Review: Arabelle’s Shadows by Fleur Gaskin

September 27, 2013 Review 28 ★★★

Review: Arabelle’s Shadows by Fleur Gaskin
Arabelle's Shadows by Fleur Gaskin
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Self Published
Source: Author
Pages: 270
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Everything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, ARABELLE’S SHADOWS takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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ARABELLE’S SHADOWS doesn’t really sound like a book I’d typically read, and I think it’s exoticness was what drew me in. I have never been to Bangok and it’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to be a model, so ARABELLE’S SHADOWS offered me a way to experience a different type of life. And it ended up being darker than I expected.

The novel is narrated by Arabelle in diary like entries, a format of story telling I tend to find boring. However we aren’t stuck with the present in this book. Arabelle discusses her life now, her childhood, and her starting years as a model. We follow her struggle with depression and drugs, her bad luck with guys, and her journeys around the world as she attempts to become a famous model. This really is a book for older readers, and I’d be wary if things like suicide, cutting, drugs and all that stuff trigger anything with you. For me, however, it was a look into a life I’ve never experiences and hopefully never will. I related to the way Arabelle felt at times, understood the feelings perfectly, but I was luck that my friends and family and book would always do something to cheer me up before it progressed to anything worse.

Romance wise, this book was annoying. Arabelle’s love life and sexuality is discussed a lot, but there’s never really one true relationship that develops (which is okay because this is a book about overcoming the darkest parts of life). Arabelle’s obsession with Naak was incredibly annoying. And her fixations on all the other guys earlier in her life too. She just zoned in on that one person and it never ended well. Then there’s the whole thing with what Arabelle blocked from her memory that is so sad and horrifying. I’d hate to be in that situation ever, no one ever should be. And I wish it was something else that woke Arabelle up.

My favourite parts of this book tended to be Arabelle’s childhood and family, and her travelling years. Like I said, her life is so completely different to mine and it was good to read about. Heart breaking to read about too, Arabelle did not go through a lovely rainbow and unicorn childhood, but I think it’s helped me understand people who struggle with depression a little more, and to understand why they do what they do in attempts to rid themselves of the pain. I also enjoyed reading about all the different countries Arabelle went to, and wish she hadn’t been so fixated on guys she couldn’t have (and really should not have wanted.)

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3.1

28 Responses to “Review: Arabelle’s Shadows by Fleur Gaskin”

  1. Tanja

    I have never heard of this one but it sounds interesting. I mean I’m not becoming a model any times soon nor I’m going to Bangok so like you most of the things here would be new for me. I do like the sound of her childhood and travelings but honestly I need more romance to enjoy this book. This romance sounds really annoying. Glad you enjoyed this overall. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…The Thing About Wolves by Leigh Evans

    • Bec

      Romance on the side is always a plus, but only if it’s good. Arabelle really didn’t have any good ones, just obsessions :/ Thanks!

    • Bec

      I haven’t read too many that jump around like this, but I think it’s an interesting way of showing how things in the past affected the character’s present

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      May be a good choice to skip then. Though the diary entries weren’t really that big, just intros to the flash backs normally.

  2. Delaney

    I actually don’t mind diary format! I used to hate it but I actually enjoy it much more now that I’ve read The Year of Secret Assignments which has changed my mind drastically. ^^ I think I won’t be reading this one, but I am happy to hear it’s was a pretty decent read except for some flaws.
    Delaney recently posted…BOYS, BOYS, BOYS: book♥

  3. Allie @ Little Birdie Books

    I don’t think I’ve ever read anything based on a true story before (biographies/auto biographies not included)! Sounds interesting, but the annoying romance aspects put me off really. I need my romance to be amazing – if you’re not going to do it right then just don’t include it!

    Curious as to what she blocked from her memory (guessing some form of sexual assult?). I find stuff like that so heartbreaking in books (and, obviously, real life!), but it’s always interesting to see how the author deals with it and, more importantly, how they show their character dealing with it.

    – Allie @ Little Birdie Books
    Allie @ Little Birdie Books recently posted…*Super Six Sunday* – Books That Gave Me Feels

    • Bec

      I think I’ve read a few, but the term based on was always used loosely. Romance is the same for me, if it’s not decent and there really isn’t any reason for it to be there, don’t include it. This was more one of Arabelle’s problems she had to work through, and it just annoyed me that it was there. It was very heartbreaking to read, and she just started to work it all out when the entries became further apart and the book ended. I would have like to see more of Arabelle turning her life around I think.

  4. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I don’t know how well this would work for me since it isn’t the type of read I generally enjoy, and I tend to dislike diary-like narratives, even though I’m relieved to hear that it worked for you in this case. If nothing else, it sounds different from what I normally read.
    Great review!

    • Bec

      The diary entry is really just introductions to the chapters and we only have a few pages generally before we’re going back to her childhood/travelling years. It’s definitely unique to me. Thanks!

  5. Alise

    This one surprised me at being a dark story too, although it’s kind of alluded with the concept of shadows that it would be. I think I liked this one because I semi-related with the MC’s situation. The parts with her traveling were also my favorites.

    • Bec

      Yeah, I thought there’d be a little bit of dark stuff but nothing on that scale. The way it was written made me really understand the MC and relate to her better. It would have been cool if she traveled more.

    • Bec

      Yeah, it really helps me to relate and almost understand their thought patterns more, because I’ve had a lucky life and never experiences anything like the characters have.

    • Bec

      Thanks! Books are the only way I really get to go anywhere.

      It was pretty sad, but there were good moments too.

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