Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
“Sasha, a shy, 15-year-old girl who hides from the world, almost dies in a car crash and vows that if she survives, she will be bold and live life to the fullest. Her newfound courage is tested when she meets Will, who just moved to her Air Force desert town after his journalist father’s disappearance. Will is fascinated by Sasha’s brush with and secret knowledge of death.
Sasha and Will push each other to take chances and break out of their sheltered suburban world. But will they discover there is a difference between being bold and being stupid before they put themselves, or someone else, in danger?”
I received a personal request to review Bold from its authors, Andrew Landis and Julia Swift. After reading the synopsis, I was eager to get my hands on this young adult contemporary romance. It had If I Stay meets Fangirl written all over it. Unfortunately, Bold didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
Let me start off by assuring you the writing of Bold was solid, the message was awesome, and the general plot was interesting. There were times throughout the story I could totally relate to Sasha and feel her determination to stop being shy and start being bold. I also enjoyed the format of jumping back and forth between Will and Sasha’s POV (this particular format is always fun if done right). Really, if I’d seen this story play out on screen, it may have worked (and I’m sure it would have with Landis and Swift in charge, two writers who’ve proven themselves in the screenwriting world with gigs on shows like Smallville and The Book of Daniel).
However, as a book, Bold just didn’t get there. There were a few issues that held it back.
- Scene skipping. In almost every chapter, there’d be moments when we’d jump from A to Z without explanation. Conversations, actions, and thoughts were abruptly cut off or abbreviated. Ex: Sasha is being manhandled by a big bad criminal. His hands are gripping her arms. Then, suddenly, she’s running out the back door for freedom…How’d she get away from him? Knee him? Punch him? Scream bloody murder? I couldn’t help but wonder if this issue was due to the authors’ background in screenwriting, where things must be implied and heavily condensed.
- Love story. Was this a love story? Sasha and Will hardly spent any time together, and when they did, I didn’t feel anything between them. To be honest, I felt a lot more simmering between her and another boy, Ricky. When you put two people together and use words like “intense”, it automatically adds heat between them…and that word was used a few times between Sasha and Ricky (Ricky, not Will). The only connection Will and Sasha seemed to have was their thirst for self-discovery.
- Trying too hard. I love books with messages. And I loved the message in Bold. However, I didn’t love the way that message was delivered. I don’t want to use it, but “cliché” is the only word I can think of to describe most of the lines and scenes. (ex: “Then go now. Show me what you can do, what you can be. Or better yet, show yourself.”)
- The cover. Are these two individuals supposed to be 15-year old Will and Sasha (or Will and Sasha 15 years in the future)?
As I said before, I think Bold had some wonderful things about it. But, unfortunately, it had some problems too. And in a young adult market that’s raising the standard for excellence day-by-day, I’m not sure if it’ll be able to hold up.
To read more about Bold, click here.