Title: The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: The romance was a tiny bit frustrating, but the author’s skillful writing made it hard to put this book down.
Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. [...] But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.[...]For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more. (Source)
From the description, I felt I was taking a risk with this book because the plot has the potential for a terribly annoying romance. Fortunately, the romance wasn’t as bad as I expected. There were a few times I couldn’t believe the characters were thinking about romance. There was one forceful kissing scene I may rant about later. But overall, Riven was extremely sensible. It was hilarious and gratifying to see her recognize high school drama as completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Even when Riven was in high school, the dramatic analogies and dark descriptions helped me share Riven’s focus on her mission. In fact, the author did a great job setting the tone throughout, starting with the third-person prologue to add mystery. Than the transition to first-person for the rest helped draw me into the story.
The author’s writing impressed me a lot. The plot and the world building were fairly standard, but were also unique enough to be exciting. The constant action and slow reveal of information about Riven’s world kept me glued to the pages. In particular, I was impressed by that the slow information reveal didn’t get annoying or break up the story. Riven’s thoughts always felt natural. Flashbacks were short and triggered by related events. Her focus on particular facts always made sense. And even though I had questions, I never got that annoying feeling that the author was working too hard to keep me in the dark. Overall, this was one of the best written YA books I’ve read and also a ton of fun.