February 26, 2014

Year of Mistaken Discoveries - Eileen Cook

Year of Mistaken Discoveries book cover Eileen Cook
Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Source/Format: Edelweiss || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared: they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact...until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it's urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora's loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora's who is also looking for a way to respect Nora's legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she's really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics. (from Goodreads)

There is not much about Year of Mistaken Discoveries that was memorable. The novel was an average young adult contemporary for the most part, rife with the character’s struggles to come to terms with her own life. It was written in a very readable manner, which I appreciated and lent to the speed with which I finished.

What I Liked

The concept snagged my interest. Reading the summary, a few things stood out to me: friendship, adoption and a possible romance. There was incredible potential there! I’m always on the lookout for excellent friendships in YA, and Nora and Avery’s friendship sounded like it would fit that bill perfectly.

I really like the name Avery. Yes, I know this is such a small thing. But when choosing books I want to read, I’m always likelier to consider the book if I like the main character’s name (especially if the MC has the same name as me, or some variant). I wanted to read a book about an “Avery”, so that definitely tipped my decision to read this.

What I Didn’t Like

There was a lack of feels, as well as a lack of drama. I generally prefer that my contemporary reads bring on a case of the “feels”. I want to feel what these characters are feeling, because that always serves to me as a marker of whether I really liked a book or not. The problem here was that everything (plot-wise) fell into place a little too neatly. I was expecting more drama, more emotional moments, but didn’t get them.

I wasn’t able to connect to the characters. Honestly, this is probably what led to my previous blanket statement. I just could not feel a connection with anyone, even in the most minor of ways. Avery, especially, frustrated me. I wanted to like her, to feel for her, but the most that occurred was that I understood her. That’s generally okay, but I just wanted more.

While there was definitely the possibility of something amazing from Year of Mistaken Discoveries, it just fell short of what I had hoped. There’s no doubt that there might be readers who will like this book much more than I did, but for me, it just didn’t work.


  1. It's so hard when a book is a bit disappointing. And I always want to be able to connect to the characters, and it doesn't sound like Avery really grabbed you.

    Oh, also, MC's names always influence me on whether or not I want to read a book too. I'm still waiting for a book where the main character's name is Quinn. I have read a few books where the best friend's name is Quinn, which I like.

  2. This is so sad! Though now I want to read this one even more just so I can compare with you. It is terribly difficult to enjoy a book if you can't connect at all. I can see why that would make this book unmemorable for you. I hope I feel differently!

  3. It's a bummer that this one didn't work for you, Alexa! I love your honesty here and I appreciate it. I noticed, though, that the cover (which I really like) doesn't really match the description.

  4. I don't think I'll read this one because of your review. It's such a shame that the characters are hard to connect to but your review is lovely!

  5. Oh sad! I read the blurb on this and got so excited to read your review because this sounded like a "you" book. I'm like you... I like my contemporary to give me some feels, rather than just a mediocre unmemorable reading experience.

  6. It's always a let down when such a good idea doesn't translate the emotion to the page....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  7. Such a bummer about this one. I saw the book in the bookstore the other day, and realized I had barely seen any reviews for it. I still haven't read an Eileen Cook but I do have one at home. I should get to it... it's always staring at me in my hallway.

  8. This is one that's on my TBR list, but also not one I'm dying to run out and read ASAP. Yours is the first review I've read for it and based on my thoughts about the book before and your review I doubt I'll be picking it up soon.


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