My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Following LGBTQ YA month over on Once Upon A Bookcase, and the realisation that I too wanted to increase the amount of titles I read with LGBTQ protagonists, I found Over The Rainbow on Netgalley and became instantly intrigued. Any book that came across as a hybrid of The Wizard Of Oz, Jurassic Park and Lost was either going to be outstanding – or not.
Rowe is a solid enough writer, and his style is strongly approachable, but what I think fails Over The Rainbow is the haphazard nature of the story. Writing can be great, fine, but when the story itself is lacking both in structure and an underpinning truth, that’s when I start to disengage. Because it doesn’t matter how good your writing is when the protagonist (Zippy) zips (badumtish) herself up in a suitcase, survives being put through baggage handling on an airport, survives being thrown into an aircraft hold, survives the crash of the airplane when everyone else (except for a guy in the toilets) disappears because of The RAPTURE , survives a road trip involving encounters with dinosaurs, manages to convince her father of the wrongness of his ways (her devoutly Christian father who previously was going to send her to ‘straight-camp’), and ultimately lives happily ever after.
I can believe a lot in books; lord knows, one of my favourite books in the entire world involves a boy who chats to dead saints, but when a book is so devoutly lacking in believability as this, it undercuts any sort of tension in its world and therefore undercuts the experience for the reader. My fantasy needs a little bit of fact, other than that it’s just floating in the wind.
From the LGBTQ perspective, I commend Rowe for writing a strong and passionate relationship between the two heroines. I do acknowledge though that I had substantial issues with the semantics of this relationship, and in particular the relationship between Zippy and her father which was full of difficulties for me. I would not actively recommend this book due to these difficulties.
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