Downcast – Cait Reynolds

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Blurb: “It’s the start of Stephanie Starr’s senior year of High School, but sadly, this is no life of the prom queen. Stuck at the bottom of the high school social totem pole, Stephanie is forced by her domineering mother to wear lumpy dresses and eat organic tofu for lunch in a world of mini-skirts and pizza. What Stephanie doesn’t anticipate is gorgeous and cocky Haley Smith who breaks social convention and pursues her with a determination that is both terrifying and flattering. Afraid that Haley is simply trying to set her up for humiliation, Stephanie does her best to push him away… But the more attention he pays to her, the more she runs, and the more everyone else begins to notice. Stephanie is forced to grow up, find herself, and learn the truth about her past in order to save her mother, her friends. and her town. When the truth is revealed, nothing can prepare her for the outrageous reality of her existence… and nothing can save her from her fate. Except Haley.”

This book was sent to me by Booktrope Publishing and I was also involved in the blog tour for Downcast prior to release. Cait’s post on my blog can be found here.
So let’s get into it!

Downcast is narrated from the perspective of Stephanie, a high school senior coming up to one of the most important crossroads in her life. What doesn’t help this is the fact that her mother is very controlling: dictating everything from what she eats, wears, what she does, who she sees and constantly informs her of health risks. She reminded me a lot of the mum in Stephen King’s Carrie in regards to obsessive control of her child. But not as creepy… Okay maybe a little bit creepy. The only chances Stephanie gets to breathe are at work and school. However, her social status doesn’t make school much of a walk in the park.

One day Stephanie goes to school and discovers that there are some new kids on the block: male twins Haley and Zack Smith. In typical YA fashion, Stephanie takes more of a shine to Haley – he’s mysterious, quiet and drop dead gorgeous. Why wouldn’t she? And of course, Haley seems to like her too. At several points in the book he reminded me of Edward Cullen from Twilight by how he shows up at random times and mumbles a few words.This oddly gave me a bit of  a giggle.  Zack Smith on the other hand is precious and needs to be protected at all costs (me? having a favourite brother? How out of character! *shifty eyes*), Zack does the stereotypical approaching Stephanie and warning her about Haley and that he is just a sexy ball of anger mad at the world.

The introduction of Haley to her life makes Stephanie begin to wonder why her mother is so protective of her. Not only that but why she has never seen or heard of any other family members. Does she have any? Who is her father? Where is her father? These are questions she finally plucks up the courage to ask her mother only to endure negative consequences.

This book is a retelling of Greek Mythology and there’s not a lot I can tell you without giving it away and I try to be spoiler free on this blog. My knowledge of Greek mythology goes as far as the Disney movie Hercules *intro of Zero to Hero begins to play in background* so I couldn’t appreciate those elements of the same level of someone who loves it. But I still enjoyed seeing how they were incorporated to the story.

The aspect of Downcast that stood out to me the most was Stephanie’s character development. She starts off the novel as this timid, inexperienced, isolated teen who gradually builds up her confidence and starts to stand up for herself when the popular girls try to get a few digs in.  She becomes self-assured and such a strong character that we need more of in YA.

I found the writing a bit awkward in places but that could be down to how picky I am when it comes to phrasing. But when I can’t put a book down, and when I can’t stop thinking about the characters and imagining various scenarios when I am forced to put the book down,  that when I know it’s a good book.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading this, whether you have a big interest in Greek mythology or not, it’s still a very fun read.
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