Friday, November 15, 2013

Bang by Lisa McMann

The second installment in Lisa McMann's Visions series sees Sawyer Angiotti now experiencing a vision. Sawyer and Jules are now secretly seeing one another. Because of the feud between their families, only Trey and Rowan know about this. Jules is still recovering from the crash that saved Angotti's restaurant and Sawyer's life . She has her arm in a cast but has returned to school.

Sawyer tells Jules that his vision is about a shooting and that eleven people will die. He hears the gunshots but only sees a very small portion of what will happen. So Jules begins to work with him to try to determine where and when the shooting will occur. Eventually both Trey and Rowan are drawn into helping.

In order to meet Sawyer and help him, Jules resorts to lying to her parents, particularly her depressed, hoarder father. At the same time, younger sister Rowan is planning a trip to New York to meet her secret boyfriend, Charlie and his mom, without the knowledge of their parents.

When Jules dad uncovers her deception with Sawyer he attempts to ground her. But Jules works around him to try to help Sawyer uncover the details of the vision before it is too late.

Unfortunately, this second novel does not live up to the quality of its predecessor, Crash. Bang is beset by cheesy lines describing Sawyer and Jules' growing infatuation with one another, the constant use of the phrase "oh my dog" and dot com jokes,  and a brief discussion about the weirdness of a certain part of the male anatomy, all of which add nothing of merit to the storyline and were mostly annoying. (Another beef: Mass which is a religious service for Catholics should be capitalized.)

Because the story is told from Jules point of view rather than Sawyer's, much of the drama is lost in the telling. In Crash, the reader could sense in a palpable way, the intensity, the fear and the exhaustion that Jules was experiencing as she struggled to figure out her vision. That sense of urgency is greatly diminished through the narration of Jules and perhaps this story would have been better told by Sawyer.  McMann does manage to create a suspenseful climax though, with an unexpected twist in the story.

McMann takes the school shooting scenario and makes it (predictably) into a hate crime that has significant relevance to Jules family because her brother Trey is gay. Trey figures significantly in this novel which is a bonus because he is an interesting, likeable character. He longs for a relationship like what his sisters have and McMann conveniently provides him with a potential love interest near the end of the novel. Trey's involvement in the resolution of Sawyer's vision suggests that the third novel will see him figure prominently.

Despite the fascinating cover, Bang was mostly a disappointment.

Book Details:
Bang by Lisa McMann
New York: Simon Pulse         2013
241 pp.

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