Saturday, June 15, 2013
When You Open Your Eyes, by Celeste Conway
As anyone who's ever tried to "help" a friend who really needed professional help knows, it's easy to fall into the trap of going from being a good friend to being in too deep. And when love and lust are involved (never mind throwing in an exotic locale), it's easy to get sucked in. Conway does a good job of showing that trap slowly forming and of showing how easy it is for Tess to get trapped. She also does an amazing job with the setting, depicting with great detail what life in Argentina is like for an expatriot teen. What works less well for me is the story itself, which heads in one particular direction for the first 264 pages, but shifts to a completely different trajectory in the last 40 or so. The split is so dramatic that it is basically like reading a different book. I felt cheated out of my "original" story. It's certainly foreshadowed so I can't complain that it came from nowhere, but the complete abandonment of the central characters and core plot elements makes the ending feel orphaned.