Book Review: Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein

janine hanover block

Premeditated entices you with the suggestion of an amazing plot, but ultimately fails to do so. Dinah, our protagonist, believes that her cousin Claire’s coma wasn’t caused by a suicide attempt. She takes matters into her own hands to find out what really happened.  Upon finding Claire’s diary, Dinah starts to piece together Claire’s final days and decides to take down the boy who broke Claire’s heart.  Doesn’t this concept sound thrilling?  When I opened the book and realized I wasn’t getting everything I promised, I felt slightly let down.  The biggest issue with Premeditated is the pace of the story and how slowly the plot progresses.  For me, the book didn’t pick up until the halfway mark. However, when it picked up, believe me, it really picked up. The first half of the book consists of Dinah’s everyday activities and what happens when she is at school.  It isn’t exciting, but once I hit the halfway mark I couldn’t put the book down.  The only other complaint I have about Premeditated: I figured out the ending after only a few chapters.  Nothing is worse than a predictable ending so soon into a story.  It was a big let down.

Jack

Even with its flaws, Premeditated hit a few good marks.  The protagonist of the story, Dinah, is relatable and easy to like.  I find myself many times with young adult novels disliking the main character because their angst screams off the page.  This was not the case with Dinah. I feared her and wanted to be her best friend at the same time.  She created a plan and executed it perfectly.  The author created her as a chameleon; she twists herself into everything the boy desires without ever revealing her true intentions.  Her complexity is evident in the way that she interacts with her friends and family, then turns around and transforms into something unrecognizable to stalk the boy that hurt Claire.

zac g

The other good mark Premeditated hit is its portrayal of suicide, as well as victims of sexual assault.  Nothing the author wrote felt as if her intent was to shock the reader or portray an unrealistic view of sexual assault (I’m looking at you George R. R. Martin).  She dropped small hints throughout the book about what happened to Claire, mostly through Dinah’s eyes, and as the reader you’re able to connect the dots more clearly when Dinah recalls passages in Claire’s diary, from the first signs of abuse to the event that put Claire in a coma. The author also wrote about how sexual assault affects the victim’s families, and I have to applaud her for this.  You feel for Claire’s parents as they try to understand what happened to their daughter.

Premeditated had several flaws that brought the book down, but made up for it with a strong female lead.  Its greatest strength is the author’s ability to depict sexual assault for both the victims and the effect it has on the victim’s family in a way that is both honest and appropriate for the book’s demographic.  However, the only strengths from this novel is its ability to create an amazing female protagonist and its honest portrayal of sexual assault.  The rest of the book is incredibly boring, slow, and doesn’t live up to what I expected.  I would only pick up this book if you want a strong female lead, otherwise I’d skip this one.

JT

Overall: 2 / 5 stars


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