The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer
Release Date: April 4, 2017 (Yes, I am very behind on my ARCS. No, I will not be judged by you.)
Themes: teen pregnancy, religion, magical realism, media
My Rating: ★★ (1.5 stars rounded up)
Goodreads Summary: Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?
I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Where to start with this book? I can’t say that I had really high expectations for this one. But I had hope, I think? I could see the potential? Unfortunately, this book was a massive disappointment. I can find hardly any redeemable qualities, other than the fact that Quinn’s story is, in fact, inconceivable. So kudos to whoever came up with the name, it was spot on.
First of all, the writing was an unfortunate combination of boring, confusing, and just generally mediocre. I spent literally the first 40% of the book just trying to figure out who half the characters were, because it kept changing how it would refer to each character. When we were reading from Quinn’s perspective, she would have thoughts about “her dad” or “her mom”, but then whenever one of them spoke, they were always referred to as “Gabe” and “Katherine”. For a huge chunk of the book I thought Gabe was her brother. In addition, there were so many POVs that it ended up just leaving me confused and irritated. The writing itself was also incredibly dry and boring. There was very little “show” and WAY too much “tell”. The pacing was weird, as the first 3/4 of the book is basically her just trying to figure out how she got pregnant, all the while never actually talking about the pregnancy itself, then the last 1/4 introduces this ridiculous magical realism system that makes absolutely no sense. Then, the resolution happens and sooo many loose ends were left untouched. It was actually really frustrating.
Top it all off with the fact that I didn’t like ANY of the characters. Quinn was meant to be the rational solver of the huge mystery, and I ended up being really annoyed with her whole personality, and honestly I think she was madder than the Mad Hatter. Her family was dramatic, and the communication between all of them was entirely unrealistic and discombobulated. Her father and her sister were AWFUL. Her father was a horrible and abusive human being, and I ended up almost siding with him because is daughter has completely lost it. Her sister was immature, pouty, and obnoxious. Plus, all of the side characters that we got glimpses of in different POV didn’t add to the story at all, and just made it harder to keep track of who was who.
This book had so much potential. It could have been such an interesting exploration of mental health, teenage pregnancy, and family relationships in the public eye (her father is a government….something? Senator? I don’t even know), and the last-minute introduction of the magical realism just felt like a cop-out.
The only reason this book got rounded up from 1.5 stars is, up until the big reveal, I was actually kind of interested in the whole mystery. I was curious to see what had really happened. And then I found out. Nope. Why? *sighs* I honestly haven’t read a book this disappointing in a REALLY long time.