TITLE: The Taming
AUTHOR: Eric Walkers & Teresa Toten
PUBLISHED: January 24th 2012
PUBLISHER: DoubleDay Canada
GENRE: Young Adult, and Contemporary.
Katie likes to believe she’s invisible. It seems much safer than being exposed as she is–shy, poor, awkward. So getting up on stage in the school production of The Taming of the Shrew should be complete torture. But as Katie tells it, something totally unexpected happened when she stepped on stage: “My head exploded. I loved it. Acting hit me like a sucker punch and I loved, loved, loved it! . . . Invisible Katie became visible Katharina.”
Evan Cooper is, as they say, another story. He knows just what it takes to get noticed, and he uses every one of the skills he’s honed after years of being the new kid. Like tossing the keys to his father’s high-end Audi to a kid he’s never met, first day of school. “I have insurance for car theft,” he explains to a shocked Danny. “And there’s a full tank.” An abuse of the power that comes with privilege and money? Sure.
But more dangerously, is his romance with Katie another version of the same thing? Or is it the real thing?
I did not like this book at all. When I was a few chapters in I thought it was going to be about a girl overcoming her shyness on stage and learning more about herself through this Evan character, who I did not realize was going to turn out to be so completely evil. Like really, are people that black and white? His character was not complex at all, the author barely skimmed the surface about why he acted the way he did, other than showing his dad acting similar. He was unlikable right from the get go. I mean this guy raped another girl. This is serious stuff and I felt like the author barely touched that and chalked it up to Evan being a jerk. He seemed almost bipolar but that wasn’t discussed either.
And Katie…hoo boy. Way to stand up for yourself girl. She was really pathetic and unfortunately the way she was written I couldn’t stand her or care for her which is really too bad because generally in novels that deal with abuse you want your readers to be on the side of the victim but Katie was just TOO clueless. It was painful to read. And her character kept flip-flopping all over the place! At first she was this completely shy girl with only 2 friends in the whole world and no experience with boys, to suddenly being madly in love with Evan and constantly praising him – “like, wow you know how to cook fajitas! That is so totally amazing, I think I love you! – please gag me. And then suddenly, within one day, she suddenly became this strong, take-no-shit girl and finally told Evan off. As I was reading I was happy she was finally standing up for herself but there was seemingly no cause for it. From what I understand it is really hard to leave an abusive relationship and it took her one night and then she was seemingly fine with everything and left him.
And I don’t even want to get into her mother and Lisa…that could have been developed SO much more! And Lisa was the only real interesting character in the whole novel, I wish they had talked more about her life.
I think this novel could have been a lot better but it just fell really flat, character and plot-wise.