In a small college town in northern California, a lonely young man is working himself to the bone to solve a sixty-year-old problem … a stranger with a will of iron and eyes the color of ice is searching for someone he can’t identify … and a girl who loves plants is about to grow roots of her own.
When Cara Gallagher’s parents are transferred overseas again, she’s off to spend her senior year of high school living with her sister, a graduate student at the famed McNair University. Cara, a girl with a passion for science and an indifference to people, hopes this move will be her first step in claiming the independence she craves. Cara has her future planned down to the letter: her college, her major, her career.
Then she saves Will Mallory’s life, and both of their futures are completely rewritten.
The last years of Will’s life have been spent shifting from one identity to the next, dodging the FBI, and trying desperately to find a way home. But Will’s home is forty-four light years away, and to reach it he’ll have to outwit the man who’s hunting him–and leave behind the only love he’s ever known.
3 1/2 stars
Some people put down a book if, only a couple of chapters in, the book isn’t hooking them. I am not one of those people. I will stick with books until the absolute end, if only to be continuously horrified. Sometimes, I’m even excited I did.
This was one of those times.
The beginning of the book might put readers who are quick to judge off, because Cara does not begin the novel out as a likeable character at all. She sounds like one of those snotty, stuck up teens for whom everything is horrible.
Once Cara gets to hanging out with her sister, Liv, for a while–and, of course, meets Will–she starts to open up and becomes a heck of a lot more interesting AND likeable. Of course, that is replaced by the insta-love that, to be fair, I knew was coming, but ah well. It’s more often than not these days, so it shouldn’t shock anyone. At least there isn’t a love triangle.
I struggled with the beginning first with Cara, and then with the romance between Will and Cara. Well, besides the fact that they actually go on more than one date, which was absolutely fantastic. That’s right, you heard me, DATES. Like they were actually trying to have a real relationship or something. 😉
This novel can actually be separated into two halves: the first half, with ALL of the romance, and the second half with a great deal of action. The first 1/2, 2/3 of the book are actually pretty slow, focusing on Will and Cara falling in love and being in love and dealing with the fact that Will is an alien and needs to go home but they love each other and ohmygod. To be perfectly honest, these two eventually won me over and made me melt just a little bit. I’m a sucker for romance when it’s done at least halfway right, and this is one of those times.
The second half was actually a lot more exciting than I thought it was going to be. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this chain reaction gets set off with one little thing and then all of a sudden there is a car chase, bullets and explosions. I certainly wasn’t expecting THAT kind of action. Why?
The writing in this book.
This is both were I found love and issue. See, Oliver writes a lot “slower” than many other YA books. What that means is that her writing is more lyrical, more descriptive, and less BOOM-BANG-BAM. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I enjoyed the change. In places, her descriptions and musings were spectacularly gorgeous. My issue was the constant POV change. Cara is the lead, switching back and forth a few times with Will’s journal entries. Then there is the whole section were Cara is MIA and Will is pretending to be her. While it was awesomely epic to read about him being a girl, it completely threw me for a loop, especially because after that Cara came back for a long while, solo, and then it was Will again at the end. I’m tricky when it comes to POV switches. I like them, but there has to be a logical sequence to them. There wasn’t that in this book.
All and all, I found Caterpillar to be a wonderfully sweet book. It was the sweetest teen romance I’d read in ages, and one of the first this year that didn’t completely have me headdesking over insta-love, cliché stupidity. Though technically Will is an alien, the fantasy trappings are few and far between, with most of the focus being on the romance. I’d absolutely recommend this if you were looking for a cute teen romance with some fantasy trappings that let’s the romance really speak for itself. There is insta-love in the beginning, but they won me over and that is HARD to do.
Clearly, you guys need to enter the giveaway I’m holding for an e-copy so you can see for yourself, so click HERE. This is INTERNATIONAL. Oh, and did I mention there are a bunch of other blogs reviewing, interviewing and hosting giveaways as well? Because there are. Click HERE for that list!
This giveaway is over! The winner is Janita!