Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kimberly Derting's THE PLEDGE

       I picked up Kimberly Derting’s The Pledge because I had fallen in love with her Body Finder series. Derting did not disappoint with her new line-up of characters. The story is told in a multi-narrative structure-most of the story follows the main protagonist Charlie-but the point of view switches to secondary characters in some instances, giving the novel a richly textured plot. 

Derting is brilliant in constructing believable and sympathetic characters-in both this novel and her Body Finder series. Charlie, a teenage girl living in a futuristic dystopian setting, is  compelling even without her supernatural gift of comprehending all forms of languages (something that is forbidden in the class-system setting of The Pledge) She has compassion, strength, and is even daring in a world where the normality is blending in. If for no other reason I fell in love with Charlie because she sneaks a piece of candy to her four-year old sister. In this one elegant paragraph we get to see Charlie has an endearing side that makes us route for her. 

I was thrilled that Derting didn’t make the love interest of Charlie-aka Max-a jerk. So many young adult novels are saturated with male leads being jerks and the female leads continue to fall in love with them. I understand that the trick is to convey the males as unsettled by being forced to feel something for a girl, but come on! Derting didn’t do it in the Body Finder series or this novel and I love her for it. It’s refreshing to see an instant connection between Charlie and Max, even if it is shrouded in mystery. They are obviously from different classes and this presents a forbidden nature to the feelings the characters are having and this in turn makes the reader route for them more. Max is a confident male lead who knows what he wants and goes after it, regardless of laws, social norms, or the class he was born into. And Charlie can’t help but be drawn to his effortless charm, quick-witted remarks, and his genuine interest in her life. 

To avoid major spoilers I’ll conclude by saying Derting has produced a romantic dystopian young adult novel filled with exciting tension, action scenes, and characters you love to be around. The only complaint I have is that there wasn’t near enough kissing scenes between Max and Charlie (of course that is just my opinion lol) 

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