I received A Sense of the Infinite from my Book Riot YA box. It sat in a pile of yet-to-be-read books for quite awhile, only slightly ignored by me because I was busy reading other material, but while I had time off between classes I picked it up and decided to give it a go. I read it quickly, over two days, and easily could've read the book entirely in a day if I hadn't other things to do. It's a quick, easy read and certainly makes you feel rewarded by each finished chapter because all the chapters are super, super short. Like, a page short. I think the longest one may have been five pages long.
The book is simplistic in so many ways. The writing is simple, the dialogue is simple, it reads like a journal entry and I wish the book was presented in that way--considering how short the chapters were and the simple "I did this, now I did that" dialogue it could easily have been promoted as a journal of a girl's senior year in high school.
Annabeth is a pretty plain girl. She's just not very interesting. She's nearly obsessed with her best friend, doing anything her best friend deems worthy of doing, and I was so extremely bored by her. She is presented with a lot of huge life-changing events and yet handles them in the most uncaring way. We hit on topics of eating disorders, rape and abortion and yet Annabeth has the most chilled out, unemotional responses. I mean, there's reaction to these topics, but they are given to you in bland writing. Annabeth has a stronger reaction to the falling out with her best friend than anything.
Maybe... maybe I'm just old. Maybe I'm an old crone that doesn't understand how painful high school can be and I, therefore, find it all to be really dramatic and kind of stupid. The stuff I feel Annabeth has a right to be really upset over, she isn't. The things I find to be a waste of her time she's overwhelmed by emotions. I get it, losing your best friend due to stupid, petty shit is awful and every teenager seems to go through it. I read the book with the full knowledge that I dealt with the same events when I was in high school--somewhat meaningless fights with friends and then, suddenly, you're enemies and avoiding eye contact in the halls.
This book is great in terms of handling big life issues and showing that it doesn't equate a full out war with your loved ones. That's one part I really want to point out. Here we are dealing with rape, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion and yet family members aren't turning on their own. They're accepting and while upset, it doesn't mean the end of the world. I think this is something many teens who could be caught in similar situations are worried about--that their family may turn on them or blame them. Unfortunately, at times there are people in the world who do not handle these problems in the best of ways, but that's not always the case. I think teens (even adults) will assume the worst of their family when they're scared to admit to a "wrong" (a wrong brought upon you, in this instance).
By the midway-point of the book, we were given underage drinking, mental illness, and suicide. This book was practically a cry for censorship, it hits on every point that usually causes people to get up in arms over it. But really, that's not my issue with it. I am all for these subjects being in books and I feel I'll not have any issue sharing such books with my children (whenever I have kids). It's just the poor writing that makes it bad. There's also a lot of really obvious editorial mistakes that you don't have to be a copy editor to pinpoint.
But beside the long list of challenge-worthy topics that made it into the book by the halfway point, it actually made Annabeth much more interesting and the story more entertaining. I was even wondering, by the end of the book, how Annabeth was doing and what occurred once she entered college. Maybe we'll find out later--if so, I suppose I'd read the book knowing it would be such a quick read.