Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Turn It Off | S. Elle Cameron


“Life is funny. One minute you’re trying to find something to live for, and the next, it comes walking through your door in the middle of the night.”

Turn It Off follows the life of Peyton Giordano (from A Tragic Heart) as he struggles to find strength to live following the tragic loss of his mother all while falling victim to the lures of drug addiction, mental illness, reckless romances, and countless other internal and external demons. Tormented by his mother’s death, and both the absence of his father and the physical abuse he experienced by his step-father, Peyton embarks on a journey to find balance in his life.

After starting a new life under his aunt and uncle’s care, Peyton finds himself yielding to the evils inside of him more than ever before. Terrified of exposing his true feelings, he learns new ways to turn off his pain. Peyton quickly comes to realize that just because it doesn’t hurt for a moment, doesn’t mean the pain is really gone.

The more he tries to shut everything out, the more he indulges in his dirty habits thrusting his life into a vicious cycle of chaos. As life always has a way of revealing, however, there are but so many times we can go around before we decide to jump off the ride.

Turn It Off acts as a prequel to A Tragic Heart and is the third installment to the RED Tragedies series.

Since it is the third book in the series, there may be minor spoilers ahead (though I did try to keep the contents of the book pretty vague). If you want to find my reviews to the other two books, you can find them below. 

+5 Cover Design

Out of all the covers this is by far my favorite. It's the one that looks the most cohesive in terms of the actual image and in terms of the story. If I saw this sitting on the shelves of a bookstore, I would definitely pick it up. 

+5 Writing Style

Cameron's writing style has remained consistent throughout all of the books and I really love it. There's a certain talent she has in being able to express emotion in a way that's relatable even though the reader may not be able to completely empathize with the circumstances.

I found it really interesting how it was written from a first person, past tense perspective constantly foreshadowing the ending. And overall it gave a bigger insight to Peyton as a character, which I loved. The only way to follow this up would be to write from Mason's perspective, specifically his thoughts during the latter half of his marriage with Taylor. I would love to know what he was thinking during that rough patch.

+4 Plot Development

Unlike a thriller or a mystery where the trajectory of the plot is generally set out, we didn't really know what would happen. It was more learning more backstory and background of a character we already know and love and in that respect I think the book did a fantastic job.

+4 Character Relations

I thought the character relations were pretty interesting. While I couldn't understand many of the romantic aspects of it, such as the problems between Adalyn and Peyton that seemed to randomly come up, I especially liked the brotherly relationship between Mason and Peyton. I think the most relatable moment was when Mason, after bailing Peyton out time after time, finally put his foot down and let Peyton fail, which led to him finally getting better. I think that moment was a crucial turning point and strengthened their relationship, I just wish we got to see more interaction between them after Taylor came into the picture.

+3 Character Development

Peyton definitely developed throughout the book, but it just took him a while to get himself of his own grave. As a reader it was definitely frustrating seeing him slide back into his dangerous habits, especially when he's had so many close calls with overdosing. It was especially frustrating when his close friends, even Mason would invite him out to parties with the disclaimer "I'll make sure you don't drink", because even the environment is tempting enough. I just think that Peyton would have recovered faster had he been in different environment completely cut off from the party scene, which is why I think rehab helped him so much. Though the character development was fairly well done, as a reader it was frustrating watching him fall into the same habits repeatedly.

+3 Likability of Protagonist

On the same note, because Peyton kept throwing himself back into this dangerous and self-destructive behavior, it was hard to like him as a character. All I wanted to do was shake some sense into him, but alas I couldn't and had to watch as he became more and more of an addict. His lack of independence made me like him less.

+5 Necessity of Minor Characters

The minor characters had a huge influence on Peyton's actions, both positive and negative. Adalyn, Mason and Taylor ad a large role in his recovery but, like I mentioned early, everyone else (even including them sometimes) had a large role in his addiction. Their influence majorly shaped the story and they were crucial to the plot.

+5 Setting Description 

The setting was well set, I didn't have any trouble visualizing the characters or the scene.

+5 Interesting Storyline

Because I had read and loved all the other books, I was already invested in the characters and as a result, the plot of this story and the background we get on Peyton was something I really loved.

+4  Predictability

Because this was a retelling of parts of A Tragic Heart, we knew how the story would end. What we didn't know was how we would get from the initial point to the final point. While there's definitely a pattern throughout the characters, each one responds differently to the obstacles thrown in their way and I love how we get a slightly different reaction each time.

+50 Finished

Final Total: 93/100 ; A

Throughout the book we focused more on the time period after Karson and before Taylor and I wish we had gotten more of the two endpoints as well. While Peyton patched things up with his real father, I wish we had gotten some amount of closure with Karson, maybe a final confrontation. Other than that I thought this book, like the rest, was fantastic. If you haven't picked up this series I highly recommend them, and if you have let me know what you thought in the comments below!

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