Book Review: Repulsion by @JSteenbeeke


Series: The Unbound Series, Book 1
Author: Jeroen Steenbeeke
Published: December 28th, 2015
Pages: 76
Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction 

Source: NetGalley provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.



I used to think I was a pretty normal teenager: I got up in the morning, went to school, did my homework, played video games, and dreamed about Karen—one of the girls in my class. When I found out she liked me, too, I thought I was the luckiest guy alive. But everything changed when we kissed. Something awakened inside of us, and now we know that we're not normal teenagers after all.

For a while I thought these powers were pretty amazing—I mean, who wouldn't want superpowers? But it stopped being fun when Karen started hearing a voice in her head. A voice that told her I was her enemy. A voice that could take control of her. A voice that was only the first glimpse of a world we never knew existed.

My Review:

This review has been hard to write. Not because I didn’t think it was a good story – it was. It just didn’t leave an impression on me as much as I hoped.

First of all, the cover is gorgeous, it immediately caught my eye. Then the blurb drew me in. Teenagers with mysterious superpowers – yes, please. I even loved how the story was paced and even though the writing was geared more toward the younger end of YA, I still enjoyed it.

Yet as I was reading there was just something that bugged me and I couldn’t put a finger on it until after I had finished. There was a lack of description that, for me, left the book a little bland. This is 100% a “me thing”, but when I read, I look for that descriptive sweet spot. Too much and I spend most of my time skimming through unnecessary details. Too little and I finish feeling a little cheated. Repulsion fell on the latter.

Another small thing that I’m not quite sure if it bugged me or not was that there were multiple 80’s references spread throughout a novel geared toward modern teenagers. Some were clever and didn’t make me feel as if the author were trying to force some of their favorite nostalgia in the story:

“My mom always told me that if he ever were to put on “normal clothes” and get a shorter haircut, he’d look just like a young Matthew Broderick. If she hadn’t made me watch Wargames I wouldn’t have known what she was talking about.” - Repulsion, Jeroen Steenbeeke

And then there were other’s that made me think otherwise…

“watching Freddy Krueger turn a very young Johnny Depp into a geyser of blood was a worthy substitute.” – Repulsion, Jeroen Steenbeeke

One of my favorite aspects of Repulsion is how the characters felt like they were exactly their age - sixteen. The boys in the story reminded me of how my brother and his friends would act at that age, a little immaturity mixed with crazy hormones. And speaking of hormones, the romance between Thymen and Karen was sweet, but rushed, in my opinion. I’m sure the quickness the two become close is because of the story’s length. Quickness aside, I did feel that the progression was natural enough.

The side characters, Rob and Sarah, are well developed. I enjoyed their presence in the story as much as the main characters. Kudos to Steenbeeke for making Sarah a math wiz! There isn’t enough female STEM representation in YA literature.

The other aspect I enjoyed was the setting. As an American who has never set foot in the Netherlands, I felt as if I understood the culture well enough. For what was lacking in description of feelings and surroundings, the author didn’t skip on explaining certain cultural aspects – such as Queens Day.

What I take away from Repulsion is that I just wanted more. More description. More character development. More information. Because there was just so little for me to connect with, I chose to give it three stars – that and a rushed, cliffhanger ending. I literally closed my Kindle and looked to my husband and said, “Well that was abrupt.”