All That Matters
by Youseph Tanha;
Published July 27th 2011 by Youseph Tanha ; Kindle Edition
Source: review copy
Ethan Wright is just like any other high school kid that is one day lucky enough to meet the girl of his dreams. Throughout the course of high school the young couple learn to cope with incredibly difficult odds to discover all that matters.– Goodreads blurb
This was the kind of plot that I’d totally be into. Pretty straightforward, dramatic, full of feeling. The story would have been really up my alley, except for some reason it didn’t go that way.
For one thing, despite the story, I didn’t feel any connection whatsoever to the characters. I sympathized with the idea of them, but I didn’t really feel much about the specific characters I was reading about, you know?
There was a direct, candid quality to the author’s voice, but the writing itself wasn’t gripping and it didn’t elicit my emotional involvement nearly as much as it could have, I’m sorry. I was so un-invested that I didn’t even feel bad for Ethan when Amanda pulled a Houdini on him, I wasn’t disappointed in her or her decision, and frankly I didn’t feel like there was anything there between them to begin with. I read about these things, but I didn’t feel they were going on for either of them.
I think the idea of not telling your reader what characters are feeling and only ‘showing’ is turning some potentially good stories into not such good ones; this is another example of the situation/action oriented sort of writing, and if you’re not going to give us some really intense or exciting or desolating situation/action scenes, and you’re not going to skilfully tell us in a more or less subtle way what the characters feel either, as readers we just might not get anything about your character’s emotions and thoughts. It’s just a thought. You can always be cryptic and metaphorical and very literary in daring ways, but if you’re going for accessible I feel you should make it not only word-accessible but emotionally-accessible as well.
The plot is a good idea, and if you’re cool with sad tales that aren’t dramatic either by intensity or approach, then you might want to give it a try.