Book Review: To Be Continued by Prex J.D. V. Ybasco

Book Title: To Be Continued

Author: Prex J.D. V. Ybasco

 

Book Blurb:

Not all stories end happily nor tragically. Most of them just need to be continued.

Azalea Anthony is a writer, or what she claims to be.Vim Harvey is her friend, or at least what she wants to believe.Jasmine Morrish is Azalea’s archenemy, or so what Jash believes Azalea makes people believe…er–There are other characters, too: like Warren, the basketball player, Beatrix, the model, Tom, the perfect excuse of a brother, Eclaire, the eccentric bff, etc.

They all hangout in one place where they can enjoy a steaming cup of debates, an aroma of gossips, a side dish of basketball, a topping of drama, and a menu of articles : The Big Coffee Shop.

 

What’s the book about?

 

When I was asked by J.D. to review her book, I said yes right away. Why? Well it is a free book and I’ve always loved to try out new work of new writers. And her tag line was intriguing, so I was set up to expect more.

 

Anyway, I promised her that I would do a review of her work, it took me a long time but here it is.

 

The book starts with Azalea and her friend — talking about haircuts and writing about it. We get to learn that Azalea’s passion is writing and she has been trying numerous times to get into the university paper. But she always gets rejected.

 

Then more events in her life is revealed…that she likes keeping a journal of her thoughts. She has a best friend named Beatrice and a boy best friend named Vim. The course of the action takes place around her male best friend and his girlfriend, Jasmine. Azalea doesn’t like the girlfriend but they are also sort of friends too.

 

What else? Yes, she has a brother. And a set of parents who both work to send them to school. Then it was revealed that her best friend’s brother is actually her ex-boyfriend. Some old issues resurface, they fight then resolve it. She gets into the paper eventually through her best friend. She will learn that her girl best friend and her other female friend, Eclaire, are an item.

 

And it ends with a basketball game and her reflection about the events in her life.

 

I think I have just about summed it up. That is the first part of the trilogy she said she’s planning on writing.

 

What do I think about it?

 

So, my thoughts…I promised her I will give an honest review so I will.

 

To be honest, the first time I read the opening sentence, I got a bit confused as to who was talking and what they were talking about. I don’t know why. Maybe I wasn’t paying more attention or maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but the series of words written on the book became a bit of a puzzle to figure out. The character always referred to the sun as Apollo. And I thought it was the sun when she first mentioned it. But then my opinion changed when she mentioned that the streets in their place also have weird names. So I read again, was it the sun she was referring to or was it something else?

 

Author’s wording of the sentences sometimes made a simple enough thought to be a bit confusing. At some point, her sentences were describing something beautifully but I felt that this use of imagery was somewhat misplaced. If she had kept it simple and just peppered the descriptions in appropriate places, it would have been more readable. As such, I must say that one of the reasons it took me a bit of time to finish the book is because of sentence construction.

 

Next are characters. For a YA novel, I found it a bit odd that Azalea and her friends are college students already. Is it me or am I just uninformed? Because when I hear YA, I expect the characters to be in their teens, late teens perhaps. Oh well, maybe it is just me.

 

Anyway, so the characters in the book are all studying in a university. When I knew this, I was presented with a dilemma. I couldn’t reconcile their age with how they behaved. For individuals nearing adulthood, they behaved, quite frankly, immature. Behavior like this, I would immediately associate with bitchy mean girls in high school. The book’s humor was dry and I don’t know if that was intentional or not. But I think more of the friendly dynamics could have been shown if they exhibited livelier humor in conversations and such.

 

The relationships. Midway to the book, I was expecting a love interest to appear. I assumed that it would be Azalea and her best friend. But then the brother appeared so my hopes were dashed. I detected an attraction between the two but maybe that was going to be in part two of the book. In the meantime, there wasn’t really anything going on in the romance department. I would just like to comment that Azalea’s and her ex’s reactions toward each other was painfully awkward. I mean, I felt awkward reading through it. It was obvious that Azalea still liked this guy but then guy didn’t feel the same way, and then when they seemed to have resolved the issue, one of them back tracked and hounded the other again. It was a bit illogical at some point. But in the end I think, they did resolve it because Azalea was starting to feel something for bestie.

 

Next would be her writing. For a girl who had always wanted to write, Azalea didn’t really show us a sample of her works, so to speak. It was just assumed that she wrote well because everyone around her said so. But I would have liked to have read her work. It might cement the fact that she was really as good as what others were saying. Oh, I think there was an excerpt of her work in it. I stand corrected.

 

Concrit

 

So overall, I could say that the book is still in the developing stage. More editor work could be done so the change of tone could pick up. Maybe a bit of a change in dialogues could be applied to help the characters shine more. Or their personalities to be shown more. Highlight on Azalea’s relationships with people around her to show her true strength. Because frankly, I didn’t connect that much with any of the characters in the book. If I found someone I would have rated this more but as such, no. Plot wise, there is nothing complicated about the plot. It was a typical slice of life from a girl. If her experiences were presented maybe in a different way, the book would definitely shine.

 

J.D. though showed potential as an author in terms of description. She knew what she was writing, and she made really well-thought of descriptions. She should just know where and when to use it more or less and it would be really effective. I guess she did use it in the end when the game happened. I think that was the part of the book that I liked. I envy her power of description, I couldn’t for the life of me accomplish this without much stress.

 

I’m still giving the work a positive vote. We all need improvement for us to grow. And as a budding writer, I think J.D. will still improve her craft and grow. This, I truly believe.

 

I hope we’re still friends though. Are we? LOL.

 

 

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