Saturday, July 7, 2012

Review of Preloved by Shirley Marr

Review by: Sarah
Publisher: Black Dog Books/Walker Books
Pages: 272
Rating / Definitely worth checking out and putting on your shelf. If you're into that sort of thing.

If you had a second chance at love, would you do it all over again?
Amy has enough to deal with for one lifetime. A superstitious Chinese mother. A best friend whose mood changes as dramatically as her hair colour. A reputation for being strange. The last thing she needs is to be haunted by someone only she can see.
Logan is a ghost from the Eighties. He could be dangerous. He's certainly annoying.
He might also be Amy's dream boy.

Alright, so. Preloved is just one of those books that is utterly relaxing to read. If I had to compare it to a food, it would be like those cheap boxes of gummies you can get at the store. You break open a tiny bag and stuff all the mildly flavored fruit snacks into your mouth and think hmm, these are kind of good. And then 10 minutes later you've eaten the entire box.
What? That only happens to me? Okay, nevermind then.

What I'm trying to say is: though this does involve a ghost and could maybe, in some circles, be labeled as a "paranormal romance"... if you're wanting a gripping, edge of your seat, passionate romantic thriller, this book is not that. This book is more lounging, feet propped up on the table, read casually as you're listening Come On Eileen. And honestly I find that very refreshing! I find Shirley Marr has certain knack for capturing the teen voice very well. You think that would be a given, seeing as she's a YA author, but in all the YA I've devoured in my short life it's more of a rarity than you'd think. The writing, overall, has a very current and relevant feel to it. (I especially like the joked Amy's mother had about slapping a lace bow on a cheap locket and selling it on Etsy for a billion dollars. Ha! I laughed at that one.) It was light and bubbly with just enough darkness thrown in to give it a bit of an edge. That being said, I personally like my books with a lot more of an edge, but that doesn't mean I didn't still find this book enjoyable. It left me with such a hopeful, lighthearted feeling, like an 80s movie played out in book form. It had all the proper 80s-esque formula for storytelling going on (the awkward main character, the unattainable boy, the gossipy girls, the pretentious geek boy who is actually a sweet prince, the totally trippendicular tunes), I'm guessing Marr did that purposefully, in any case I thought it was quite clever.

If I had to pinpoint one major thing I didn't like about this book it would probably be Logan. For most of the book, I pretty much didn't get his appeal at all. He was just there, for me. It didn't make any sense to me why Amy was so infatuated with him. Well, I mean, besides the fact that he was a cute ghost that only she could see and hear. I thought he was mostly annoying up until the last 1/4 of the book, in which he started preaching all swoonily about mixtapes and finding yourself and it was very Casper and sickeningly sweet. I loved it!

The main thing I really loved about this book was the relationship between Amy and her mother. It was so funny, and sad, and awful, and sweet, and heartbreaking all at once. Like most mother-daughter relationships tend to be.  I loved the way Marr was able to portray that, even though it was told through a very specific point of view, I think any young girl would be able to relate. She's got the magic touch, I swear! Like, if this book had been written by anyone else, I don't really think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. You can tell Marr doesn't just write for something to do, or thrown in cheesy metaphors because they sound good, she's got a real talent in my humble opinion and I can't wait to read many more books from her!

All in all, I think this book will resonate more with the younger side of YA readers (13-16) but if you're like me and just an old creeper who can't get enough of good old fashioned well written contemporary YA fiction, give Preloved a try! If you're wanting something a little darker and more dramatic, you might want to try Shirley Marr's other novel, Fury, which is one of my favorite books! I want to end this with a fun little catch-phrase, like on Reading Rainbow when they'd enthusiastically shout "But you don't have to take my word for it!" except that doesn't even make sense because you are sort of having to take my word for it, so instead here's a picture of Geordi from Star Trek.


  1. I've never heard of this one, but it looks pretty good. And I love when books are just relaxing to read. Oooh, Casper! Awesome image by the way, big Devon Sawa fan :) This sounds like a really cute book. I'll have to check it out. Great review!

    1. Thank you! If you're in the states this book is a little harder to get your hands on, but it was a joy to read. put me in such a good mood!

  2. Even though we hosted a tour stop when Preloved was released, it was my co-blogger Lisa that handled it and got a copy for review. I finally have a copy on the way now and I can't wait to read it.
    Great review!

    1. Thank you very much! Can't wait to see what you think of it!