Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Fake ID by Lamar Giles

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Fake ID by Lamar GilesFake ID by Lamar Giles
Published by HarperCollins on January 21st 2014
Genres: Mystery, YA
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…

My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.

I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.

I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.

And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.

But I’m going to.

The synopsis for this book is one that I actually took the time to read, I know, shocking right? The mysterious vibe it gave off immediately had me hooked and I had to get the book off Edelweiss to find out exactly what is going on in this boy who calls himself Nick Pearson’s life. After diving in I was sucked into and intrigued by the twisted web that is weaved involving the Witness Protection Program (WitSec) and the ties this family has to the mob.  While it didn’t fail to keep me entertained it did fail to provide much substance to any of the characters to lead me to actually care about their well being.

We meet Nick on his first day of high school in a new town called Stepton. Things get off to a rocky start when he bumps into a gorgeous girl and then proceeds to get roughed up by her ex boyfriend.  There to save the day is the boy who works on the school newspaper, Eli.  Once Nick and Eli strike up a friendship it becomes clear that Eli is doing some intense journalistic research not meant for the school paper.  There is no shortage of mystery and twists in Fake ID, from nearly the first chapter we find out that Stepton isn’t the happy, perfect town it seems to be.  I liked how there were layers to the mystery and I can honestly say that I didn’t peg the bad guy until he was revealed, which is always very exciting with these kinds of books.  There are little strings connecting people in the novel and each connection managed to take me by surprise.

The problem with the people in the novel is that there just isn’t enough character development to propel them to be people that I care about.  Even Nick was someone that I never truly gave a darn about.  He comes across as pretty selfish and I knew that he cared about his mom but that was only because I was told that.  He never actually did anything to enforce this love. He lied to her on multiple occasions and wasn’t really there for her even though he knew how unhappy she was in their new living situation.  Eli was the one character that I could have seen myself connecting to but he doesn’t last long in the novel (this is not a spoiler, Nick tells us he dies in the very first chapter.) Also making appearances in the novel is the high school badass, Zach.  He just so happens to be the ex boyfriend of the girl Nick falls for and he is so stereotypically bad that he felt very fake.  There was no lightness to this guy at all he was just bad, bad, bad leading me to not believe him at all.

As I’m sure you can guess from the previous points in this review there is a romance to be had here as well. Nick is smitten with Reya from very early on in the novel.  He ends up having an in with her because she also happens to be Eli’s sister.  Aside from a few make out sessions and some investigative work these two didn’t really have much going on.  Nick really shows his selfish side when he comes up to Reya who is hugging her injured mother on the road and he actually leaves.  Yeah that’s true love for you folks!

If you are looking for a book that is a quick, passive read that manages to keep you guessing than this could be one for you.  But if you are looking for a mystery with depth I’d say you are going to have to look elsewhere.


3 Hot Espressos

21 Responses to “Review: Fake ID by Lamar Giles”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m not sure if this is the book for me. In books like these, I need the characters to be well-developed so that I actually care for them, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with this book. And the romance sounds terrible.
    Lovely review, Jenni.

  2. Maya

    Mystery isn’t my favourite genre even when it is well done, and character development is a must for me so I don’t imagine I’d really like Fake ID. I also hate it when the author shoves a bit of romance into a book for no apparent reason – YA doesn’t NEED romance. A lot of the time, I actually prefer it without. Thanks for the review, Jenni!

  3. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    While three stars is hardly a ‘bad’ rating, I’m sorry to hear that this novel lacked the substance and depth to transform this story from a ‘good’ one to a ‘great’ one. I will say that the synopsis immediately captured my attention despite the fact that I don’t typically gravitate toward this sort of story. It sounds fast-paced and exciting, and I can certainly imagine reading this novel in a matter of hours. I’m really curious to know what Eli was investigating when he died! That said, I doubt I’ll be picking this book up any time soon. While it sounds exciting, characterization is extremely important to me and your inability to connect with the characters in any significant way is a big deterrent for me.

  4. Alexia @ Adventures in Reading

    I have this one on my review pile and I’ve picked it up and put it down so many times it’s embarrassing. I hate that the characterization was an issue so now I think I’ll simply drop a line to the pub about why I couldn’t finish this one.

  5. Roro

    Tnx for the review Jenni. It is sad to hear that it was just ok, I was never interested in reading and I’ll be skipping it. Tnx again for the review

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    It seems like a fun read from the premise, but I don’t think I could handle the lack of character development, especially with such a selfish MC. I really love the british books My Name Was Joe, etc. (it’s a trilogy) that deal with witness protection. I’d recommend those if you haven’t read them.

  7. Candace

    I’m curious about the mystery but it sounds like the characterization kind of ruins it. I hadn’t heard of this before but I’ll probably just skip it.

  8. Karen

    This sounds kind of bland. It’s ok if a character is unlikable at times but there doesn’t even seem to be a reason for his actions.

  9. Lauren

    Hmm.. I think I’ll skip this one, it sounds like it would end up disappointing me. I need more character development and depth. Thank you for your honest review!

  10. Nova Lee @ Out of Time

    I don’t think I’m going to read this one. That cover really turned me off and made me think it was a middle grade, lol. Glad that you like it, but mystery is usually a huge hit or miss for me.

    Great review <333

  11. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I did feel that the romance wasn’t too believable, but the idea and mystery was pretty good, kept me second guessing. It’s a shame you couldn’t connect to any of the characters, to think now, yeah, they had barely any development.

    Great review, Jenni! <33

  12. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    When I read your first paragraph I was excited because I usually do like mysteries that keep you on your ties. But character development is a major issue for me if it’s not done properly, which is what it sounds like in this case. Not having any reasoning behind why someone is doing something always is really annoying, especially with the fact that the love interest in this book is super stereotypical. I’ll probably be skipping for this one, but I’m glad that at least you found the romance aspect well done. Fantastic review, Jenni! <33

  13. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    Aw. Bad character development is also one of my pet peeves in reading a book. Most of the time, it ruins my reading experience and eventually, I would end up very harsh when I write my review. Bad characterization usually triggers my inner beast to surface. And if that happens, I have the tendency to nitpick about everything…even to to the most mundane of stuff.

    I am glad that this one still entertained you despite that glaring flaw.

    Great review, Jenni!

  14. Pili

    I wasn’t entirely sure about this one, and it seems that even if the mystery was very well weaved, the characters lacked substance. It doesn’t sound like it’d be my kind of book, so I’ll give this one a pass.

    Thanks for the review, Jenni!

  15. Sassy @ My Never Ending Pile

    Meh… though this sounds interesting at first.. after reading a few reviews I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up. I’m one who completely depends on well-developed, likable characters. Seeing as how these guys don’t have much depth to them, I think I’ll pass. Great review!

  16. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    The characters in this book did not really bother me, but I do see the inconsistency. The romance was pretty ‘meh’ for me too. What bothered me the most is that after reading the book, I was left confused. I still don’t kind of understand what happened. I like the mystery though. I love how it kept on building, but I’m still not clear on what the town’s secret is. My favorite character in this book is definitely not Nick. I really like Reya’s character because she’s smart and witty. I also like how it wasn’t predictable. Overall I thought it was a great book, but not the best.

  17. Preethi

    Huh. I remember seeing this book on Goodreads before but I guess I missed out on the fact that there was romance in it. I’ll have to add it to my TBR now; there’s nothing better than a great mystery combined with a good romance:)

  18. Wendy Darling

    Aw, it’s too bad this turned out to be a disappointment. I quite liked last year’s THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, and this one sounded like it had similar potential. Character development can sometimes take a bit of a back seat if there’s other stuff going on, but it doesn’t sound like the book wowed you on really any level.