Halo - Alexandra Adornetto EDIT: Okay, okay. The troll situation on this review is just starting to get out of hand, so I think I should clarify a few things. First of all, if you're too immature to tolerate other people's opinions, just don't read this review and write your own. Please. I respect your opinion, and if you like this book, that's totally fine with me. I just don't like it. I'm entitled to my opinion just as you're entitled to yours.Secondly ... if you create a second fake account so that you can agree with your own comments on your first account, I will know it's you. Trust me. I've been on this website for like five years, I've seen every troll trick in the world, and I'm not an idiot. Let's not stoop to that level, shall we?Thirdly. Yes, I do want to be an author someday. And yes, in this review I express some jealousy towards Alexandra Adornetto because she was able to get her book published so easily. What can I say? As a writer, it is difficult to see poorly-written books get published. But you trolls must understand a couple of things:A) So, I mention in this review that I have submitted to agents and that I have received more rejections than I can count. Whether or not I can get a book published has nothing to do with my reviews, and you shouldn't be making personal attacks against me in the first place––but anyway, just because none of my work is published doesn't mean that I'm a "bad writer." In fact, I have been told by many agents that I am a good writer. Publishing is a difficult and complicated process, and contrary to popular belief, it has very little to do with how "good" a book is. It has more to do with what's marketable at the moment. And apparently, teens still want to read Twilight rip-offs. So anyway ... unless you actually know what publishing is like at all, I don't want to see any more of these comments about me being a bad writer and so on.B) I didn't write this review purely out of spite or jealousy or anything like that. I genuinely did not like the book. Yes, I am envious that the publishing process was so easy for Adornetto. However, I am not envious of her actual book. This is not the type of story I want to write, nor the type of characters I want to create, etc. I'm not so immature that I would give a book a one-star rating just because I was somewhat jealous of the author. I mean hey, I'm jealous that S.E. Hinton got The Outsiders published when she was 16, but I love that book. Same goes for Mary Shelley, who wrote and published Frankenstein when she was 19. The difference is, I like their styles and I think their characters actually have depth. And in my opinion, their books are very good. So look, the fact that I can be jealous of other young writers has very little to do with whether or not I like their books. A good book is a good book. That's all there is to it.So, yeah. Enough with the trolls. If you are closed-minded or immature and/or you just plain don't know what the heck you're talking about, kindly keep your mouth shut. Because trust me, I do not tolerate trolls. If you are a troll ...Also, you will probably be attacked by an angry mob if you troll this review. If you don't believe me, just read through the comments and that should probably scare you off.Now, now. Back to the actual review: *Takes a deep breath* It's been a long time since a book pissed me off so much. To be perfectly honest, I am bitter. Very bitter. So if that makes me biased, so be it, but I can't help myself. I'm the same age as Alexandra Adornetto, and I've been trying to get published for about three years now. I've been working my butt off, writing and rewriting and editing and submitting to agents. And by now I've received more rejections than I can count, so ... that's rather discouraging. Then I read about this book, and how Adornetto first got published because she sent her manuscript off to HarperCollins one day, unagented, and they just decided to publish it. Wonderful. So I assume that means she's pretty awesome, right? … Unfortunately, not the case. Feel free to doubt me, but I think it's fair to say that I have written better than this, and I know I've read writing by authors her age or younger who are a lot more skilled than she is. So why is this book published? Why? It's really the kind of story I would tear to bits (figuratively) if I was asked to critique it on some sort of teen writing website.Okay, I'll give Adornetto props for a few things. First of all, I understand how much work it is to be a teen writer. It's very difficult to juggle writing with schoolwork and your social life, etc. The fact that she had the patience to write a 500-page novel at her age is admirable. And I know she's been writing books since she was 14, so that's pretty cool. Also, her writing style isn't the most terrible in the world. But pretty much every other aspect of the book is very flat and clichéd.My first impression of the book was not a good one. I open it up to see two quotes in the front page. One is a Shakespeare quote from Romeo and Juliet (Okay … a bit clichéd, but that's cool I guess). And sitting beneath it is … a Beyoncé quote. Beyoncé. You quoted Beyoncé at the beginning of your book. And it's not even a good quote, it's just "Baby I can see your halo / You know you're my saving grace." Oh, haha, that's funny because that song is called Halo and your book is called Halo … so you named your book after a Beyoncé song. How … creative. (Someone just shoot me now.) On to the actual book. Let's begin with the characters. First of all, Bethany is one of the most boring and least likable main characters I have ever encountered. There's just … not much to say about her. She's an angel, she's unnaturally beautiful (and insists on reminding the reader of this at every chance she gets), innocently ignorant, needy, pathetic, whiney … oh, the list goes on and on. I just wanted to slap her. Her tone is just so two-dimensional. She's either making her "Humans are so silly!" remarks or her "Xavier is the love of my life and I neeeed him every moment of my life ever!" Ugh. She is supposedly an angel with special powers, yet she never seems to put these powers to use. She might as well have not had such powers at all. Basically all she could do was fly and occasionally heal people and herself (BTW, for some reason––she was able to save a girl who was bleeding to death after a car accident, but she didn't heal Xavier's ankle when he fractured it? Uhh, WHAT?!). Other than that, she obsessed over Xavier and got herself into dangers in which other people had to come and save her butt.Her "siblings" were equally boring. The three of them together seemed rather pathetic to me. What I don't understand is, they were sent to earth in order to help this community become a better place, yet they hardly seem to accomplish this. All they do is sit around and learn to act human. So much for "battling the dark forces". I was expecting some epic fight scenes to come out of this book or something, but noooo.Xavier was the stereotypical, "protective hot guy" who had absolutely no flaws. Oh yeah I forgot, he DID have a flaw: He has … baggage. Yup, his girlfriend who he was very much in love with (supposedly) died in a tragic accident, so he will never love again! Oh, unless you're a sexy angel and for God knows what reason your hotness changes his mind (and it's nothing but your hotness, considering you have absolutely no personality). *eyeroll* Then there were Bethany's human "friends". Oh. Dear. God. Don't even get me started. It was like a freaking joke. Adornetto surrounds Bethany with the world's most shallow and boring characters, probably just to make Bethany look even more angelic. At the center of this crowd of cardboard characters is Molly, but other than that there's a handful of other random girls who show up here and there––and jeez, you'd think Adornetto wouldn't be sexist considering she's a girl and has probably been stereotyped before. *Long pause* But, no. All of these teen girl characters were portrayed as disgustingly shallow. I am not exaggerating when I say that they ONLY talked about boys, clothes, make-up, prom, etc. Molly spent the entirety of the book mooning over Bethany's brother Gabriel and changing herself in any way possible in order to get his attention. It was really just … offensive. How you could get away with such grotesquely boring side-characters, I don't even know. But it made me feel insulted––both as a woman and as a writer. Then there was the plot––or lack thereof, rather. 500 pages of … well … pretty much nothing. And what little plot was leftover was painfully predictable. I don't understand what kind of editor allowed this book to be so long, when about half (or more) of it could have (and should have) been cut out. The beginning was very slow, filled with pointless descriptions and info dumps. The (extremely boring and stereotypical) villain, Jake Thorn, didn't even appear until more than halfway through the book, at which point he just seemed like an afterthought. ("Oh yeah … I said something about 'dark forces', didn't I? Shoot, better add that in somewhere!") Before that, the reader must agonize through Bethany essentially obsessing over how hot and perfect and wonderful Xavier is for three hundred pages. Then there's the whole thing where Xavier can't go to prom (because he fractured his ankle and got a concussion, and for some odd reason Bethany conveniently forgets about her healing powers) so Bethany goes with Jake, because for some reason she's decided that they're friends, even though he has seemed like a creep the entire time. They become Prom King and Prom Queen (of course), he makes out with her and someone takes a picture (*gasp!*) and Xavier sees it on Facebook (Really? You seriously used Facebook to propel your plot forward? Oh please …). Then Xavier and Beth break up for a whole two days (or maybe it was just one, I don't remember) before they come rushing back to each other––because they are soulmaaaates and not being together for that short period of time just KILLS them! How beautiful! There are a few freak accidents, one of Bethany's "friends" "commits suicide", Jake attempts to sacrifice Molly and a bunch of other kids, Bethany stops him but gets kidnapped, he beats her up and fills her brain with all the horrors of the world, then does she finally do anything awesome and kickass to save herself? … hahahahaha. No. Of course, as she's writhing and dying on the floor, her angel-siblings and Xavier come crashing through the wall to save her. HOORAY, how convenient. Then guess how they get rid of Jake?! Go on! Guess, guess! They stab him? They make him go up in flames? Nooooo. See, angels each have a special skill, and Bethany has been struggling to find hers. And luckily at that very moment, she discovers that her power to kill demons is … WITH THE POWER OF LOVE. Bahahahaha. No, really. I wish I was kidding. Of course, I'm not surprised by the lame, cop-out ending. Judging by the quality of the book, I wouldn't have been surprised if Bethany's special ability had been to make magic sparkling bubbles come out her butt. … Actually, I would have been surprised, because it wouldn't have been so ridiculously predictable. But still … *GAG*So, some other things that bothered me:Supposedly the angels could conceal their wings under their clothes because they are "paper thin". Firstly … No, not even. Bethany has these, like, huge-ass wings on the cover. She wouldn't be able to hide those, even if they were really thin! If I stuffed paper up the back of my shirt, it would still look weird. And if their wings are so thin, then how the frick do they WORK? Because they're magic? And if so, why do they even need wings in the first place?! And every time the angels went flying, they would just let their wings tear through the back of their clothing. WHAT?! Are they razor-sharp too? And if you always just ruin your clothes every time you go flying, why don't you just cut slits in the back of your shirt, or even bother wearing clothes at all? Eesh.Another thing. The religious aspect. Okay, I know that it's a book about angels––and other angel books seem to avoid the topic. So I get it; if there are angels, there is a God. But there were times when the book verged on preachy. And it annoyed me. Then there was the way Bethany was so afraid of human pain and suffering. At one point she says that she can't bear watching the news and hearing about starving people and violence, blah blah. Hmm. Well maybe if you did your freaking job, Bethany, instead of mooning over your boring boyfriend, the world would be a better place!!!! *slap*All right, well I think that about sums it up. For the most part, this book is a boring waste of paper. To sum it up, it is sexist, predictable, and clichéd. Don't waste your time. I pray to God that I am not delusional and that I actually write better than this … *Edit* I bumped this down to one star. (It used to be two.) It's been about a year since I read this and I still feel like my brain cells are exploding every time I think about it. Even when I dislike a book, thinking about it doesn't usually make me so furious. Plus I've been reading a lot of others' reviews of it, and reading quotes from the book reminded me of how cringe-worthy this book was. Also, I was curious about the author so I was just looking up interviews with her. Ooh, here's a good one: http://naughtybookkitties.blogspot.com/2010/09/interview-with-australian-based-writing.htmlI look up to writers who’ve only written one book in their lifetime but it was an incredible success that captured that imagination of people across the globe. I would include people like J.D Salinger, Harper Lee and Margaret Mitchell.Uhhh J.D. Salinger wrote more than one book. And a lot of short stories.Oh, I wish there was a real life Xavier! I think I wrote him because I was so disappointed with the teenage boys in my life! I thought, if I can’t find the perfect guy then I’ll make him up!! I’ve taken the positive elements from the boys I know and put them together to create a super-boy. I’m still waiting on the real-life version. He’d better hurry the heck up! I haven’t given up hope that he exists yet.The best thing about writing HALO was creating Xavier and developing a tiny (massive) crush on him in the process.I––I don't even know where to start. I think I might actually cry. Or puke. Or both.This is the epitome of HOW TO NOT CREATE A CHARACTER. No. Just no. No no NO NO NO no no NOOoooo. I can't say NO enough times. You do not create a character to be your ideal "super-boy." Characters are supposed to be realistic. They're supposed to have flaws. They are supposed to act like real human beings. Also, if Xavier is your idea of a perfect boyfriend, I'm terrified for you, Ally dear––seeing as Xavier is an overprotective creep, not to mention boring as heck. Well anyway, I should be doing my homework right now. So. I'm going to get back to that.