When (Review)

So I read When by Victoria Laurie last night (well this morning it was past midnight when I finished but that’s not the point). I’m reading it for my book club and finished it in a handful of hours. TBH I only stomached through the whole thing to prove I was right about the killer. It’s not suspenseful but you need to know the ending (like I knew I’d be bothered if I didn’t finish it).

As Madelyn already knows, I have so many fucking issues with this book. (Not meant to bash people who do like it fucking Christ I shouldn’t have to put this disclaimer is this what you mean by “choice words” Madelyn)

(Bad) Sarah Summary: Madelyn (no not our one I wish) has always been able to see death dates. Little numbers floating around people’s heads. In the years following her father’s death (which she predicted without knowing what the numbers meant) she has to deal with being an outcast, an alcoholic mother, and sometimes seeing clients to help pay bills. A young boy is murdered, and she and her best friend become suspects as the killer becomes more bold and the stakes become higher when no one believes her. 

Rating: 2.5/5 ⭐️⭐️

This is one of the most poorly written books I’ve ever read (exaggeration so let me explain myself before y’all come up the comments like calm y’all asses down). I wouldn’t say it was that bad, and I wanted to give it a chance. Obviously you can disregard my opinion since it’s published and people like it for their own reasons, but I could barely get through it. It’s not that long, but cringey to read. Idk some parts are really mediocre and just not good writing. 

Like telling instead of showing. The main character experiences a panic attack (and while I do appreciate the mental health representation, it wasn’t done to justice) and it just feels bland and more like a description of symptoms than anything else. 

The first paragraph of the last chapter was awful like no. It was a cheat. You’ll understand what I mean. 

The characters are absurdly and unrealistically ridiculous. Like what idiot is actually gonna believe a teenage girl and her dope of a best friend could torture and murder someone? Like they had such bad tunnel vision I almost blanched at it. Unless it was deliberate satire against governments and police, but I doubt it’s that deep. 

Madelyn seems like a Mary Sue to me (y’all know I hate them). If you don’t know what that is, it’s a character that is perfect. Pretty, smart, good, all that jazz. She always believed she was right and did the exact thing that she was told not to do with hardly any consequences in the end. I hated her she was such an idiot. 

Her best friend seems like less of a Marty Stu (male version of a Mary Sue) but he’s still smart, unrealistically good-natured, and yeah no. 

I loved Donny. Her uncle cared about her and he was smart as a whip. He got the best lines. He was my shining light in this abyss of a book. 

I was hoping for this book to shock me. It didn’t. The ending felt too much like they were trying to cover all loose ends, but IDK it didn’t feel like closure. 

It reads like a police procedural show. Like it wouldn’t be bad as maybe an episode of Law and Order or maybe it’s own mini-series. But as a piece of literature, it’s just bad writing.  

What did y’all think? (Sorry if I completely just bashed your favorite book I know that sounds insincere but I really am sorry)


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