Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the Volcano by James Nelson

genre: young adult

For her entire life, Katie has lived on the mountain with her father.  It's not just any mountain - it's a dormant volcano, surrounded by a giant crater - and Katie and her father are the only people that live there.  This secluded life has led to not only Katie's inseparable relationship with her dad, but also to Katie's complete lack of social interaction with people her age.  When, at age 16, she finally makes her first (yes, first) trip off the mountain into town, a chain of events begins that will end their blissful isolation on the mountain and bring both happiness and sorrow to this little family.

Oh dear.  How to describe it.  I'd say maybe my best comparison would be to one of those Hallmark or Lifetime movies.  They're fine if you're up late and there is nothing else to watch, you don't expect great acting, you don't find yourself particularly moved by either the good or the bad but you just keep watching.  Maybe some things annoy you because they feel out of place (really? NO ONE ever found their cabin?), but soon you care enough to know how it ends even though you don't really believe it.

Like that.

There were too many plot holes for me,  too many ways I had to really stretch to believe - and honestly, I couldn't really tell if it was historical fiction or some blend of recreated history, there were so few historical details.  Clearly, this one wasn't for me.  I couldn't believe the love story (really, falling in love with the FIRST YOUNG ADULT MALE you ever see in your life?) and there were just too many random horrible things for me to suspend my disbelief.

And yet, I did appreciate it enough to read it in one night.  Go figure.  Maybe I was just in a Lifetime-movie sort of mood.

note: if you're interested in the content of the books I read, please go to

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