When I was in elementary school, I didn’t know much about plagiarism. I knew that I shouldn’t copy straight from a text, but, when I was writing a paragraph, I would take sentences or phrases from different sources that I remembered reading, change a couple of words around, and and add it to the paragraph. I was seven or eight- I didn’t know that I was anything wrong, and nobody ever talked to me about it. I did this up until fifth grade, when I finally realized that this wasn’t what I was supposed to do.
The Jewel reminds me of what I was doing in elementary school, only a bit more subtle and on a larger piece of writing. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, original in Ewing’s book. It’s a huge concoction of so many different things, from so many different places, blended into a horrible piece of literature. Take the blurb and a bit of the plot of The Selection, allusions to Romeo and Juliet, the setting of the Hunger Games, and you’ll have the basic outline of The Jewel. Add a boring, but “special” main character, a typical love interest, and millions upon billions of metaphors and descriptions, and you’ll get this sloppy attempt of a novel.
For example, look at Violet. She’s purple-eyed, amazing at everything she tries, a perfect cellist, stunningly beautiful, and should basically be the perfect main character. And while I know that there are people that seem like this in life, I don’t want to read about them. Violet is one of the most special snowflakes I’ve read in a while. She does things that no one else can do and excel at them in a unbelievably short time period. Especially with a first person narrative, I want my characters flawed and real. Violet has no discernible flaws, which makes me not like her as much as I would.
Additionally, she seems as if she can’t possibly stop whining about every small thing that goes wrong in her world. I understand- she’s living in a horrible, horrible world, with horrible, horrible people, but I can’t take it anymore. Sometimes, when her life was perfectly decent, she’d complain about the smallest of things, and my sanity would slowly crumble to pieces.
But no matter how bad all these characteristics are, nothing compares to the moment she meets the love interest. In this entire year, I didn’t read anything as bad as when Violet first saw Ash and his beautiful eyes. The very instant she sort of saw his eyes and glanced at him, she began obsessing over him and his eyes, and he basically fell in love with her after half of a conversation. Then, because this is Young Adult, he ignores her for a while, but it’s okay, because look at his eyes!
I want to say there is no plot, because it’s ignored a lot. However, occasionally after veering completely off course, it kind of comes back, which made me slightly gripped. This was the only reason I finished The Jewel. This plot is exactly like the summary of this story, but slower and less interesting.
The thing that I liked most about Ewing’s book is how there’s little to no slut shaming. Maybe there was a lot, and I didn’t catch any of it because this book was so bad, but I’m going to pretend that there is none, which would be the only reason this rating is higher than .5 stars.
In all, unless you love giving yourself headaches for fun, pick up one of the billions of other dystopian YA novels around.
-Lots of Descriptions
-Sort of good writing (?)
-Really, really boring
-So much awkward here
-Not sure whether or not to read next book