[Review] Barking Madness

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Title: Barking Madness

Author: Ryan Hill

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller

Published: October 19, 2014

Source: Copy provided by the author.

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads


"My life is crumbling away before my eyes while I do nothing to prevent it. I have visited too many funerals, for too many friends who haunt my dreams. Everybody dies eventually, right? No, everybody dies young when they befriend me. Was I born to die young? I don't think so. I'm the only one here with the nerve to stay alive. I can't be left alone. Not with that hollow man, the one who hides his face. That's what he wants, me to be alone, because once I'm alone he's going to kill me!"

Seventeen-year-old Rosetta Harper is plagued by nightmares of a masked man. With her father’s new career move, her family has just relocated from Florida to the small New England town of Ashwood. A quiet town and close-knit community where you know your neighbors, and trouble is a word unspoken. But soon after her arrival, her world and the worlds of her classmates come crashing down.

Michael hates his family and feels alone and unloved. He only finds comfort when he's with his friends, but even they get on his nerves. Everything about Ashwood and his life bores him, until Rosetta Harper moves into town. With her as a new classmate, Michael finally gets the excitement he was looking for, but it may be at too high a cost.

Barking Madness is an enjoyable tale that, unfortunately, doesn't start off that way. In the beginning, I thought only somewhat negative things about the writing from the dry dialogue, lack of connection to the characters, and unrealistic scenarios. All of this lasted for a majority of the book until I hit the halfway mark. The dialogue seemed forced (as I said, dry), and Rosetta pissed me off beyond belief enough for me to just want to throw my Kindle out of the window out of anger. There were a lot of scenes that made my eyes roll so far back into my head that I thought I'd be stuck like that (this was all in Rosetta's perspective).

I didn't like Rosetta because she was the *ahem* c-word. It appears that she suffers from a multi-personality disorder even before things start coming to light. Another thing about the beginning that made me  just want to stop reading the book right then and there was the fact that on Rose's first day of school, she makes a friend, an enemy, makes out with a boy she barely knows and met several hours ago, then has sex with him, and... oh my Lord, he tells her he loves her. All. in. one. day.

As for the story itself, I personally feel like things would have been scarier or creepier if there was more immersion. There wasn't enough showing to pull me into the story and put me right in there which means anything I should have felt was null and void.

I had no emotional connection to either of the characters with the slight exception of Michael because he was the only character that seemed believable enough.

Onto the good. Okay, so, as I kept stating, a lot of the issues I had were in the beginning. Once I hit the halfway mark of the book, things started picking up and getting better. The party scene with Zach was very heart pounding and marked the downward spiral and the reason the book is titled Barking Madness. Adding werewolves was a good twist and is always an immediate +1 gear (can you tell I love werewolves)?

I really love psychological stories especially when they can blow my mind and keep me reading much like this did. Once things start getting interesting, it really starts impressing... I just wish it would have been like that even in the beginning. As a reader, if it's hard to get into the story, there is a high chance that we won't continue reading it, but I pushed through and I'm glad I did. If you're looking for something new that will keep you saying "oh my God"? Well, I suggest sticking through the beginning and reading this. It certainly turned out a lot better than I originally thought.

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