Book Review – ‘Losing Lila’ by Sarah Alderson

Felt like it was straight from the scripts of a CW show…

Losing Lila Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 346

From Goodreads:

Alex and Lila are on the run, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, which is somehow tracking their every move. While Alex is determined to keep Lila safe and her ability secret at any cost, Lila’s only thought is of finding a way back to California so she can rescue her brother and mother from the military base where they’re being held.

Struggling to control both her growing power and her deepening feelings for Alex, Lila decides the time has finally come to stop running and start fighting. Together with Alex, Demos, and the others she’s come to think of as family, Lila plans not only to save her brother and mum, but also to completely destroy the Unit and everything it stands for. But the plan requires Lila to return to California alone, andto make friends with the enemy – and in doing so, she risks losing everything: Alex, her family… even her life.  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I really liked this follow up to ‘Hunting Lila.’ A group of teens with special abilities on the run from a maniacal Military Contract Organisation. Winner, winner chicken dinner.

It was great to see our protagonist Lila get a little more independence; although that was counteracted by her swooning and needing Alex (her love interest and brothers best friend) all the time. It felt a little weak. It was compounded by the narrative tone and actions of Lila (and Suki) which came of as childish far too often. But I had less problems stopping me from enjoying the novel than I did in the first book of the series ‘Hunting Lila.’

Losing Lila’ is very much like a Disney or NickTeen movie of the week. Saccharine sweet, moments of stereotypical teen behaviour mixed with an action infused plot. I do class it as a guilty pleasure though, I got caught up in the subterfuge, the development of their psychic abilities, and was floored by a few of the plot twists I didn’t see coming.

The story itself is engaging. I think if the comical notes of the story were approached differently, they could have pulled the story along in that Buffy-like pun in the middle of action style.

The element of family, and how it was woven into the storyline was fun; and I appreciated how bonds are tested and reshaped. Though there was some moments where I thought it was too premeditated by the author.

I think I like the relationship between Lila and Alex the least, even if they are the main characters in ‘Losing Lila.’ There was no tension and build up, it moved right into this desperate place that felt like it lacked substance – it was the 10 year old girl’s version of love.

Great follow up and conclusion to the series, probably better suited to a younger tween audience, but still an interesting way to spend a winter’s day tucked up on the couch with a light action-filled book.

Overall feeling: *eating popcorn*
Losing Lila Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Losing Lila Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Book Review – Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

A paranormal cat and mouse with great potential.

Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 318

From Goodreads:

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realizes that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Hunting Lila’ is a fun adventure with a group of individuals possessing psy(chic) abilities pitted against a military group – and Lila is caught in-between. Certainly a great premise, and a very enjoyable novel, but it fell a little flat for me.

It’s hard to place why it felt unremarkable – quite possibly it was a little too busy – with so much going on in plot and sub-plot, where character development became secondary.

There was also an element of instalove between Lila and Alex – I found that kind of infuriating. But he was a nice piece of eye candy to read about.

The story had an air of the superficial as well – everyone was gorgeous, everyone was a hero – whether they had special abilities or military training and gadgets, a lot of the ordinary and the relatable just wasn’t there.

Plus, half of the cast intrinsic to the story line were introduced in the second act.

Now that the yucky stuff is done and dusted, let me share what I appreciated about ‘Hunting Lila:’

I loved the different types of psychic abilities – telepaths, astral projectors, a psychokenosist, telekinetics, sifters, all reminding me of the graphic novel (and subsequent film adaptation) ‘Push.’ This had a very strong X-Men Origins vibe.

Lila, our protagonist is very relatable in the beginning and I felt all of her choices during the actions scenes made complete sense. It was the decisions pertaining to her love interest that had my hackles up. Lila is cute, spunky, somewhat naive and has the potential to be a great character and force of nature. She does tend to flounder a bit and I’m excited to see where Sarah Alderson takes Lila in this trilogy.

Jack, Lila’s brother added a fun dynamic into the romance between her and Alex, as well to the bait-and-switch scenario.

But I think ultimately, the military aspect felt unrealistic, as did the change of heart Lila comes to – I hungered for more angst and tribulation for her predicament.

The twist at the end was a great surprise amongst a sea of predictability. This would fall more into my ‘guilty pleasure’ category, and something I’m on the fence about recommending to others. While I enjoyed ‘Hunting Lila,’ and there is certainly a lot to revel in, it didn’t have that spark.

I have a hunch what is going to happen in the second book for this series, and I will pick it up as I am still interested to see where this story will go. Let’s hope that it is even better than ‘Hunting Lila’ and redeems the author in my eyes. Bring on ‘Losing Lila!’

Overall feeling: A bit of a love/hate relationship for me.

 Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.