Author: Kristy Tate
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars (3.5)
Everyone talks to animals. Some do it every day, although very few stop to listen for a reply. Lizbet Wood does, and this is just one of the things that set her apart. She really doesn’t understand how different she is until violence shatters her solitary existence.
While Lizbet seeks to understand why mother sought refuge on a deserted island in the Pacific Northwest, she comes face to face with the dangers her mother tried, but failed to escape. When her mother is gravely injured, Lizbet is forced from the island and thrust into a world even more complex and threatening than she could have ever imagined. A world where the animals have no say…or do they?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I was so excited to read another book by Kristy Tate, and Menagerie didn’t disappoint. Much.
Technically speaking, the book was well written. I ran into one or two typos, but that was pretty much it. The book flowed well, was fast-paced without feeling rushed, and I enjoyed the colorful characters and unique world-building behind Menagerie. I didn’t give this book five stars, however.
Here’s the thing: the book started with a strong, interesting main character with a very mysterious past and living situation. I was sucked into her odd tale, and I loved how strong she was as the main character… but it felt like the author set up the story for this fascinating, magical narrative… and then a few chapters in, the secluded girl who spoke to animals and was drugged by her mother anytime they had visitors to their small island ended up in a high school house party like any other teen drama I’ve read. I felt like the book had been set up for something spectacular, and it was a bit of a let down to fall back on the usual tropes and not spend more time exploring the oddness of this girl. It fell a little flat.
Does that mean I didn’t like the story? No. I liked it a lot, enough that I gave it four stars—I just wish more had been done to accentuate the bits of this story that make it stand out from every other YA Romance. In the end, if you like YA Fantasy or YA Romance, you’re probably going to love this book. It’s well-written, and the characters are interesting and endearing… but it did end rather abruptly, and I do feel like more could have been done to push this to be the five-star read I’d hoped it would be. Either way, it’s still worth a read.