Title: The Death of Lila Jane
Author: Teresa Mummert
Release date: December 1st 2015
Started: April 20th 2016
Finished: April 23th 2016
Lila Jane has been living in a protective bubble made of colored pills and books. She lives vicariously through the stories she reads and deals with life and moods by popping meds. She does as she is told in a family in which communication seems not to be a priority. The bubble and goody-two-shoes attitude go down the drain when her new neighbor Kaden comes around. What if he could be the one showing Lila Jane a little life? During her last summer before high school, Lila finally steps into the world, and into life.
Lila Jane is not the typical teenager. Her emotions are kept under control through medication, and the pressure of her parents’ expectations are weighing on her shoulders. She must be a good girl, there is no room for wandering off with strangers, staying out late, going to parties. I could relate to this kind of life. As an overprotected only child, it feels I began living when I enrolled at university. Her only escape is her books, where her imagination turns her into the heroines she reads about. Another point I could relate to.
One thing I don’t remember from my teenage years is being prone to such strong mood swings and changes of heart. Lila Jane wants to start living, but she is afraid of stepping out of her comfort zone. Every time she gets the chance to finally start living, she backs off and retreats into the good girl act. I understood it at first. I can be very hard to grow out of your shell. Still, I imagined she would be happier to see her dreams come true. For weeks, she spies her good-looking neighbor Kaden, hoping to get his attention but afraid and less than confident, she stays away and makes scenarios in her head. Kaden is the usual good guy hiding under the bad guy etiquette. A tragic love story and a heavy family background have led him to live with his uncle, in Lila Jane’s street. When they finally meet, her lack of experience shows quickly and it takes her some time to adapt. Of course, old reflexes are bound to show up, but I was puzzled at how different Lila Jane turned out to be from one minute to the other. She wants to go home. You take a breath. She wants the whole package: alcohol, a party, adventure. Something happens and scared Lila Jane reappears. Again. Maybe it is just me, but after a couple of rounds, I was beginning to get bored. I know the story is the journey of a 15 year-old girl who has no clue about the world, but I wished she’d stop whining and blaming Kaden for everything. I might have warmed up to her if the plot hadn’t been underdeveloped and Lila Jane had actually grown and learned. The characters’ stories felt too superficial for me to really understand them.
The writing did not help, as many mistakes kept distracting me from the story. I understand indie authors might not have an editor or a publisher to go over the manuscript but reading “your” instead of “you’re” in a book you pay for makes me very angry.
The title and the blurb were promising but the story did not leave up to my expectations. A piece of advice if you are planning on reading this; don’t be fooled by the title or the synopsis. Although it did not work for me, you might enjoy it if you are looking for a story about teenagers struggling to find a place in the world.