I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Anvil Publishing on July 30, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, Young Adult
Dear Future Reader,
If you’re reading this book, it’s either:
1. You’re my future partner
2. I’m famous and my writings have been immortalized
3. You’ve violated my privacy and these are not meant for you
Let’s hope it’s not the last one. Before this year, I had my life all planned out. This book contains the story of the year that changed my life (well, my life so far). It’s the year I learned how to be invincible. That wasn’t really specific, but I guess you have to read on to see what I’m talking about.
There are a lot of young adult novels in the market that are more misses than hits, even if they’ve been penned by authors who are bestsellers and award winners. While I think that writing involves the writer cultivating more life lessons to enrich their world view, there are times when I wonder how it would look like if someone from a particular age bracket wrote a book involving characters in their own age?
This is currently being done, especially with the advent of community writing websites. But there are times when I feel like the author writes too hard into the character, making it seem unauthentic. I remember reading a YA novel where the teenage characters spoke in superfluous metaphors that made me go, “Teens don’t talk like that!” So I was pleasantly surprised when author Mae Coyuito requested for a review of her novel that will soon grace Philippine book store shelves. Among the three book bloggers at Will Read for Feels, I read a lot local books, so I jumped on the chance to review this book.
The Year We Became Invincible is an epistolary novella where the main character, Camille Li, writes letters to her “future partner”, describing the highs and lows of her every day life. Camille has her life planned out—down to the last detail. But when she meets a group of adventure-seeking individuals, Camille goes on an adventure of self-discovery, learning a lot of things about herself, her family, and friends in the process.
The story was novella-length but it took me a while to really sink my teeth in the story. Camille’s character was easy to get into, although she could be too “ordinary” to the point of being boring. I knew had an inkling she’d experience something life-changing, but the road to that happening was at a snail’s pace. But once I got to the part where she met Ian and his friends, things started to pick up. Gabby, Felix, and Rica initially caught my attention because they were a stark contrast to the main character and were a lot more interesting. However I enjoyed reading about Camille’s metamorphosis from the rigid and calcualted lifestyle to the more spontaneous and vivacious person that she was.
Aside from the pacing, I wish the dialogues were tighter and more descriptive. For instance, Camille’s conversations with Ian felt like a marathon with no breaks. There were also some events that made me question its plausibility, although these are just personal preferences and observations.
What I liked about the story was the simple prose. Coyiuto’s writing was honest and reflects wisdom beyond her years. She didn’t have to be superfluous, or use highfaltutin words and figures of speeches to convey her message. The author’s voice is what made me love this book—it’s the proverbial fresh air that embodies the adage “less is more”. It is truly reflective of what teens go through in life and it cuts across generations, because hey, we were all teens once upon a time, right?
The Year We Became Invincible will have a book launch on August 8, 2015 at 3PM in National Book Store, Glorietta 1. Meet and greet the author and have your book signed as well!