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Khanh the Killjoy

Revived - Cat Patrick As readers, we love to hate our Too Stupid To Live characters. Those loveable Mary Sues who knowingly walk into impossible situations, do irresponsibly stupid things like singlehandedly confronting monsters and angry men who could beat them up with a finger. They're the horror movie equivalent of the innocent virgin who walk down a basement when we, the viewer, are screaming at them to just stop in front of the screen. But as much as we make fun of these characters...they have one thing in common: they're as hard to kill as cockroaches. Not so for our heroine in this book, no. Daisy is literally Too Stupid To Live. So much that she dies multiple times (twice in the same way!).It's rather appropriate that her name is Daisy, given that she's constantly pushing them up.Our intrepid heroine first died at the age of four, through no fault of her own. She was in a group of fourteen kids travelling in a bus when there was an accident, then they were chosen to be in a test group for a drug called Revive. The drug, aptly named, revives people from death. It has been kept a secret all these years by the creator of the drug (known as God), and each subject of the experiment lives with jack-of-all-trade Agents who pretend to be their parents. Every time a child dies, he or she and their "family" move on to a new home, a new place, a new identity. The drug is such a secret that they can't even fly, lest the drug is stolen or discovered during baggage check. I thought the premise for all the moving and secrecy was idiotic, and the heroine herself is not much better.In the beginning of the book, Daisy dies from a bee sting. She's allergic to bees, she knows that. But why didn't she have an Epi-Pen on her?"I spent way too long deciding what to wear, leaving only five minutes to arrange my hair into something resembling a style. I left for school in a rush, remembering the EpiPen, which probably would have saved my life, halfway down the block. I wasn’t so late that I couldn’t have gone back, but for some reason I didn’t."Her previous deaths were caused by similarly treacherous situations:"I wolfed down my PB&J, then started in on my grapes, stuffing more than a handful in at once. A monstrous red grape got lodged in my windpipe."Well, she was only five and a half then, so, accidents do happen.But then...in the summer before seventh grade:"I died from asphyxia...if we're getting technical: I was swimming near some houseboats at the reservoir and got carbon-monoxide poisoning from an idling boat."Carbon monoxide poisoning? What the actual fuck? How stupid do you have to be to be swimming behind a boat for that long? I do not claim to be an expert on carbon monoxide poisoning, but I do know that it takes enclosed space. To be in the open air, swimming near an idling boat...maybe a few hours? Again, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? How do you die of carbon monoxide poisoning from swimming on a lake?!Daisy's personality is not terribly endearing. She's a typical teenager, which is to say she is very silly, very concerned with boys and popularity. There's nothing wrong with that, given the age of the character, but when reading a book, I would like my heroines to be a little more mature and show some signs of introspection and growth. There is very little of it in this book. Daisy has died so many time that she's taken it for granted in herself, and when it comes to death in someone she slowly comes to care about, she completely freaks out and acts irrationally.The Revive project is an extremely secretive one. If Daisy were a CIA agent, she wouldn't last half a second, because the instant she falls for Matt and learns that his sister (and her friend) is dying, she spills the beans. Knowing the secrecy of the project, knowing how important it is, she endangers herself and this important secret right away, which I thought was unbelievably foolish. Falling in love with a boy and then throwing away everything just like that is not a hallmark of a deep, complex character, but of a shallow, stupid, foolish little teenager who thinks only of herself and her best interests (which for the moment, rests in keeping her friend alive so she can continue her mission of dating said friend's SUPER HOT BROTHER).The premise of the book lacks credibility, too. Why do they have to keep running away when she dies? It's not that uncommon for someone to die for a short while, then brought back to life. It's not that incredible at all. It's certainly a lot easier to be brought to a hospital or brought somewhere private to receive the injection, particularly when the agents with whom she is assigned also masquerades as a paramedic. Children have stupid accidents all the time, especially kids with allergies, and it's so much simpler to explain away a hospital visit than to create a new identity, completely clean out the old house and the hidden secret lab, brainwash and monitor the previous town's residents so nobody suspects anything's wrong. Oh, and kill off anyone who suspects anything's out of the ordinary with the grieving family who just left town. So much fewer bodies to clean up. Literally. It's one of the worst premise I've ever read in a YA sci-fi, and that's saying considerably, given the gaping plot holes that frequent too many pieces of YA sci-fi and dystopian fiction these days.In every good mystery, there is an element of subtlety involved. The reader should always be guessing, the allusions and clues need to be there, but with such style and finesse that it's hard to discern. Not so with this book. The clues are as subtly hidden as a purple polka-dotted cow."Movement near a planter catches my eye: A man in a blue button-down and jeans is standing there, waiting for someone. The funny thing is that he looks right at me when I look at him. He watches me for a second like a curious stranger might, then looks away, taking out his phone and typing on the keyboard...He’s got the same robotic look that Cassie has, that the agents in the cleanup crews have."HMM. WHO COULD HE BE, I WONDER?And Matt, lovely, dreamboat Matt. Sooooooooooo much hotter than Jake Gyllenhall (I swear to god that's what she says). Unbelievably gullible, naive Matt, who buys Daisy's incredibly story at the drop of a pin. And need I mention this jewel? "[My girlfriend] started college this year. We felt like it wouldn’t work long-distance. Well, I felt that way. She wanted to stay together.”Now, in addition to jealous, I feel inferior. My lanky fifteen-year-old self is no match for a college girl. Possibly reading my anxiety, Matt adds, 'She’s a bitch.'"Such a gentleman. I can see why Daisy fell for him. As God (the creator of Revive, not the actual Lord, although it would have been true either way) says to Daisy: “Bad move...What a colossal waste of Revive you were.”I couldn't have said it better myself.