Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

From Back Cover: Avery and Nora bonded back in first grade when a school assignment revealed that the girls had something in common - they were both adopted. Years later, the two friends have drifted apart. Avery is at the top of the social ladder at school and Nora ... Nora's not even on the map.. Avery knows that Nora has problems, but she's got her own. She's trying to get into the Ivy League, and her long-term boyfriend wants to take "a break." Then Avery learns the devastating news that Nora's overdosed. Searching for her own birth mom might be a way to honour Nora and get into the college of her dreams all at the same time. Avery enlists the help of Nora's friend, Brody, and together the two embark on a quest to find her past. She hopes it will help her hang on to the world she's built, but it may result in losing everything. Avery just might discover that what she really needs goes deeper than genetics ... 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: In comparison to Eileen Cook’s previous books, I’d have to say that her latest novel, Year of Mistaken Discoveries, is probably the most serious in tone. The subdued humour wasn’t what I was expecting, but I appreciated that Cook decided to try something new.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get fully invested into the story because it involved more telling than showing. We also don’t get to know Nora very intimately, and so her death had little impact on me.

Furthermore, I couldn’t connect with Avery or Brody. In the case of Avery, I think this can partly be attributed to the fact that she herself doesn’t know who she is. Brody, on the other hand, seemed like a guy that I would easily like since he was sweet and honest … but, something just seemed to be missing to make him come alive off the pages.

I really liked the last few chapters of the novel however. Although Avery’s search for her birth mother progressed easily and in an unrealistic manner, the result of her search was unexpected and made her – and the reader – reflect on the definition of family.

Year of Mistaken Discoveries was released in February 2014 by Simon Pulse. 

Comments About the Cover: I don’t like that the cover emphasizes the romance between Avery and Brody because their romance actually doesn’t play a huge role in the book. Instead, the main themes in Year of Mistaken Discoveries are family and self-discovery. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Simon and Schuster Canada) for free.
original image from


  1. This is one author whom I still need to try and I do want to sometime. Of course, I would much rather read something of hers that is less obvious and has better characterization. I'm curious, which of her work would you recommend the most?

  2. Normally, I love books about self discovery but the telling and not showing is a huge turnoff for me as a reader coupled with less than interesting characters make me think this is not for me.

  3. Hmm, unrealistic and lack of connection and telling rather than showing...not good signs. It's good to hear that the book turned around for you at the end, though--that's certainly preferable to books that start off strong and then end up being disappointing in the end.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. It's so hard for me to get into a book if the characters don't get under my skin and have me thinking about them even when I'm not reading, so it's a shame you just weren't able to connect with Avery or Brody. *sigh* Hate it when that happens!


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