Book Review: Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

by - 3:11:00 PM

Title: Anomaly
Author: Tonya Kuper
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: 25 November 2014
From Goodreads: "My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening. Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it. When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead.
Thank you to MaryAnn from Chapter by Chapter and Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

Anomaly was a book I did a reveal for when it first came out in 2014 but I never got around to reading it. I couldn't help but feel like it was one I would enjoy but always just kind of slipped through the TBR crack, so to speak. But I've finally gotten a chance to read it and while it wasn't the A+ most perfect book I've ever read, I definitely enjoyed it and am already reading the sequel, Enigma!

Plot:
Josie Harper just got dumped on her birthday. To make things even better, her dad is missing, she's sick, and she watched her now-ex making out with some other girl. Oh, and she's also the same age as her brother when he died. Best. Birthday. Ever. But now, she's experiencing...weird things. Like being able to make something materialize just by thinking about it. When Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, Josie's life completely changes. Everything she thought she knew is turned upside down. She discovers she's an Oculi, with the ability to change reality with her thoughts and Reid is there to guide and protect her as she learns to control her new powers. He's also the only thing standing between Josie and the secret organization that wants her dead.

This was certainly a unique premise for a book. I was all about a female main character that was both into science and a huge nerd, just like me! Plus, the ability to basically create things out of thin air sounded really cool. Anomaly felt like a very...typical YA science fiction book to me. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it just meant that I knew what to expect while reading. "Ordinary" girl meets new dark, mysterious boy in school, boy turns out to be not human (or has some form of powers but still appears human), girl finds out that she, too, has powers (or is not human), bad guys come after girl, boy protects girl, the two fall for each other and team up to fight the bad guys.

I did enjoy the Oculi powers and thought it was really funny that super nerdy Josie who loves the idea of superheroes and the like found it hard to believe that she, herself, was essentially a superhero. Her internal banter was funny, as was the constant back and forth between her and Reid. I did feel that many (if not all) of the nerdy/pop culture references were made just to be made. They were definitely not lacking in the reference department, with at very least one on every page, and while it was clever at first, I ended up getting tired of it by the end. It just felt too forced after a while and I feel that maybe one every so often would have served the same purpose. That being said, it didn't ruin the book for me entirely. The plot kept me fairly engaged for the first half, and I found myself kind of reading kind of skimming the second half, but still enjoying the overall story. Everything unfolded at a relatively decent pace and it never really felt like things were dragging on or moving too slowly.

The relationship between Josie and Reid was kind of hard to get into, probably due to the fact that Reid constantly made comments about how he knew Josie from a very long time ago but he couldn't let her know who he really was but he definitely had feelings for her and definitely couldn't let her know. It was just...not something I enjoyed. I get that the "thing" is for the bad boy to like the girl but it's "too dangerous" to be with her, but I guess I've just grown out of that whole trope. I'm hoping in the sequel that there's more to their relationship than just them constantly thinking about how hot the other one is but never actually doing anything except make snarky comments towards each other.

Characters:
I briefly mentioned this above but I liked Josie and the fact that she was into science and a huge nerd. It was really cool to read about a character that had the same interests as I did! Her nerdy/pop culture references were funny at first, but again, they eventually felt like they were just being made to kind of hammer in the fact that Josie was a nerd. She was fun and sassy, and watching her come into her powers at such an accelerated rate (I mean, of course she's basically mastered her powers after a week!) was kind of cool. Who wouldn't want to have the ability to just poof things into existence?! All in all, Josie was a good main character who I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about in the next book.

Reid was your typical dark and mysterious YA male character but with superpowers. He drove me absolutely insane with his constant internal battle regarding Josie and whether or not he should tell her who he really was because he liked her but couldn't tell her because it would put her in danger. Again, I'm just tired of that trope. The Oculi powers were cool, as they were with Josie, and the twist with his past and Josie's brother made for an interesting ending, but Reid just wasn't anything fantastic for me. I was bothered by something that was addressed towards the end that seemed to just get kind of grazed over involving Josie and Reid, and hopefully that gets brought up in the sequel because I felt like it was a bigger deal than Josie acted like. I don't care how hot you think this boy is, something like that just does not get glossed over because you can't stop thinking about running your hands through his hair!

I would definitely like to read more about Josie's mother and father. Without giving away anything about them both, there's definitely more to them than you initially think, and I'd be interested in learning more about them! The rest of the characters were well-written, but none of them were really ones that I'd be excited to see in the next book. They're not bad, but just not as memorable as Josie and Reid were.

Writing:
Anomaly was definitely an easy book to read. It never felt complicated or too overly descriptive, just very easy to sit down and read and get through the story at a relatively quick pace. I enjoyed the way that the Oculi powers were described and also the way that Josie reacted to having those powers. Seriously, it cracked me up that super nerdy Josie was having trouble grasping the fact that she basically had superpowers. Also, I thought it was hilarious that one of the first things she asked Reid to Push was ice cream. If I had those powers, I'd Push all of the food, no shame. But I really enjoyed Tonya Kuper's writing and I was definitely immediately picking up Enigma right after I finished Anomaly!

If you're looking for an easy to read, funny, science-y YA book to get into, then Anomaly is the book for you. It has a nerdy main character that readers are sure to be able to relate to (at least a little bit), easy writing that's fun to get lost in, and a unique plot that you'll definitely enjoy.

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