Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: The Secret of the Scarlet Stone (Gabby Girls Adventures #1) by T.L. Clarke

Title: The Secret of the Scarlet Stone (Gabby Girls Adventures #1)
Author: T.L. Clarke
Pages: 242
Publication: January 27, 2011
Publisher: One Wish Publishing
Summary taken from goodreads:
The Secret of the Scarlet Stone (Book #1, The Gabby Girls Adventure Novels) | Age Level: 10 and up 
The Adventure Begins...... 
My name is Gabrielle Martin. And before I discovered that the scarlet pendant I received on my thirteenth birthday was not just any ordinary pendant but a crazy weird talisman and lifeline to my supernatural powers; the only major thing that I cared about was starting my freshman year at Vineswell Academy. But that was way before finding out that everything that I had known about my life was a lie....essentially smoke-and-mirrors designed to hide the truth about my powerful supernatural legacy.


It was a little bit of everything combined together that made it so hard for me to finish reading this book. The small editing mistakes, the awkward dialogue, the clues, and--most irritatingly--the characters, were all small annoyances that I usually could stand to ignore in any other book. However, in THE SECRET OF THE SCARLET STONE, there was too much of each of them that I slogged through the book whenever I found the will power to pick it up again.

Honestly, I think that this book just reminded me of how much I dislike middle schoolers. They're so...obnoxious. Not to mention rude, and while they might be more frank and open about their feelings than high schoolers and adults, it doesn't really mean much since middle schoolers typically care for the most trivial things.

And in THE SECRET OF THE SCARLET STONE, middle school girls tend to scream. A lot. It gets quite irritating after a while. Instead of happily saying something, the girls feel the need to scream it out loud instead. Or, instead of just letting out a sigh of frustration, they scream everything they're thinking out loud. I forgot how noisy middle school girls are.

I don't even want to get into how annoying the girls are. Gabi is a diva, Jessica is constantly nervous and aprehensive, Zora is the stereotypical nerd with glasses, and Rosa is a stuck up brat without a spine. Yeah, throughout their adventure, they had some character growth and showed that they had the courage to suck up their fears and just continue on with their journey, but Rosa's constant I-give-up-there's-no-way-out attitude had me in such a rage that if I were her friends, I would have left her after the second time she wanted to stay put.

And the plot was pretty predictable. I knew straight away from the beginning that Gabi and the girls were going to figure out their legacy at the boarding school that her grandmother was shipping her off to. In addition, the clues were pretty easy to figure out. It might be because I'm older than a middle schooler, but I'm pretty sure that I could have figured out most of those clues when I was 13.

Also, I felt like the dialogue in the book was a bit anachronistic. I definitely don't know any middle schoolers who say that they don't "give a hoot" anymore. And there were many scenes where the girls talked they were older than their real age.

I hardly read middle grade books anymore, so I feel like I'm being a little harsher in my review than I normally am on books that I did not enjoy because I don't have anything to base my annoyances off of. Hopefully this book is be better recieved with its targeted age group than with an exasperated high school graduate.

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