Release Day Review: Crossing Into Brooklyn by Mary Ann McGuigan

Saturday, 18 July 2015
Crossing Into Brooklyn, by Mary Ann McGuigan
Publication: July 18, 2015, by Merit Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 224
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Publisher

At sixteen, Morgan Lindstrum has the life that every other girl wants--at least from the outside. A privileged only child, she has everything she could ever want, except her parents' attention. A Princeton physicist and a high-powered executive, they barely have any time for each other, much less for Morgan. Then her beloved grandfather dies, depriving Morgan of the only stable figure in her life. If that's not enough, she suddenly finds out he was never her grandfather at all. To find out the truth about her family, Morgan makes her way to Brooklyn, where she meets Terence Mulvaney, the Irish immigrant father who her mother disowned. Morgan wants answers; but instead of just satisfying her curiosity, Mulvaney shows her the people in his condemned tenement building, who are suffering and have nowhere to go. He challenges her to help them, by tearing away the veil of shame, and showing her wealthy parents and her advantaged circle of friends a world they don't want to know exists. The temptation to walk away from this ugly reality, as her mother did, is strong. But if she does, can Morgan ever really leave behind what she learned when she crossed into Brooklyn?

My Thoughts:

Eh and meh. Those are two words to describe my thoughts of this odd-paced novel, Crossing into Brooklyn. When receiving it, I had a total different expectation on what the plot actually is as well as the premise. For some reason I even expected time-traveling to be a factor, though I was completely wrong. Expect a troubling family crisis and a girl trying to discover who she is.

Yes, this does take place in Brooklyn, by the way in case you were wondering. McGuigan mostly talks about Morgan's life when she mistakenly discovers that she has a long-lost grandfather who will turn out to mean so much to her and the rest of her family, excluding her annoying mother who actually ruined some of my opinion of this book. Crossing into Brooklyn turned out to be a boring, weird read that makes me wonder why it's stuck in the YA genre. It's not my kind of read.

"Morgan, don't ask me again. Please. Stop this,' she said. So I did, because I knew she was too twisted up to listen to reason. She didn't want to know what was happening to these people, any more than she really wanted to know what was happening to me." (Hardcover, page 115)

To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn't have picked this book up if I hadn't received it for review, now that my opinion's straight. Some may enjoy it, but it's surely not a me-read, and those count a lot for my reviews and ratings. Like I mentioned above, this is about a sixteen year old girl discovering her grandfather who her mother hid her from. I mean, this can happen in everyday-life, and happens to many people. I just can't fall for these kinds of reads because it's just formed with such an easy premise that's not intriguing or enjoyable. The only bright thing about the events was the romance between Morgan and Ansel. That's it. McGuigan's a great writer, though the idea of writing about this just doesn't hit me hard in the heart. 

I feel like I don't even have to give you a proper summarization here, because I bet that you already just get it. It's 224 pages too long, actually. If this was shortened into a short story of 20 pages, maybe I'd give it a 4 star rating. But this? Nothing occurring except a nice scenery, adorable romance and a nice protagonist. Everything else deserves a 2 star rating, to be honest. 

Since McGuigan gets readers to live in a world with a family crisis and issues, you'd expect everything what happened here. One parent who the protagonist can speak to (Morgan's dad) and the annoying, rude one who has no sense for their doings (Morgan's mom). I hated Morgan's mom so much that it almost made me shut the book by the middle. SHE HAD NO BACKUP SUPPORT FOR HER REASONING. Some little excuse of her father's past made no sense for keeping her daughter away from her real family and lying to her for sixteen years and she'd still be doing it until Morgan would find out on her own. And the way Morgan discovered it? It was in a mistaken matter, and the mother definitely should've known better.

I felt so much sympathy for Morgan. The girl has been lied to her entire life and everything gets blamed on her. Her parents are so overprotective and she basically is afraid to speak the truth because she'd get so hated on that she can't stand it anymore. But she was strong as well. Not every girl has the ability to smarten up and show love to someone who she's forbidden from liking. She ruled.

"Mr. Mulvaney didn't give her much to go on. He was a hard man to read, and I was sure he was a very different breed of cat from the people she was accustomed to working with. He seemed neutral, almost indifferent, about which ones she chose to display, at least until she took out the one of a woman with a baby." (Hardcover, page, 219)

Mr. Mulvaney's such a cool guy. He did beat all of the stereotypes of a guy who lives in a basement and drinks, or at least, that's what people say of him. A grandfather-granddaughter friendship's pretty cute to read about, though I rolled my eyes at some points when I reminded myself of what the book was actually about compared to the books I usually read. You call this contemporary-romance? I call this YA fiction about a grandpa. It's completely cheesy and I'd rather listen to people say "see you later alligator" ten thousand times than see this stuff.

This is your dysfunctional happy ending. It wasn't happy whatsoever, and some of the conflicts hadn't even gotten close to being to close. But then again, it gets readers thinking about what would happen next. And we are left off thinking about prejudice and stereotypes in different families, and the beautiful setting of Brooklyn of course. Though the boring, slow plot and annoying mother-character is what kind of left me raging in the end, there's always some kind of good quality in a book, and sometimes we just have to think about it and find it.

*A finished copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

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