A complimentary advanced reader copy of this book was provided by Brown BYR in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!) My review was in no way influenced by this consideration.
It’s such a bummer when you go into a sequel with high hopes and it’s just…kinda…okay.
There’s nothing wrong with the writing in Just Call My Name. Holly’s style, which I quite like, is the same here–shorter sentences, which make for more pauses, causing me to process each a little more thoughtfully. She’s a different voice in YA, and I really enjoy her writing.
The story, though? I really found it lacking, in a lot of ways. It’s not that I was bored–I was interested all the way through. But if you’ve read I’ll Be There, you’ll find that this is basically just a rehash of the plot of the first book. There is a new character, Destiny, and while she leaps right off the page, not much really happens with her. Destiny had the potential, in my view, to be a major point of conflict in the story, but her plotline didn’t go much of anywhere. I wanted her to be so much more dynamic, and live up to her brightness and complicated personality.
Honestly? I’d have liked to see Clarence cut out altogether, and find out more about what it was like for Sam and Riddle to adjust to “normal” life. I also wanted more detail about Sam and Emily’s relationship, and what made them tick. They got together in such an unusual fashion in the first book, and while I was totally willing to accept it because of the deep emotional current running beneath everything, I wanted more about the quiet moments between them, and how their relationship worked. I was also kind of done with the “Bobby takes a pratfall after being selfish or superficial” trope. It didn’t bother me in the first book, because of how it fell, but it felt stale and unnecessarily punitive here.
Overall, I enjoyed the prose and wanted to see what happened, but ultimately, Just Call My Name was just an okay read for me.
Three stars, which would be less if I didn’t enjoy Holly’s style so much. If you’d like to give her a try, I enjoyed I’ll Be There quite a bit more.