Every night I'd lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there'd be consequences. Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn't wash off. Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever. But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it). There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy .~From GoodReads
Here is something you need to know about me before I really start my review: I am an unabashed, unapologetic lover of 90's pop culture. It's a hardcore love that I have. I worry that someday I'll end up sounding like a hippie who refuses to let the 70's go, but, whatever. So to be fair, there are many aspects to this book that I loved simply for that reason. Things that may drive other readers insane, but again, whatever.
DRAIN ME is about Quinlan (Quinn) Lacey; slacker, would-be rebel, if she weren't so apathetic. She's selfish (or self-absorbed) and lazy, but to me, a representative of a lot of real teens.
"It was the first week of summer vacation, and I felt compelled to be a cool slob. It was effortless, really."(eARC, 1%)
See?? She's a girl after my own heart.
I loved the dialogue in DRAIN ME. It's full of words that I still used (not ashamed) like "dude", "rad", and "whatever". Quinn wears flannel, when she even bothers to wear much clothes, and loves Nirvana. Prompting her friend to say:
"Kurt's dead, dude. Surrender the fantasy." (eARC, 2%)
And just as I hoped, the title is a nod to the song by Nirvana.
So besides my biased towards the story simply based on the pop culture references, I actually did like the story. I will go ahead and say this, the plot had some similarities to Twilight. I'm fine with this, because the stories are told in a completely different manner. And since DRAIN ME has so much ironic humor and a chilled out vibe, I'm not sure if it was a nod to Twilight, a slightly satiric take, or a complete coincidence. But in the end, a good story is a good story and I did enjoy this a lot.
As for the romance, Quinn has options. Three to be exact. There's Morgan, who is her friend, cute and sweet, and who she treats like crap. I mean, she's nice to him, but she does use him a lot, the poor guy. He would have been a great choice for her, but what's the fun in taking the easy road? And honestly, Morgan is too good for Quinn. Crushable guy number two is James. James...he has issues, isn't a safe choice for her, which obviously makes him the guy she wants. James is kinda grungy and totally hot.And despite one big drawback, he's a really cool guy. And rounding out the guys is Whit. I adored Whit. He's gorgeous, of course, but his personality is what I loved about him. He's a great balance for Quinn. He gets her, yet can rein her in a bit, keeping her out of trouble and giving her stability. I was rooting for Whit. Does he get the girl? I'm not telling. ;-)
While I did enjoy DRAIN YOU quite a lot, I did have a couple of issues with the story. For starters, the parents. There wasn't one responsible, clued-in parent in the entire book. Quinn's parents barely questioned her whereabouts, never acted concerned when she didn't show up for a few days, and she's still in high school, so this was a huge stretch for me. Quinn's best friend's parents were even worse. Libs was gone for weeks, and her parents never acted concerned. These weren't abusive alcoholic parents either. They were professional, together people. I know this is LA, and everyone is supposedly cooler-than-thou, but come on.
Another issue was Quinn's non-reaction to what James is/does. This girl just rolls with it. I know she's playing the apathetic angle, but dude, get a clue! Maybe I'm a spazz, but I would have freaked out at least a little bit, and I'm a fairly chilled-out person. Granted, she does begin to realize the ramifications of what James is later in the story, and she is young, but this takes rationalizing to a new level.
My last problem was the ending. DRAIN ME was so on it for the first three-fourths of the story. I was loving it, really into everything about it. I was dying to find out how it ends. I was prepared for epic. Towards the end, though, the plot began to feel rushed. I was still okay with it, but then I got to the last few pages, and it just ended. What. The. Heck? I hate to be left hanging. It felt incomplete. I hope there is another book planned because I want to know what happened next!
Overall, I really enjoyed DRAIN YOU. I know that I got a bit ranty in the last half of my review, but I think that's because I know it could have been awesome. What I loved about the story outweighs what bothered me by far. I honestly don't think everyone will love it. There will be readers who won't like Quinn, won't like the dialogue. I actually love flawed characters, especially when they gain self-awareness and experience growth, which I felt Quinn did. But for those who, like me, who enjoy a fun, quirky story told with an ironic tone and lots of laughs, DRAIN YOU will be a sure thing.
" 'It looks good. Your legs are...'
But then he stopped. And when I realized there was no adjective coming, I also realized I was holding my breath. It was like 'good' meant more than 'good', which it didn't. It was like 'good' meant 'beautiful' or 'stunning' and had a capital G and was spoken in a low, smoky voice." (eARC, 4%)
" 'You're like an ice cube,' he said. 'Is it because you're always half-naked?'
'You just caught me on a particularly half-naked week.'
'I'm into that.' " (eARC, 10%)
"Things were still far from okay, but maybe we were getting closer. I drank in Whit's face, dark and quiet in the nighttime, already so precious to me. Already transformed from the strange imitaion I used to see into an original." (eARC, 70%)
Expected publication: July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen
You can purchase DRAIN YOU at:
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Source: Received from publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.