Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review + GIVEAWAY: Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Drain You 
by M. Beth Bloom
Harper Teen
July 24, 2012
400 pages
Source: Edelweiss and Epic Reads

Every night I'd lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there'd be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn't wash off.

Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy.(Taken from Goodreads.)

**An ARC was provided in exchange for a fair an honest review. 
Thank you Edelweiss and Epic Reads**

Opening Line

The canyons were hot at night, even with the desert winds whipping through the hills.

My Take On It

Okay, so you you may have heard all the comparisons Drain You has to Twilight,  and you may have heard that there is a ferocious case of insta-love at work in this book as well. I heard these things too, and I still decided to read Drain You. Why?  Both of those things would have normally made me run for the hills. I liked Twilight just fine when I read it , but I have moved on and don't particularly wish to read rehashed versions. And insta-love? Well, I made my thoughts on that subject clear here.  

 No, I read Drain You for one reason alone: The nostalgia factor.  The very talented Jen over at Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics wrote this awesome review of Drain You, which included a spot on Helpful 90s Glossary for the Tragically Young. I read that and I was hooked.  I went on to land two ARC's of Drain You, so I call that a sign, people. I was meant to read this book. And the verdict? Having read for the 90s nostalgia, I was not disappointed. I loved that part of the book. Is everything in this book perfect? No. But if you grew up during the 80s and 90s, I think you will find  Drain You to be an awesome walk down memory lane.

The Nostalgia Factor

Nostalgia- a sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Having spent the better part of my twenties during the 1990s, this book definitely brought back a lot of memories. There were a multitude of 80s and 90s movie references worked into the story: Heathers  and The Lost Boys immediately come to mind but there are snippets of Less Than Zero, Pretty in Pink, and Teen Wolf  as well. There's the music: we've got The Cure, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana as well as Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.  There's also the 90s fashion (flannel and Doc Marten's of course) and the language: I haven't heard anyone call somebody's look crucial  or use the term cool beans in years. I pretty much had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading the book. 

And there was just an overall slacker attitude prevalent among the characters, and throughout the book, that totally rings true of the entire decade. None more so then the main character of Quinlan. Now I know a lot of the people who have read Drain You haven't liked her character. And it's true, her redeeming qualities (and yes, she does have them) are kind of buried under her less than redeeming qualities. Quin is a slacker extraordinaire, she's got the whole goth/grunge/hip hop/Bohemian vibe going on. She's also a player, juggling not one, not two, but three potential love interests in the book. She is manipulative, and uses and abuses boy friends and girl friends to get what she wants. In some ways she's kind of like a guy.  She is immature and unrealistic, but she's not an adult, so I can't fault in her completely. In short she's not the most likable of characters. But you know what? Those are the kind of characters I actually like to read about.  And she does have some likable characteristics. She's fiercely loyal, snarky and funny, and she does exhibit remorse when she she treats someone badly. In the end I liked Quin, I liked her voice and I liked her attitude. It's definitely not the norm as far as YA protagonists go, and I liked that too.

There are a handful of other characters in Drain You,  including Quin's main love interest James, his brother Whit, and Quin's smitten co worker, Morgan. There's also Quin's best friend Libby, and James and Whit's sister Naomi. And there are some bad guys affectionately termed the Spaders (after all the bad boy roles actor James Spader played in various 80s and 90s movies.) Of all these my favorite was probably Whit, anyone who has a poster of Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Annie Hall and a beat up typewriter in his room scores automatic bonus points in my opinion.

The characters of Quin and James do seem to hit it off a little too quickly for my taste.  If I were being honest I would have to say that the romance between the two didn't exactly wow me but I did enjoy the interaction and banter between the two. 

True to most YA lit, there is minimal interaction with parental units. Which I think is unfortunate because I have read some really great YA lately that didn't brush off the parents and instead had them play active roles in the story. But here Quin's parents are reminiscent of the parents of Winona Ryder's character Veronica in Heathers, present but not really present.

I also enjoyed the L.A. setting in Drain You. It reminded me of equal parts Valley Girl, Clueless,  and the world of Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat series with mentions of hip landmarks interspersed throughout. 

There's a fair amount of action paced throughout the book but the thing that keeps me from rating Drain You higher is the conclusion. I recently read a book  that ended on a very open note. It turned out that the book is the first in a planned series, so the unresolved ending didn't bother me as much because I know there are future books in the works. In Drain You, the ending is not only unresolved, but very, very abrupt. There is a big dramatic final scene and then Bam! The book just stops. It was jarring and a bit weird.  I have no idea if  Bloom plans to continue on with this story and these characters, so I am kind of left scratching my head over the whole thing. Will I ever know what happens to Quin, James and the rest of the gang? It's still unclear at this point and that bothers me. 

So Drain You was both a hit and a miss for me. I absolutely adored the nostalgic take on the 1980s and 90s. I liked the unconventional character of Quin and the cool beans setting of L.A. circa 1990-something. But the lackluster romance and strangely abrupt ending of the book ruffled me a bit. I would definitely read a sequel should M. Beth Bloom choose to write one, I liked the characters and the story and would be interested to see what happens in the end. But like Jen, I think to fully enjoy this book you need to be a bit older than the average YA reader. 

3.5/ 5 Stars

You can check out more about author M. Beth Bloom on her Facebook page HERE

Check out some other reviews of Drain You:

Jen Ryland YA/ Romantics

Book Twirps
The Bookish Babes
Birth of A New Witch

Want to win my ARC of Drain You? Comment below and don't forget to leave me an email address so I can notify you if you win!

*This giveaway is for US residents only. Sorry, but I have to pay the shipping myself on this one!

I'll run this giveaway until August 17, good luck!


  1. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile. Great review!

  2. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book! It looks so awesome! Thanks for giving away a copy! *fingers crossed*

  3. I am over the whole "insta-love" too, but am intrigued enough by the 80s/90s references to try it. I liked that in The Future of Us too, but it became so forced, it was almost a distraction. Thanks for the great review!


    1. I didn't read The Future of Us, though I'd like to, again for the 90s nostalgia factor:) I hope you get a chance to read Drain You and see how it weighs up against The Future of Us:)

  4. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I can't wait to read this one!!!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  5. Cool beans, I would read this for the nostalgia factor too! But that abrupt ending... I don't know. I hats when there's not a really conclusion. I will have go think about this one but I'm thinking it might be worth a shot.

    1. Oh I suppose I'll enter... you know where to find me. :)

    2. Yeah, the ending was a definite downer, but if you grew up during the 90s than the nostalgia will make you smile for sure!

  6. Thank you for a great review and for the chance to win this book. Gale Nelson gfc

  7. I kind of laughed my way through this blog post, not because of your writing but because I am SMITTEN with the 90's. When you got the the Spaders, I nearly blew my coffee out of my mouth and despite the bad press this one has gotten, FOR THE SPADERS - I want to read it. Also, the other stuff, but I am a Spader fan. I mean, I could leave this long comment about my undying love, but I won't do that. Plus the Doc Martens and all the other stuff...I can't even.

    SOMETIMES the cheesy books are so good to me. I was talking to Mike last night about the cheesy tropes in YA with vampires and werewolves and the bad parenting and such, and I was laughing. He asked if there really was a market for stuff like that out there and I was telling him that yeah, I think there is. For the most part, some of the blogging world likes to complain about it (but still read it), but then there are those of us (ME) that genuinely like to grab one of those books every now and then and read the heck out of them - knowing it won't steal my heart and make me cry all the tears of awesomeness, but still that I'll have fun while reading it, for the most part. Does that make sense at all? I'm glad that even though it was a miss in some ways, it was a hit in some ways because despite all the negativity I still kind of want to read this one! Spaders! Ahhh!

    1. Sorry, I got off on a Spader rant.

    2. I loved James Spader too! The ultimate cocky, snarky 80s bad boy! Stef in Pretty in Pink is one of my all time favorite characters EVER:)

      I kind of enjoy a good cheesy book too! And I agree, I think there is a market for it. One of the reviews for Drain You that I linked up to (can't remember which one) mentions that this book could actually be a satirical look at the 90s and the Twilight saga/insta-love element as well. I'm not sure if that's the case, but I wouldn't be surprised because I know there is a market for THAT:)

      You should read this one Asheley, Jen and I both had so much fun picking out all the 90s movie references, you may find even more!

  8. Thanks so much for the mention and the link!! I just had so much fun reading this one. And I love your point about Quin being like a guy. So true!'

    1. Of course I'm going to link to your fab review, it's what got me so interested in this book in the first place!:)

      Quin does seem like the stereotypical bad boy, I think that's why I liked her so much!

  9. Great review. I really like the concept behind the book so I've been looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the giveaway, too. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  10. I am so excited to read this book! Thanks for the great review and giveaway : )

  11. This is the second review I've read that talked up the 90s nostalgia in this book, so I think I'm going to have to pick it up based on that alone.

    BTW, I work with someone who still says "cool beans" on a daily basis. I get my little daily dose of nostalgia.

  12. I've heard mixed things about Drain You, but I love 90s nostalgia so I'm fairly sure I'll enjoy it. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  13. omg COOL BEANS!! I'v not heard that in FOREVER. Pretty much sold at that point.

    But really, great review! The abrupt ending kind of scares me...I don't need happy bow ties and rainbow endings, but I do prefer one that makes sense. Still, I've heard a lot about the book and want to read!

    (Thanks for doing the giveaway! I'd leave my email, but I know you have it - especially since I'm about to email you right now! haha)

  14. I've been wanting to read this for a long time so thanks for the chance to win it :D

  15. Thanks for the great giveaway and review! Sounds like a good book (even though you didn't like some of it) but it really does sound awesome :D Thanks once again!!

    iliveforreading AT hotmail DOT com


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