Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ARC Review: So Shelly by Ty Roth

Title: So Shelly
Author: Ty Roth
Available: Now
Reading Level: Young Adult

Description from Goodreads:

Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end

My thoughts:

So Shelly revolves around the lives of three character based off long dead poetic greats. Anticipating how John Keats, Lord Byron, and Percy Shelly might live and interact if they were teens living in modern day. Shelly is dead, and Keats and Gordon have swiped her ashes from her memorial service. Armed with an urn, a boom box, and an REM CD they set out to spread Shelly’s ashes in a location she chose before her passing. Along the way Gordon and Keats get to know each other better, and take us down memory lane via flashbacks of their lives with a living and breathing Shelly.

I wanted to love this one. I really did. I think the premise of the novel is brilliant, but I found the characters seriously lacking. I couldn’t relate to or sympathize with them. Even Keats who I should have felt sorry for didn’t leave an impression. Gordon is horribly selfish and self-centered. Shelly’s obsession with the narcissistic Gordon was pathetic. Keats was just there, and didn’t appear to serve a purpose beyond that of narrator. 

The plot moved slower than I would have liked, and honestly I spent most of this book in a state of depression. Avoid this one if you’re looking for happy because this is a dark and deep read. I do appreciate the idea behind the novel, but unfortunately it didn’t win me over. History buffs and poetry fans might enjoy this one more than I did. I encourage you to read the author’s notes at the end of the novel before reading. They are very informative if you aren’t familiar with the background of these poets.

I also have to slap a content warning on this one. It contains colorful language, references to drugs, sex, incest, and other heavy topics that some younger teens might not be ready for. 

Cover notes: The cover is absolutely stunning, and the reason this book garnered my attention in the first place. 

My rating:

Source: Around the World Tours


  1. This one sounds disappointing!! I've heard similar about it, so even though the concept is pretty interesting, I'll probably pass on it.

  2. Oh no!! I really wanted to read this one because John Keats is my favorite poet of all time. I think I'll probably still pick it up, but I guess not right this very second. Thanks for the honest review. I'm glad to know it's not pressing to go run to the store and buy it.

  3. Bummer! I had high hopes. Thanks for your honesty.

  4. I've seen a lot of iffy reviews for this one around too. It's a shame because it sounds like such an interesting concept, and of course, the cover is amazing.

    I may still pick it up at some point, but it won't be a must buy for me.

    By the way, I just noticed your new rating system. How cute is that! Love it!

  5. I freaking love your kitty grading system:) That sucks that it was disappointing:P Thanks for being honest!
    PS Super cute blog template!