Prior to reading this review, I urge you to read Downcast Blog Tour!!, the first post in this three-post installment, so you have a sense of what Downcast (and the blog tour!) is all about.
Many thanks to Booktrope, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
I really enjoyed Downcast. The protagonist, Stephanie, was — to me — a very realistic portrayal of a daughter who is living a life that is almost 100% dictated by her mother. At the start of the book, Stephanie didn’t really seem to realize just how peculiar her mother was, compared to her friends’ parents. Nor did she realize that there was anything odd about her upbringing, lack of extended family, etc. I really disliked her mom, though, because she seemed to be the absolute epitome of a “helicopter parent.”
However, as the book goes on, Stephanie begins to understand that her mother is not only peculiar, but she is — in short — “losing it.” The very steady, very routine life that she and her mother lived for many years begins to change and become disrupted when Stephanie meets Haley at school — he and his brother Zack are newcomers to the area, and mysterious ones, at that. Haley is very attracted to Stephanie and of course, vise versa (how could a living, breathing girl not be attracted to Haley’s mysterious nature, especially a girl who is accustomed to being an outcast?), but Stephanie’s mother doesn’t like the idea of her daughter spending time with boys, much less dating them. Haley and Zack are polar opposites: literally as different from each other as light and dark.
The pace of the novel picks up when Stephanie decides to make some changes; in a normal teen’s life, they wouldn’t be considered large changes (wardrobe additions, new hairstyle, etc.), but in Stephanie’s life, they take on monumental proportions. This is where the book becomes really intriguing, and from here I am not going to share any more about what happens — since if you really want to know, read the book. It’s definitely worth the investment.
My only “problem” with Downcast — at least, at first — was the fact that although it’s a retelling of “one of mythology’s greatest love stories,” I didn’t figure out which myth it was retelling until near the end. However, since having read it and thought about that a little bit, I take back what I said. I think it’s a good thing that it wasn’t as plain as day, since if I had known which myth it was based on, I would’ve been able to foretell at least a little more of what happened in the book than I was able to. And that, for me, would’ve made the ending less enjoyable (as well as less exciting). So again, I am not going to share which myth it retells, although if you are more familiar with mythology than I am, you probably will pick up on it sooner than I did.
The ending was perfect in my eyes, as well. Again, I’m not going to give it away, but I have a feeling that it will lead perfectly into the next book in the series, which I am definitely going to be snagging once it’s published. (After I read Downcast and realized that it was the beginning of the series, I got really excited.) Although Downcast is a relatively quick read, that doesn’t make it “less than” in my eyes. It just means that Cait has the ability to hook readers with her words and pull them into the worlds that she so carefully creates.
I definitely recommend Downcast to anyone who is interested in novels that retell myths, as well as those who enjoy paranormal YA romance (although I’d say that this is very untypical from the average YA romance books, of course, since the paranormal element/mythology retelling was the main part of the story).
Well done, Cait. I’m very excited to see what other books you will be publishing in the coming months and years! Thank you for letting me be a part of the blog tour for Downcast — it was my privilege.