From the moment Fred met Aja, he knew she was different. And she was.
Aja had a gift. But her gift came with a price.
After a shocking sequence of events, Fred must look back at their relationship, and piece together all of their shared moments, so he can finally understand Aja’s precious gift…and its devastating repercussions.
I had read Pike’s The Last Vampire a few years ago, and while the blend of Indian mythology should have reeled me in, it left me feeling confused and overall disappointed in the book. I thought it would be different this time around, but sometimes things never change. Strange Girl’s plot rests on Aja, a miraculous saint-like girl who is able to channel the will of the universe (Brahman, or universe, in Indian mythology) and cause miracles. She, for reasons unknown, moves to a traditional Christian town in South Dakota, where she meets our douche-y main character. I call him douche-y because he displays all the things we hate about a hormonal teenage boy.
Fred is perhaps not the most interesting character this book should have been written through. He is a talented musician, who wants a girlfriend to have sex with, and lands a saint. I can’t even accuse him of manic-pixie-dreamgirling her, because she needs to have a personality for that. Throughout the book, she is this bland person, who by her own admission, doesn’t have an individuality or any particular will of her own. She coasts through the town, heals people all around if the universe is willing, but doesn’t actually do the healing. She is just a tool for the universe to wield it’s will, and even Fred feels dismayed for her. When she finally exerts her will, it is to save a child molester, which is so many shades of wrong, even if the victim herself wanted him to be saved.
The secondary characters are also cookie-cutter, with barely any personality. Fred considers them inconsequential in any matter, and frequently brings up how he is better than all of them, while saying he is not bragging. Way to be modest, dude. Another thing that irked me was when Aja said she was only a person when she was being his girlfriend – I get that achieving a higher level of enlightenment devoids her of individuality, but why can she forgo that oneness with the universe only when she has to be his girlfriend? Even their supposed ‘love’ doesn’t convince me, and this book was only going downhill from when her powers were revealed. It’s sad when a story that has potential suffers from poor writing.
Received a free galley from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss; this does not influence my opinions or the review.