So, I might get a little tiny bit ranty…just keep in mind my reviews are for READERS. K, thanks!
It’s hard for me to put this nicely, but I just plain did not like The Innocents by Lili Peloquin. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of an open mind. I just could not get into The Innocents. I disliked the characters. I was bored by the plotting. I never felt compelled to set my life aside to read this book, and for a book that is under 300 pages, it sure did take me a long time to get through.
When Alice and Charlie’s mom gets remarried to Richard, the two find themselves as fish out of water as they are thrust from a working class lifestyle to living like the 1%. The Innocents follows Alice and Charlie as they head to the beach for a summer among the upper crust. While adjusting to their new lives, the two make friends, meet boys, and try to solve the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Camille, Richard’s daughter. I felt the summary was interesting, but ultimately I was disappointed.
You guys, Alice is like the most boring person ever. She is a creep, too. Like, she gets all obsessed with Camille’s ex Tommy and there are a few pages where we just read a description of Alice staring at a picture of Tommy and Camille at the country club. I was really weirded out. Plus, Alice doesn’t try to make friends or anything. She just sits around all day painting or reading. I know that bit about reading is me calling the kettle black, but for serious SHE IS SO BORING. Also, she is kind of an idiot about a LOT of things. AND dumps her old friends and her old boyfriend from her pre-rich life which absolutely did not endear her to me. Then there is Alice’s sister Charlie, who is supposed to be interesting because she has a tramp stamp and drinks a lot. Also, I gleaned that Charlie is a slow reader. Charlie’s love interest is Jude who is a total jerk and I just cannot abide a jerk-face love interest. Like, the whole time reading I am alllll girl you can DO BETTER! But, kind of half heartedly because I could barely bring myself to care about the characters.
I hate to say this, but the writing style was very convoluted, as someone who writes convoluted reviews. Every little bit of action or thought is explained. The most inane things are ruminated on for PAGES. The Innocents had a very hard time keeping my attention. I know the book is short, but I felt like a lot of the description could have been cut to make room for some action or something. I mean, seriously, NOTHING HAPPENS during the book. Like, there’s a moment where I’m like oh yes, finally some tension and suspense, but nope.
In good conscience, I have a tough time recommending The Innocents. I imagine that there are people out there who will like it, and heck a few of my friends enjoyed it. But for me, I like my books with substance and with characters that I actually FEEL something towards — either love or hate. I guess if you like reading about nouveau riche girls, the beach, and love interests who are TOTALLY awful, then you might like The Innocents.
Disclosure: Won as part of Breathless Reads Box Set at Oblong Books.
Other reviews of The Innocents by Lili Peloquin:
Mint Tea And A Good Book – “The book was enthralling”