Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Review: Intertwined by Gena Showalter

Publication date: September 1, 2009 (Harper TEEN)

Tags: YA, paranormal, romance, evil

Rating: 2 out of 5


Aden Stone has four souls living within him. One time travels, one predicts the future, one raises the dead, and one can possess other bodies. These four voices clamor nonstop in Aden’s head, giving him no peace…until one day, when he stumbles across an unassuming girl, and the souls are suddenly, startlingly, and wonderfully silent.

Mary Ann Gray has no idea that she is about to become entangled in a world filled with mythical creatures. When Aden enrolls at her high school, she feels an insistent platonic attraction to him, despite his scary reputation and gorgeous looks. Meanwhile, Mary Ann befriends a werewolf with dark intentions, and Aden cannot resist the attraction of a vampire princess who comes into his life.

In this world of darkness, however, love and friendship comes at a price…


It’s unfortunate that the premise is so appealing, because, for me, INTERTWINED was an overwritten, confusing, and crowded paranormal mess. Too much was implied and told directly to readers, the characters were unappealing, and the whole thing was just way too long to hold my attention.

Showalter has the unfortunate penchant of telling, not showing, and making her characters take agonizingly slow paragraphs to undergo a simple thinking process. Any story that relies heavily on the main characters’ romantic appeal must work on showing us readers the attraction and potential, instead of telling us over and over again, “X couldn’t resist Y. Z was scared to show her feelings” etc.

As a staunch fan of Showalter’s adult Harlequin romances, I was disappointed that she seemed to feel the need to “dumb down” her writing for the young adult crowd. Please. It’s the R-rated sexual thoughts and scenes that need to go, not intelligent character development. Teenagers can tell the difference between an author who knows the teen voice and an author who typically writes for adults and is just trying to make his or her way into the YA genre.

It goes without saying, then, that I couldn’t make myself care for the characters. They were self-absorbed, overbearingly introverted when it came to pondering, and didn’t do anything really worth mentioning. So Aden attacks a werewolf, gets bullied, and wants to lavish the vampire princess. So Mary Ann has a few conversations with her friend and boyfriend, and continues to hang out with the werewolf even though his monstrous presence supposedly frightens her because she never knows what’s going on.

By this point, a discerning reader will simply ask the important question: so what? Where are all of these disconnected and emotionally distant events leading up to? In the end it didn’t matter, because I was already tired of being narrated to like I have an IQ of 50 by a bunch of unlikable characters. I put the book down.

I have to give Gena and Harlequin TEEN this, though: they certainly have the right idea of what story elements will appeal to today’s Twilight audience. Readers looking for equally emotionally tortured paranormal romances will no doubt find their way to this new line. I have not read Showalter’s other YA books, but unfortunately I just cannot tolerate stories that insult my intelligence—and nor should I have to. Next time, Gena. Next time, Harlequin TEEN.

Similar Authors
P. C. Cast
Cara Lockwood
Stephenie Meyer

Writing: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Plot: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5


  1. I've read good and less goods reviews of this one, so I'll guess I'll make my own opinion by reading it, but I must say I agree with you ; I hate when authors "dumb down" key elements of their books for a younger crowd! I hated that when I was a kid and I still do now.

  2. This is too bad, I was looking forward to this one, guess I will have to rethink purchasing this

  3. I'd been really curious about this book because I can barely wrap my mind around the synopsis. It sounds like it's just about what I was expecting. I've never read any of Gena's books, although I picked up one of her Teen Alien Huntress books for cheap a while back. I will probably still check it out, but I'm glad I didn't pre-order Intertwined.

  4. Interesting review. I read 'Oh My Goth' by Gena Showalter last year and basically, I thought the premise was really fun but it wasn't executed in the kind of way I like. It sounds like you've had a similar experience here.

  5. Thanks for the review. I was wondering what people would think of this one. I'd still pick it up to read the first few pages, but she'd definitely have to grab me in those.

  6. Sorry you didn't like it. I've read so many mixed reviews of it, I might just get it from the library.

  7. I'm on page 133 and I think "paranormal mess" sums it up best. I'm going to try to finish it, but not sure I'm going to make it.

  8. That's just sad especially the dumb down part. When I first read the synopsis I had really high hope for this one but now it just dies down.

  9. Shame! I was excited by the premise but that can never make up for messy/bad writing. I was just reading Steph at Hey Teenager of the Year's lukewarm-to-warm review and she mentions that just about every sort of paranormal beastie is thrust into the narrative. Sounds a bit overkill.

    I'm hanging out for my copy of My Soul to Take to arrive (any day now!) and I hope I fare better with it than you did with Intertwined!

  10. Wow.

    I LOVED this book!

    I found the characters very likable. And not at all "dumbed down".

    I haven't written my review. I'll have to do that because I really did enjoy it. A lot actually.

    I loved the interwoven plot between the characters and the ending was superb. Never read quite a cliffhanger as that one! :)

  11. That's a shame. I've read mixed reviews about this book- so I'm actually really curious to read it. I like neither P.C. Cast or Cara Lockwood though, and find Stephenie Meyer livable, so I don't know if I'll like Intertwined. Still, thanks for the review!

    - Alex

  12. Saw this book in the bookstore today. The premise sounds good and I will check it out. Hoping I will like it at least a little so I will not feel the need to highly suggest a customer try something else.

  13. I couldn't finish Intertwined exactly for the reasons you listed. Good to know I am not alone in my opinion.
    Great review.


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