Human Blend - Lori Pescatore
1.5 Stars

I was pretty disappointed in this story, and its delivery. I found myself watching the words as I read them instead of seeing the story, and I hate that more than most things. I want to feel the story, and experience things along with the characters, but the delivery here prevented that from happening at any point in the story.

The story is about a girl who is running from her past, and given to us in the preface, we know that it is a dangerous past. Laney/Julie arrives in a picturesque town in Virginia (that for whatever reason had me constantly picturing Washington), and is determined to start a fresh life and be normal. Problems arrive for her right away when a local boy shows interest in her, and she goes against her better judgement to become close to him. As she begins to integrate herself into the community her past finds her, and brings along quite a bit of violence. As she battles her enemies, she must also battle her feelings for what she learns about herself.

Laney takes the name Julie Miller and is referred as such throughout most of the story. I was impressed at first because she seemed to be a bit of a bad-ass, and had no qualms about being alone in a small town setting (I point this out because I have a special admiration for those who eat alone and don't care. It's like flipping the bird to those of us too chicken to do it, lol). This was what we got to explain her age: "She did not know how old she was. Looking at her, one would guess her to be about sixteen. She knew better. Laney did not age the way "normal" people did. This much she knew. Why? That was something that she had gotten tired of asking herself." Again, I am intrigued and can see that this could be pretty good.

She gets on my nerves in a hurry with her bipolar attitude. She isn't strong-willed, independent, and particularly brave at all. It seems more like she lucked out in getting away and didn't expect to really make it at all, not to mention that she has zero situational awareness for one claiming to not want to be caught. Here is just one example of her obliviousness (I got tired of making highlights about it after a while): "Marcus was able to get close enough to breathe in her ear. "Boo," he whispered. Julie reacted by jumping off the sofa with the thick book held high above her head. "See, now that's how you should've reacted the minute I walked in the door. For someone on the run, you're an easy target," Marcus laughed. You didn't have to sneak up on me, Julie frowned. "I didn't but that's besides the point." This was 64% into the story.

The inconsistencies throughout really got on my nerves as well. I've already touched on Julie's inability to have any awareness of her surroundings, but there are so many more examples. She uses her ability in full view of people, which is how the good doctor knew something was different, and yet she says she needs/wants to keep a low profile. Here is another one that
irked me. She has said how she is much older than the 18 years that she appears, but when her high school boyfriend asks her to join him at the school's carnival she responds with this: "Carnival?" Julie tilted her head. "Is that, like, with rides and stuff?" Part of this can be explained away by the fact that she had never been to one, but the girl grew up in Las Vegas for crying out loud. She knew what one was even if she had never been to one.

There is also the weirdness in which she experiences her memory flashes. It's like she doesn't remember her past, and these memories are new to her, but there is no explanation for this. She completely checks out while reminiscing. She has walked into people, been told she looks vacant, and been asked if she is okay during these times. Eli even points out how he had knocked and called out to her, but she didn't hear him and had no problem with him letting himself into her apartment. That's another annoyance. She says how she wants to do things on her own like pay her way and such, but she puts up only token fuss when Austin and Eli take over. Austin brings in a big TV and stereo and she grumbles, but gives in faster than even I expected. All while making an ass of herself, again, by walking away from people without explanation.

A big issue I had with Julie was her inability to be faithful, or have any remorse over it. She also gets embarrassed at odd times, and at odd things, when she has no embarrassment over making out in public. One example of this that comes to mind is when she and Austin get off the roller coaster and his buddy tells him he is lucky (he had his arm around her shoulders). She takes a second to figure out what he means and then blushes. Made no sense to me considering she had already had sex with the kid. Anyway, as I was saying, she gets into this relationship but has no problem kissing, or making out with, the doctor. Or any male it would seem. The doctor, Eli, starts kissing her from the onset. It was odd. She has these random freak outs, and he just gets in her face and kisses her cheek and lips, and she simmers down and thinks nothing of it. For real. This behavior continues throughout the entire book, and not just her making out with Eli when she has an exclusive relationship with Austin, but she makes out with Marcus the first time she meets him too. It goes on and on.

I'm going to stop myself from tearing this up any further, because I know this is getting long, and it would be absurd if I shared each highlight I made. Just trust me when I say it's the details. She can't speak unless spoke to, but a sentence later she is doing just the opposite, and so on and so forth.

The one bright spot here was Marcus. He is a character that showed the most promise, and I enjoyed reading this more when he was around. I highlighted some of his best moments, and of course the first was when he was the only one blunt enough to tell Julie that she sucks as someone on the run, lol. I love a snarky character!

"As a doctor, you are lacking in patience," Eli said to Marcus. "Well, you're lacking a pulse. Guess we both have our weaknesses," Marcus replied.

"I was going to put it in Mr. Kimmel over there since he is almost dead, but Doc here volunteered instead," Marcus told her.

"Fine, let it kill you," Marcus replied, folding his arms.

"What? C'mon, she was cute. I'm human, for the most part. I got needs, too," Marcus explained.

"Are all elves this miserable?" Marcus asked.

Basically, I didn't like this book very much (not that it isn't obvious, lol), but I would recommend it for the younger teen audience maybe. There is nothing explicit sexually, and even the violence is pretty mild.