February 18, 2014

Review: Hung Up by Kristen Tracy

Title: Hung Up
Author: Kristen Tracy
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC borrowed from Work
First Reaction: Absolutely adorable, but the structure made it fall kinda flat.
Can you fall in love with a voice? This witty romance, told entirely through phone calls, chronicles the tale of a wrong number gone right.

It all started with a wrong number. The voicemails Lucy left on James’s phone were meant for someone else—someone who used to have James’s digits. But then when James finally answers and the two start to talk, a unique bond forms between the two teens.

Gradually Lucy and James begin to understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives. But when James wants to meet in person, Lucy is strangely resistant. And when her secret is revealed, he’ll understand why…

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Lucy leaves James a very angry voicemail, thinking his number is the number for this online business that's ripped her off. James calls Lucy back and lets her know she's got the wrong guy. Instead of moving on with their lives and never speaking again, these two start calling each other. A lot.

Let's break this down:

This book is written in transcript form, giving the reader full access to the dialogue of every conversation these two have - but doesn't really give any insight into anything else.

Don't get me wrong. I thought this book was absolutely adorable. There was drama and sadness and family situations woven into that adorable-ness that lent this book more depth than I thought possible, given the formatting. And I loved all of that. I just felt like I couldn't really picture Lucy and James as people. They were kind of...  flat? Which makes sense, because phone calls aren't exactly three dimensional. 

But that issue aside, I really did think this book had all the makings of a great contemporary. There's the light hearted banter, the subtle hints to issues with both parties, the drama that comes with phone calls - someone might not (and did not) answer the phone for days and it's not like they can just confront the other if no one picks up. It's a unique situation, both in the trouble it brings and in the good it can do. I mean, the phone calls really provide is a pair of teens who would have never been able to approach each other in real life an opportunity to help the other move past their personal issues. 

All in all, the emotional support Lucy and James provide for each other is truly heartwarming. They only know what the other's voice sounds like. Despite the fact that they really know nothing about each other, they keep talking and, for some reason, care about each other. The affection they have for each other is so honest and lovely. I think that speaks to something really sweet and lovely about human nature and I love it. (But... I still feel like the character development really suffered for lack of proper prose.)

The long and short of it?

Plot: Really clever. The twists really surprised me and the set up was truly excellent.
World Building: I loved and believe in Lucy and James.
Character Development: Kind flat... Even though I love Lucy and James, they kind of felt like paper cut outs or un-colored in animated characters.
Prose: Thin and unimpressive - which makes sense because it's just the talk and none of the descriptors.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Despite my issues with it, this book was really sweet and kinda heartbreaking. It's a quick read, so if you're looking for something short, cute, and vaguely bittersweet between books, you can easily work through this one in a couple of hours between other books.

Can you forgive a book for its flatness? Maybe you're just interested in a quick, contemporary read? I know I wasn't all that disappointed, so let me know what you're thinking in the comments below!