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A Week with Fiona Wonder: A Novel by Kelly…
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A Week with Fiona Wonder: A Novel

by Kelly Huddleston

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3923292,072 (3.11)1 / 3

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I cannot, absolutely cannot say how much I disliked this book. The prose was badly written, the characters 'monochromatic' and always bitter and angry, and difficult to find sympathy with. The title has nothing to do with the actual events of the story and there is little finesse in any of it.

I was asked to read and review this novel by my wife who had been given an ARC, because she believed she was being too hard in her review. Having read the book now, I have to concur with her review, and actually think she was being kind, to be as positive as she was.

Perhaps I'm just old and cynical. ( )
  cedargrove | Jun 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Everything in this novel is bleak. Mercy's single, asthmatic mother works two waitress jobs, her best friend is not very nice, the town mall is dying, and no one has any hope. The only bright light on the horizon is Mercy's upcoming contest prize trip to meet a movie star. I need to read about happy people living in mansions to erase this depressing story from my mind. ( )
  ennie | Dec 31, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If I had to summarize A Week with Fiona Wonder in a phrase, I would call it a contemporary YA version of Roseanne. It very much has the feel of the show, but with more teen angst, but real angst not fake angst like on teen TV shows. It is very hard to describe, but a wonderful read. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Aug 14, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I like this book the characters are well written, interesting.it was a easy book to read I read it quickly.and would recommend this book for anyone interested in reading it. ( )
  EffixiousSundown | May 17, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm not one to dislike a book, but this book... First, the summary, cover, and title are all highly misleading. Second, the writing style and execution is weak and seems rushed.

I've scanned the reviews of others and I've found many saying the novel is "depressing." I quite enjoy reading "depressing" novels and I'm not particularly upset that Fiona Wonder is a bit sad, but I can definitely see why others would find this to be a problem. As many reviewers mentioned, they read the book expecting an upbeat coming of age story, when in actuality the book is dark and tries too hard to be deep while stuck on a superficial level.

I still connect with teen angst quite well and I felt that Mercy's (protagonist) angst is forced and fake, as if Kelly Huddleston had never in their life felt any type of angst--as if they'd read of it and tried to emulate it by studying it.

Reading this novel was difficult, as it is quite bland. Word choices, particularly in regards to dialogue, are awkward and unrealistic. I found many misspelled company and product names, which may have been due to copyright, but it would have been a better choice to invent new names and products than to try to re-name well-known products with an awkward generic name.

As previously stated, the book is bland and lacking detail in important places. The few details included are rambling descriptions of directions to the mall and drawn-out email composing. Unimportant background characters are given lengthy introductions and descriptions that are completely unnecessary. The only character development in the entire novel feels forced and abrupt. There is little escalation or foreshadowing, and the development that does occur makes absolutely no sense. Mercy's feelings are never explored. They're danced around and hinted at, but they're explosive and somewhat irrational with no explanation. I felt I understood the feelings of background characters better than I understood Mercy's.

There is not a single likeable or relatable character, except maybe Mercy's peer (and later friend) Robin and her mother's co-worker Gabriel. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the setting and/or plot were more interesting. The Great Gatsby has zero likable characters and yet, it is a classic due to it's story and message. Fiona Wonder has a sociopolitical message as well, but the idea of this message does not make up for it's poor execution.

The only emotions this novel brought me were annoyance and anger. Not once did I feel happy or sad for any of the characters. The majority of them were selfish, condescending, and self-absorbed with no moments of clarity. Maybe this was a statement Huddleston was trying to make, but it didn't feel like one. The characters literally just feel like soulless, pointless pieces in the most boring, uneventful, angry game of chess of all time. There were many times while reading this book that I felt the overwhelming need to set my e-reader down and physically "face-palm" in secondhand embarrassment for the author.

Reading this novel felt like reading the initial outline (not even the first draft) to what could be a great novel. The story has potential. Even the horrendous characters have potential, if only they were given some time, thought, and a cup of tea. ( )
  kaylayackamouih | May 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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For David, my catcher
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The Assistant Marketing Director at Almost There Magazine called at ten-thirty this morning to talk to me about what's going to happen next week.
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It is exactly one week until sixteen-year-old Mercy Swimmer is to play out a dream scenario: to spend an entire week with movie star Fiona Wonder, the prize awarded to the winner of a contest staged by a teen magazine.

Mercy is kind and compassionate and always tries to see the best in everybody, even when those around her do not respond similarly. For example, her mother’s snippy, hot-tempered friend Nikki is a kleptomaniac who constantly belittles her boyfriend. Her best friend Valerie has anger issues and a weight problem. Beautiful but cold Lady Redding, Valerie’s mother, feels entitled to everything even as others go without. And Mercy’s mother, a severe asthmatic who works two menial jobs in a “dead mall”, seems to care more about Fiona Wonder and Mercy’s upcoming week with her than the pressing issues in their own lives.

Everything is on track for Mercy’s upcoming week with Fiona Wonder, but when her mother’s asthma flairs up, Mercy’s world turns upside down and she is faced with a decision that will ultimately challenge her own capacity for compassion.

A Week with Fiona Wonder shines an intense light upon the dire consequences of social exclusivity and suggests the alternatives of inclusion, empathy and, indeed, mercy.
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