The Awakening of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, #2)The Awakening of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh boy. Sequels. Sequels have so much potential. I feel like this sequel squandered most of its potential. The book picks up a short while after the first, and it completely glosses over Sunshine meeting her birth father and jumps right into “let’s sit and have a lot of exposition.” Which was kind of a disappointment. And then the book ended up falling into a messy jumble where nothing happens, like when you’re in the middle of knitting and your ball of yarn rolls away and gets tangled up. Sunshine ends up going to Mexico (Mexico?) to a remote jungle where her birth father wants to train her. And of course she leaves Blond Boy Next Door behind and meets Brunet Exotic Bad Boy (the standard YA love triangle). But most of the resulting story is an endless training montage with non sequitor demon encounters that don’t really do anything to further the plot, they just remind you that “scary things are happening but meanwhile let’s talk some more about Sunshine wearing ratty clothes and becoming the best Looseach.

( I know I sound like I hate the book. I really don’t hate it, I was just super disappointed and I’m kind of salty about it.)

It honestly doesn’t feel like anything happened in the book. Like if you asked me to summarzie the book in one sentence it would probably be “Sunshine trains a lot and is torn between two boys.” And mixed into the training montage are lots of weird moments- her mother trying to seduce Nolan for her own purposes, her father being a cardboard cutout of emotionless mystery, her best friend driving from Texas to Mexico and then they drive to Mexico to the Pacific Northwest with barely a mention of WOW THAT’S A LONG TRIP. And then there’s the messy plotline about characters from the first book suddenly reappearing, and the book’s inevitable cliffhanger. Thank goodness there’s a third book, because this book was a hot mess. I still read it, and I’m still glad I read it because it’s a nice little series, but this particular book was very weak. I would never recommend it as a standalone book, and I think it’ll be more palatable once I’ve read the next one. But the jury will have to stay out on that one until then.

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The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, #1)The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not even going to lie, I read this book because I kept seeing it at Target and the cover intrigued me. I finally picked it up at the local library and gave it a try. It has the same problem I keep running into with a lot of the magical realism young adult novels I pick up- the story keeps me reading but I don’t care at all about the characters. Sunshine is very much a stock young adult heroine- frizzy haired, endearingly clumsy, and obsessed with wearing Goodwill clothing, yet somehow incredibly attractive. Nolan, the male love interest, is another stock photo whose only unique quality was that he wore his grandfather’s leather jacket. To be completely honest, I read this back to back with How to Hang a Witch (another book I initially spotted at Target) and I keep mixing up characters between the books. They’re way too boring and similar. But, also like How to Hang a Witch, I kept reading for the plot. Which, upon completion, wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’d hoped it would be. I didn’t find it very scary and I found myself predicting a lot of the plot elements. I still finished it and still enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the unique horror story that I was hoping for.

(And on a very pedantic level, it really annoyed me that the pronunciation of “luiseach” was spoken by a character specifically as “loo-seach.” It’s…it’s supposed to be from Gaelic, right? So shouldn’t it be “loo-shawk”? Right? Or was this simply a word made up by the author?)

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