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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: Kindred by Tammar Stein

Kindred
KINDRED BY TAMMAR STEIN 
Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 272 pages 
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 8, 2011) 
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound



The first time I meet an angel, it is Raphael and I am eighteen.

Miriam is an unassuming college freshman stuck on campus after her spring break plans fall through. She's not a religious girl--when pressed she admits reluctantly to believing in a higher power. Truth be told, she's about as comfortable speaking about her faith as she is about her love life, which is to say, not at all. And then the archangel Raphael pays Miriam a visit, and she finds herself on a desperate mission to save two of her contemporaries. To top it all off, her twin brother, Mo, has also had a visitation, but from the opposite end of the good-evil spectrum, which leaves Miriam to wonder--has she been blessed and her brother cursed or vice versa? And what is the real purpose behind her mission?



While I know there's a readership out there for people who are interested in religious fiction and angelic encounters, Kindred was not my cup of tea. But that's partly my fault.  I assumed the book was going to be the typical, romanticized YA angel-type story, which I always enjoy. But Kindred was not that book by any means. So if you are looking for a Hush-Hush, be aware of this prior to picking up a book like this. Kindred was not a paranormal romance but more of a celebration of religious rebirth with sub-plots within subplots. 

What I enjoyed: I loved the background story about Miriam with her family history. I would've actually liked to have learned even more about her parents.  I wanted to learn more about how her former Catholic nun mom and rabbi father shaped her life and her outlook on faith in general. 

I was interested in Raphael's presence in Miriam's life- what he wanted from her, why he chose her specifically and how she would handle the tasks given to her. I also was fascinated by her brother's conflicting situation with the evil presence guiding him down a very different path.

What I had a difficult time with: Stein has a very different writing style. I don't know the exact words to describe it, but it's something that you either love or hate. For me personally, I was a bit thrown by it and as such, I found it difficult to connect with Miriam's character.  While I admire her creativity, I found the writing to be very sparse. 

There is also a large portion of the book devoted to the degeneration of Miriam's health, which seems to have been brought upon by the angel Raphael's presence in her life. For me, this sub-plot spiraled out of control and took on much more prominence than was necessary—I didn't need to know the intricacies of Miriam's gastrointestinal problems at ALL.  Personally I think all of the medical drama didn't deserve as much "on screen" time as it did and it really took away from the book for me. 

Bottom Line:  While I'm confident that Kindred will find an audience with a specific type of reader and I admire Stein's originality with her unique, interesting premise, this wasn't a good fit for my reading style.

Tammar Stein is the award-winning author of the YA novel, Light Years, a Virginia Reader's Choice book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2006. Her second novel, High Dive, was nominated for an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2009.

She lives in Florida with her family and bilingual dog.
Official Website  & Blog





Be sure to check out The Teen Book Scene for more stops on the Kindred blog tour! Tammar will be featured tomorrow at Reading Teen.

6 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Bummer. Doesn't sound like it's for me either. Great review.

kate said...

Thank you! Thank you for reviewing this...oh boy So far all the reviews I've read are three star and 2 and one star and not very positive at all in the end I may skip over this one after all I have time to think about it

what do you say? I mean I know all reviews should be taken with a grain if salt but if its not gaining such great reviews is it worth it?

kate said...

Thank you! Thank you for reviewing this...oh boy So far all the reviews I've read are three star and 2 and one star and not very positive at all in the end I may skip over this one after all I have time to think about it

what do you say? I mean I know all reviews should be taken with a grain if salt but if its not gaining such great reviews is it worth it?

celi.a said...

Interesting... I assumed from the cover that this was a YA paranormal love story, just as you did. I did an Angels/Demons challenge last year, and this sounds like it would have been perfect for it. Thanks for posting an honest review!

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

Sounds intriguing, but I'm not sure if it's for me. Maybe I'll wait and see if the library has it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Lacuna, Libri quod Pie said...

I really appreciate this review because I found the story to be underwhelming and for the reasons you list. It's vexing because the reviews on Amazon were all enthusiastic and praising and I just did not get it.

Good to know I was not missing some secret element with this story!