Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Blog Tour & Review: Watching You - Shannon Greenland

Watching You
Shannon Greenland
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: July 2nd 2018
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Viola’s always been that girl from that family, so a scholarship to a prestigious private school in Florida was supposed to be her ticket out of poverty and into a brand-new life. But Viola’s secrets have followed her. Her relationship with the intelligent and gorgeous Riel should have been the salvation she needed—he understands her troubled past better than anyone. But then weird things start to happen.
Frightening messages.
Missing personal items.
The unsettling feeling that she’s being watched.
Viola’s never been one to give her trust easily, but she’ll need to trust in Riel if she’s going to survive her stalker. Because she’s not fighting for a new life anymore—she’s fighting to stay alive.

3 Stars

More Young Adult Romance than Suspense, Watching You tells the story of Viola, a teen genius who is willing to do whatever it takes to get herself and her family out of the projects, even lie. A scholarship to her dream school puts her on the right path, but the steps she took to get there threaten to catch up to her. Both her competition and her mentor, Riel is as smart as he is gorgeous. He seems to understand her troubled upbringing, despite the picture perfect life she has presented. With no wealth and little connection with her fellow dorm mates, Viola learns to trust in Riel, especially once frightening things begin to happen.

I admit, I went into this with pretty high expectations and I'm sad to say it was a bit of a letdown. I really liked the premise of Watching You, because I think a scary stalker situation in an away school situation can have more suspense than your usual Young Adult suspense where parents and longtime friends can get involved. That said, the high school environment did not lend itself to the storyline. It came across as more romance with a hint of suspense and even then I wasn't engaged in the stalker storyline. I did, however, never guess who the stalker was nor their motives, so that was a nice surprise. I liked the breaks between chapter from the stalker's perspective, I just wish that Viola had been more concerned, because I certainly would have been. In her youth though she's definitely more concerned with the cute boy than the quickly turning dangerous situation she's in. Viola has a good reason for wanting to get away from home and to land a spot at the prestigious private high school. Desperate to get into MIT for college and to give her family a new life she takes a lot of risks, a lot of understandable risks that I couldn't fault her for. Riel, however, is the one who steals the show. He's a knight in shining armor with brains, beauty, and a heart of gold, it was impossible not to like him and to sort of resent Viola for her role in his life. As things heat up between them so too does the creepy feeling of being watched. Viola tries to ignore it, pushing onward in school and attempting to befriend to wealthy elite at the school, but strange happenings keep distracting her...that or Riel does. 

After a lot of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that Watching You just might have been too juvenile for me. At times the characters seem more mature than their 18 years and at other times I thought I was reading a teen drama, it made it difficult for me to place the characters in this away from home setting and in the midst of a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Viola responds in a very young way and she seems to find every male attractive, so I struggled to accept that at 18 she is willing to move away to a school that's very similar to college, leave behind a family she claims she has felt the burden of taking care of, and that she'd find herself in such a serious relationship. Riel, on the other hand, reads much older and was definitely more college aged than 18. In fact, his storyline is more believable than any other character, primary or secondary, that we interact with. Ultimately, I've come to the conclusion that this novel might have gone through some editing that changed the setting and ultimately changed the presentation of the characters.

I think Watching You is fitting for the Young Adult genre, with the romance leading the story and the suspense taking a back seat. However, I was disappointed with the setting and the lack of connection I felt towards Viola, there were a lot of missed opportunities with her. I did read this in one sitting *extra point for that* and I do think the suspense was written well, I just wanted more.

Author Bio:
Shannon Greenland is the award winning author of several novels including the teen spy series, THE SPECIALISTS, and the YA romances, THE SUMMER MY LIFE BEGAN and SHADOW OF A GIRL. She also writes thrillers under S. E. Green and lives off the coast of Florida with her very grouchy dog.


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