Tainted is the second book in the “Broken” series. I did not read the first book prior to reading this. I suspect that I might have had a better handle on the back story of the characters and their ‘situation’ had I read the first book, but author A.E. Rought does a fine job of providing the necessary back story information as this moves along. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter.
Alex Franks and Emma Gentry are in love. They’ve recently been through a tough situation, but the outcome is that they have grown even closer to one another and are now looking forward to being together. But a girl from Alex’s past, Hailey Westmore, is on the scene now, and she wants Alex back. Because Hailey knows something secret about Alex, she’ll stop at nothing, including using the information as blackmail, to get Alex to come back to her.
If you have followed any of my reviews at all, you should already know that I have some strong opinions about what I consider to be typical YA work. The drama is high, the characters over-react to everything, and the littlest things seem to mean the difference between life and death. This is the formula, and I’m okay with it. There’s a reason it’s a formula … there is a certain reading audience that looks for this. The difference, then, is in how the different authors work with this formula. I believe that it is possible to deliver a story that incorporates the formula, but Rought instead chooses to play up the already heightened emotions simply for the sake of playing with the emotions, but forgets that the story needs to be interesting.
Instead of story, we get lots of “you’re my everything” dialog (from everyone).
This may sound a bit sexist, but I do find that these sorts of books (heightened emotional YA) have a predominantly female readership (this comes from personal observation from years as a bookseller for different companies and different stores) and because of that, I find it really interesting (in a negative way) that the women in this book are either weak and constantly need rescuing, or overtly evil and mean-tempered. Though I would note that the ‘heroic’ male is generally pretty stupid and doesn’t come off as much better than the women.
YA that follows the heightened drama and pathos formula doesn’t have to be tripe, but this one seems to be.
Looking for a good book? Even if you enjoy YA that simply plays with strong emotions, I’d avoid Tainted by A.E. Rought.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: A. E. Rought
series: Broken #2
publisher: Strange Chemistry
paperback, 352 pages