Friday, September 9, 2016

Review - Vicarious by Paula Stokes

Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Tor Teen
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Date Read: August 30, 2016
Source: Library

A high-action YA psychological thriller with a twisty plot and a questionably reliable narrator in which nothing is quite as it seems.

Winter Kim can't live without her older sister, Rose, who protected her through the harrowing circumstances that began in their youth in Korea, and helped keep her sane as they adjusted to their new lives in the USA. Now Winter and Rose work as recorders—digital stunt women—for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon. Gideon deals in experiences—sight, sound, touch, etc.—by capturing his recorders' sensory neural impulses and selling them as downloads to armchair adrenaline junkies. The more dangerous or sexy the recordings, the higher the price, and Winter, Rose and their colleagues are fearless in pursuit of great footage.

When a neural recording of what appears to be Rose's murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won't rest until she finds her sister, dead or alive. But when the digital evidence conflicts with the real-world clues, she isn't sure what to believe. If Winter wants to find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her own life and mind in the process.

My Review

I liked this book but not nearly as much as I had hoped I would.  I live in the St. Louis area, so when I saw the cover of this book, I just had to read it.  I put all of my other books aside when I picked this one up from my library and starting reading it right away.  It turned out to be an okay read for me.  I am glad that I read it but I wasn't blown away by it.

One of the reasons that I read this book was the setting and I do have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the parts of St. Louis that made its way into the book.  There is talk of some St. Louis clubs and to be honest I have no idea if they are real or not since my days of hitting the club are long over.  There are a few other things mentioned but with a few changes this book could have really taken place anywhere.  That's probably actually a good thing for most readers but I wanted more of St. Louis.

I never felt invested in any of the characters.  Winter Kim just didn't feel real to me and that made it hard for me to relate to her on any level.  I should have been feeling her pain since she has been through a lot of terrible things that she is still having to deal with but I just didn't feel it.  Jesse was probably the character that I liked the most in the story but I still can't understand how he could be as perfect as he seemed to be.

The mystery was pretty good.  There was a lot of stuff going on in the story so there were not any boring moments.  I did guess the big twist pretty early on in the story even though I had hoped that something else would happen to prove me wrong.  Books are really just more fun when you are not able to guess how everything will end.

There were a lot of things that worked well for me in the book and there were a few things that didn't work as well.  I was entertained by the book but I found it pretty easy to set aside.  I do realize that I am not the target audience for this one and I am sure that my teenage daughter would probably like it a bit more than I did.  I am not sure at this point if I will pick up the next book in the series or not.

About the Author

Paula Stokes grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where she studied psychology and nursing. In between pursuing her degrees, she spent a year teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. Stokes is the author of several novels, including Liars, Inc. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Aw man. I'm sorry this wasn't as great as you'd hoped. I bought this book because I recently enjoyed Girl Against the Universe. I'm reserving judgment until I find the time for Vicarious, though. I haven't read too many books with an Asian character (my bad), so that's its main attraction. Lol.

    1. I liked this book but it wasn't one that will stay with me for very long. I would definitely tell others to give it a shot and I think many will really enjoy it.

  2. It's disappointing when you a pick up a book for one specific reason (in this case, the setting) and then end up not really getting what you were hoping for. Sorry you didn't love it more!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I think my biggest problem with this book was not really connecting to the characters. I could have easily overcome my disappointment with the setting but I need to connect to characters. I did like the book in the end.


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