The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (Book Review)

Posted March 3, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 7 Comments

The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (Book Review)The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal
Published by Albert Whitman & Company on March 1, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 227
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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2 Stars

It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her free-spirited aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with him. Pilot. He's the lifeguard with shamanic skills. He both saves her and makes her feel lost at sea. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts.

I love summer beach reads, so when I found this book I was expecting the same kind of light, fluffy ocean-side romance you get when you see a cover like this and read a summary like that. I found myself rushing through this one, though, in the hopes of finish soon so I could move on to something else.  The beginning started off really well. It was intense and had me turning the pages really fast.  I was hoping it was setting the tone for things to come, but I ended up being disappointed in the end. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The paranormal tone was a bit weak and out of place. Sirena discovered that the house she is staying in is full of little mini ghosts the size of saucers by taking some pictures of her basement room with a camera and then looking for little white blurs. And there’s a mysterious stingray (stingrays don’t live in those waters)… and shamans and healing. All these elements rolled into one made the story seem a bit disjointed.

2. I did not like Sirena very much. Her infatuation with the lifeguard, Pilot, was immature and annoying, not to mention stalkerish (she stole a painting of him from an art gallery because she’s so obsessed with him! That’s creepy!) and dripping with qualities of insta-love. Every time she sees him she goes into this inner fantasy world, describing every physical attribute multiple times and picturing herself doing all kinds of things with him. But they hardly know anything about one another! There is no basis for this infatuation other than looks. She’s also really depressed and a total downer. I understand that she’s healing from her parents’ divorce, but she definitely did not act her age (17) in this book. She acted like a star-crossed little tween infatuated by the first attractive guy she’s ever seen. Usually people grow from their trials and tribulations, but Sirena, for the most part, remained stagnant and frustrating. I just didn’t ever connect with her or find her to be an enjoyable character to read about.

3. I never learned much about Pilot. He hardly ever talked, just sat around looking hot. That’s fine and all, but I look for dynamism in my characters, and he was about as interesting to read about as Mr. July in a male swimwear calendar.

4. I liked Antonio, the 80-year-old artist. He’s a shaman, and knows a lot about natural healing (and Pilot knows a little too). I found those discussions interesting. He’s also very caring and understanding. I liked his deep thoughts about art and life. And I liked the dog Will. That dog has a stronger personality than both our male and female main characters.

5. There was a TON of description and very little dialogue. I don’t always mind it when that happens in a book, but the descriptions need to be really good if they are going to take up the bulk of the book. These were just ok, and I got kind of bored.

6. I did like the mysterious elements to the story. I liked them more, and they made more sense as the story progressed. Luckily, things are made a little clearer towards the end, but I still feel like there were some loose ends left untied.

7. Finally, I had no idea what I was supposed to be taking away from this book. There were times when I was rather lost and could not figure out what the point of the story was. There was no real plot, and things felt random and, at times, pointless. You can tell that the author got excited about the ending, so things did pick up a little. I just felt it was too little, too late.

I tried SO hard to love this one. I really did. I kept holding on, hoping that things would turn around and get better. I could see the potential, but just as things started to get interesting the author would switch gears. It was a bit of a bumpy road. Sadly, the promising premise started off well, but led downwards to an anti-climactic and disappointing conclusion.

2 Stars
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7 responses to “The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (Book Review)

  1. How do you find the time to read so many books? Ha ha I follow you on Goodreads too, and there are new books like every day! I can barely fit in one book a month!

  2. This is a really amazing review, Jana! I loved how you listed out all the things you liked, and didn’t like so much. The whole paranormal aspect sounds kind of confusing, and I really don’t like self-wallowing main characters either.:p I’m sorry this book didn’t work out for you!

    -Aneeqah @ The Brain Lair

  3. Really glad you felt similarly to me. I was nervous when I saw you were reading it. I am so with you. I held on to the very end in hopes of something happening and everything coming together, but it just didn’t. And you are so right about the description/dialogue stuff. It’s one thing to hear the thoughts of a character, but it’s another when you aren’t getting anything from the thoughts and there is still no dialogue. Ugh. Hope the next thing you read is awesome!

  4. Thanks, Aneeqah! I’m glad you like my review format. :)

    Estelle, as soon as I saw your review of this I knew I would feel the same way. I was reluctant to read it, but knew I had to! Oh well, at least it was a quick read, right? :)

  5. I remember reading Estelle’s review and she had similar feelings, it’s so disappointing when you’ve spent time reading a book only to find it didn’t make you feel anything :(

  6. I have had my eye on this book, there is something about the cover that catches my eye every time. It is like the dude is just waiting for me to take his hand…idk…maybe I am crazy. But I would so take that boys hand…Bahaha…

    Anyway, great review. It is sad to see great covers wasted on something not so great.
    But I may still end up checking it out at some point.

    Dreaming In The Pages