A Wounded Name - Dot Hutchison You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews.Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!To love is to hurt, either in giving pain or in suffering it. Which helps more with grief: feeling the pain or sharing it?Summary:Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan can see ghosts. Even when she takes her medication, she can still hear their voices singing and calling out to her. When the headmaster of her school suddenly dies, Ophelia can no longer avoid the phantoms that plague her––especially now that she's seeing two Headmaster's ghosts haunting the school grounds.Dane, the Headmaster's son, understands Ophelia's pain. And the two of them soon become everything to each other. But as he starts to lose his sanity, Dane begins to drag Ophelia down with him. You know how this story ends ...My thoughts:As the summary of the book suggests, we all know the tragic "everyone dies" ending of Hamlet. And that's the thing with retellings; everyone knows the story, so it's predictable. But there are plenty of great retellings out there. It's just a matter of taking an original spin on the story, and making the characters feel as real and compelling as possible, really getting to the heart of their motives, etc. (because that's the part the original story sometimes glazes over). So, in my opinion, it's difficult to pull off a decent retelling.I was interested in A Wounded Name because I haven't read many retellings of Hamlet, especially modern-day ones. The idea of doing a more modernized version of the story and from Ophelia's point of view was an interesting premise, I thought. Unfortunately, a lot of things about this book fell flat for me. But … let me break it down.What I liked:- As I said, I liked the concept of retelling Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view. Has it been done before? I'm sure, although I don't think I've seen a specific example of it before. - I went back and forth on the writing style a bit, but there were some descriptions I liked. There were times when the writing flowed beautifully, and created very vivid images. What didn't work for me:- Although I liked the writing at times, there were other times when it felt over-the-top and not like a teenage girl's narration. While I realize Ophelia is pretty unusual and gloomy, I still had trouble relating to her voice when she sounded like … well, like she came out of a Shakespeare play. I would have preferred that the author had given her a more believable and relatable voice.- Building off of that, I had similar problems with the dialogue. Once again, it often sounded like the characters' exchanges were coming out of something written by Shakespeare––which they were, of course, but it didn't feel right in context. In fact, I became confused about what time period this was supposed to be taking place in due to the more old-fashioned nature of the dialogue. It didn't feel modern or natural to me.- The romance between Dane (aka Hamlet) and Ophelia made me uncomfortable. I realize it's not supposed to be a particularly healthy relationship but … it was still disturbing to me. Throughout the book, I just felt that Ophelia was rather passive about the whole thing, and it felt like Dane was constantly using her as a way to deal with his grief. In fact, there were a lot of times when it seemed like Ophelia was afraid of him and didn't want him touching her … but he would do so anyway. On top of that, he was just plain abusive at points. He would always be grabbing Ophelia, shaking her, forcing her to kiss him … there's a point where he chokes her until she passes out … uh.I was just confused about whether this was being conveyed as romantic or not. Because a lot of the time, it felt to me like it was supposed to be. You know, one of those things that was like, "Dane is an abusive asshole sometimes, but it's only because he's a tortured soul … and that's so sexy!" So … I don't know. It was confusing and creepy to me.- *Sigh* The slut shaming. Ugh. Just to give you a taste:His mouth claims mine, tender but urgent, and I shatter. All the protests, the words of refusal that a good girl should have on her lips, the concern and the thoughts and the things that make sense, they all splinter off into nothingness …I'm sorry … so, if you allow a boy to kiss you that makes you not a "good girl" … ? And here's Dane talking about his mother:"What would happen? That she would betray everything my father stood for? That she would whore herself out to the first man that came sniffing around, even her own brother-in-law?Okay, I get that it's weird for your mom to get together with your uncle right after your dad dies. But … still. No.Now for Ophelia talking about why she has no friends:The only girls who willingly talk to me are the ones who are trying to get to my brother and think cozying up to his sister is a sure way of achieving that.If they spread their legs, that's a very sure way of getting my brother's attention.Sometimes I even tell them that.… And the girl wonders why she has no friends.I'm just really tired of seeing this attitude in so many YA books. I don't want to see any more female protagonists whining about how every girl is a shallow slut except for them. Just … NO NO NO. STOP IT. - There were some odd descriptions that were used over and over again––especially "bruise-colored" and "hollow of my breasts." Like seriously, so many things were described as "bruise-colored" and … what color even is that? Bruises can be a lot of different colors––brown, blue, purple, black, yellow, green … it's not a real color. And then Ophelia was always talking about the "hollow of her breasts" which sounded weird to me. Maybe "hollow between my breasts" would have made more sense … but "hollow of my breasts" makes me picture … hollow boobs. I don't know, I just found it strange. The final word:I liked the concept of this book. A modernized retelling of Hamlet in Ophelia's perspective could have been really cool. And while there were some descriptions I liked, a lot of them didn't seem fitting to the time period for me. And in the end, I didn't feel much attachment to or sympathy for the characters. - Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews