Saturday, December 18, 2010



Author: Hilary Duff

Publisher: Simon And Shuster

Pages: 327

Read Time: Didn’t Finish (read to page 103)

Rating (1-5): 1

Tag Words: Paranormal, Soul Mate, Photography, Disappearance, Death, Incubus, Dreams, Reincarnation, travel

My Summary: Clea is a photographer, just like her missing father. He taught her to see the world through her camera lens, but what she didn’t expect was to see a man framed perfectly in every shot. A man who isn’t really there.

My Review:

First of all, this is my first Celebrity-written book. I know that Lauren Conrad wrote a well-received series, but I haven’t read it. I have no problem with celebrities writing books, as long as they are good. When they aren’t, I have the same problem as if the author weren’t a celebrity. A good book is a good book and one I will heartily recommend, but a bad book is one that I usually don’t finish.

I have loved Hilary Duff since she was hanging with a friendly ghost. I loved Lizzie McGuire, sang and danced to her music all through elementary school; I considered her a great role model and still do. I think she is fabulous, and I thought the premise of her debut novel sounded equally as fabulous. I won’t say that it’s a bad plot, horribly written, boring, slow, none of that, but it was so cliché, that I just couldn’t finish it.

I feel like I’ve read this book before, several times. In fact, Ann Brashares began her trilogy earlier this year with a book called, “My Name is Memory,” a book superior to Duff’s Elixir in writing, and more realistic. I recommend you try Memory if the soul-mate reincarnation vibe interests you.

Yes, the plot was horribly cliché, Clea is rich, a jet-setter, who feels uncomfortable with her circumstances. Her father has mysteriously vanished and is presumed dead. She loves photography (something I understand!) and Duff’s writing of Clea’s passion was the best part of the novel. Clea is prone to creating extreme situations in her head, a side-affect of her fathers disappearance, and Duff tries to use Clea’s annoyance with her new “condition” as justification for why Clea doesn’t flip out when there is a strange guy in everyone one of her shots. Including a picture she takes of her closet in the present tense. I mean, if I loaded a picture I took two minutes previous only to find a strange guy staring me down I would flip my friggen’ lid, wouldn’t you!? Nope, not Clea, cue eye-roll one.

Soon, Clea begins to have vivid fantasies about this guy where she has a myriad of fabulous names and she begins to fall for him, cue eye-roll two.

By the time Ben tells Clea her father believed she was being watched by an incubus my eyeballs were lodged so far into my skull I couldn’t physically read the book anymore, and I shut it on page 103.

I did like two unique elements of this book a lot- one being Clea’s love of photography, because hell-o, do you read my blog? And two, I loved the interesting choices for setting. We begin in Paris, come back to Connecticut, then, I believe Ben and Clea were planning a trip to Carnival in Rio. Very cool. The pacing is also great, I read 100 pages in a little over an hour before I said, “forget it.”

This book was really, really not for me, but if all of the above sounds heavenly to you, I say go for it! I do want to mention on a more editorial note that you can tell this is Duff’s first novel and that she was possibly not previously disposed to writing. It’s not bad, but it’s not a stunning work of literature either. I caught Clea flipping back and forth between the past and present tense narration, something that really drives me crazy.

Notes on the Names: I can’t wait to see what Hilary and Mike name their future babies! The names in Elixir are so grand! Clea, Delia, Olivia, Katherine, Rayna, Benjamin and Sage. Heavenly!

Thoughts on the Cover: Non-model cover, it’s a very obvious sort of picture. It reminds me of when there is a model, how she (sometimes he) just stands there and looks pretty, without a lot of creativity being thrown into the mix. I think something alluding to the traveling, the photography, or even one of the mysterious photographs would have made a more intriguing cover. Because the main protagonist is a photographer I am allowed to be nit-picky.

1 comment:

KM said...

I love Hilary Duff, as well. I was looking forward to her book until I flipped through it at the bookstore and saw how big the words are. There are a fair amount of pages, but there's like 10 words per page. I'm not paying for a hardback when the wordcount is so low.

She also had a ghost writer help her. I wonder how much the other person helped??