from sympathizing and connecting with her.  Her story is absolutely heart-wrenching and definitely sent my emotions on a rollercoaster.  I hated Christian.  I thought he was just a selfish, girl-using boy who Beck should not have been spending her time with.  Choose Jesse, Beck!!

Duck’s writing is good.  There was just one place that I thought would have been better had she written it differently.  At the beginning of the novel, the way Beck and Christian meet, start dating, and fall in love so quickly and with very little description irritated me.  It seemed way too abrupt and, therefore, caused me to not be into their relationship throughout the novel.  They also seemed very disconnected, even during the parts where they were being lovey-dovey.  I guess it just wasn’t all that convincing to me that either of them were actually in love with the other.  One little aspect that I loved, though, was how the word “swell” was used at the very beginning and the very end of the book with very different meanings.  I also thought that the styles of the chapters were great.  Each chapter — for about the first half of the novel — starts with a little snippet of something bad happening to Beck in the future before we continue on reading about the present.  Thus, the reader is left wondering what will happen to her and has to wait for the next chapter to learn a little bit more about that situation.
3 stars blue


A Peek Inside:
“Where the f**k do you think you’re going?”
A hand grasped my shirt and rolled me over.
Because it was dark, I couldn’t see the other 
hand that slapped me across the face before
pulling me up and slinging my body over his 

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Posted 7 November, 2012 by Sam in Book Reviews, Books / 2 CommentsTags: , , , ,

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2 Responses to “Review: Swell”

  1. Thanks so much for being part of the tour! I agree, this one is an emotional rollercoaster. I thought the snippets in the beginning of chapters was great as well, but almost drove me nuts with me needing to know what happens! I thought it was well done. I’m glad you mostly enjoyed the book!

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