Monday, March 5, 2012


Devilish, by Maureen Johnson
(audiobook version)

Publisher's blurb:
The only thing that makes St Teresa's Preparatory School for Girls bearable for Jane is her best friend Ally. But when Ally changes into a whole different person literally overnight the fall of their senior year, Jane's suddenly alone - and very confused. Turns out, Ally has sold her soul in exchange for popularity - to a devil masquerading as a sophomore at St Teresa's! Now it's up to Jane to put it all on the line to save her friend from this ponytail-wearing, cupcake-nibbling demon...without losing her own soul in the process.

I wanted to try something else by this author, since the sequel to The Name of the Star won't be out for months.  Unfortunately, I didn't like this book nearly as much.  It wasn't a bad book for its intended audience (YA), but it just wasn't that engaging, in my opinion.  The plot was only so-so, and I didn't feel particularly invested in any of the characters.  It almost feels like we've been thrown into the middle of a book, at the beginning-- or the second book of a series.  It's hard to care about Jane and Ally's friendship (not to mention their relationships with Elton) when we hardly get to see them interacting as friends. 

It didn't help that, almost immediately, I decided that this audiobook reader is not a favorite of mine.  Admittedly, I'm picky about readers.  This one hit two of my pet peeves:

First, there are several Irish-accented characters (because apparently it's a requirement of Catholic schools that most of the staff be Irish), and this reader's fake Irish accent... was kind of embarrassing, honestly.  Nerve-grating.

Second, it bothers me when a reader's intonation is off, and this one was off practically all the time, in my estimation.  I guess that sort of thing can be subjective, but there were times when her emphasis was unquestionably wrong.  Apart from the times that the emphasis was just plain wrong, it often felt like she was trying to make every sentence-- every phrase-- stand out, not realizing that when they all stand out, none of them do.  No-one wants to listen to hours of monotone, but this woman took it to the other extreme.  She italicized every other word, which is too much even for a teenage character.

So.  Like most things I read these days, it wasn't without any redeeming qualities, but neither was it an instant favorite.  I suspect a YA reader would be more impressed than I was, though.  I'm not sure The Name of the Star was really any better than Devilish, but for whatever reason, I enjoyed it more.