Plot –> I’d first like to thank Kate Hinderer for providing me with a copy of AURORA UNDEFINED in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I know of a lot of readers who shy away from Independent novels. But they are becoming quite trendy in the publishing industry. One such Indie novel that you should not ignore is AURORA UNDEFINED by Kate Hinderer. It’s a gem of a book. Filled with complicated friendships, budding romance, tenderness and heartache, AURORA UNDEFINED is everything I look for in a contemporary YA novel.
At the center of the story is Aurora, a high school student who has just lost her best friend, Allie, to the popular crowd. She finds comfort in two other best friends, Julie and Hudson. In fact, they’ve known her longer than Allie. They are fun, nice and stick by Aurora through thick-and-thin. Aurora feels her senior year is going to be tough and bittersweet without Allie by her side. Besides this, everyone is always trying to define Aurora by what they want — from her parents to her friends. Aurora really doesn’t know who she is or where she’s heading.
As school gets rolling, Aurora tries to make-up with Allie, but discovers Allie has moved on and wants Aurora to do the same. Aurora reluctantly does so and finds everything is going well. She’s doing well in school, sending out college applications, attracting the interest of her crush, Mike, and has launched an eco-friendly club with Julie. But when tragedy strikes, Aurora must figure out how to define her own life and her future.
World –> The quiet, suburban life and high school experience is fleshed out and believable. One of my favorite locations in the book is a tree house fort in Hudson’s backyard where Aurora, Hudson and Julie hang out to get away from it all and be together.
Characters –> Aurora is a typical teen with problems ranging from school to boys. At the time, these problems seem like the most important things in the world. Aurora finds out that friendship, loyalty and love are more important. It’s who we are and how we define ourselves that really matters. Allie is definitely not the friend Aurora thought. I can understand Allie wanting other friends, but being mean and ignoring a friend is just not cool. I wanted to reach through the book to tell Aurora that Allie didn’t matter. She has Julie and Hudson.
Julie is sweet and desires what’s best for Aurora and herself. She’s practical and wants Aurora to move on, as well. So does Hudson who cares for her and wants to be more than friends, which is obvious to the reader but not Aurora. Aurora’s parents are a little stereotypical. Her mother is rarely around, yet wants to take control of her daughter’s life. For instance, Aurora states she’s been considering going to college in New York because her mother always wanted to go to school there. I thought: who cares where her mother wanted to go to school? How about what Aurora wants? I like her dad and was glad that they had father-daughter time together, but he is also overbearing at times.
Writing –> The writing is great! Sure, there are a few typographical errors here and there, but I’ve found those in traditionally published books. The story flows, the pacing is good and Hinderer gives a terrific sense of time and place. We get to know her characters and care for them before the tragedy occurs. I plan on checking out her future books!
Cover –> The cover is pretty, but it’s not my favorite. I wish it could have been more related to the book.
I’m giving AURORA UNDEFINED 4 “Retro Typewriters” for being solid writing, characters and world!
I’d like to thank Missie of The Unread Reader for the use of her button!
When I’m not writing… I’m not sure such a time exists. As a freelance journalist, blogger (www.modlychic.com and www.katehinderer.blogpost.com ) and fiction writer I’m almost always writing or crafting words in my head. There certainly isn’t a day that goes by when I haven’t scribbled down at least 500 words and usually that total is closer to 2,000.
But I learned a couple years ago it was important to have another outlet, if for nothing else than to clear my head to allow me to go on writing. I picked up running as a way to get in shape and have become somewhat obsessed with the whole sport. In fact the only magazine I actually subscribe to and read cover-to-cover is Runner’s World. It’s excellent and super well-written.
I ran the Chicago Marathon (26.2 miles) in 2009, the St. Louis half marathon in 2010 and most recently the Providence, RI half marathon. This October I hope to run another half marathon in Rhode Island with the goal of setting a new personal record with a better time. Now that I am living on the East Coast I’ve set my eyes on increasing my time and eventually qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon. Now, I run an average of 30 miles per week, while mixing in some core exercises and cross training.
I’m also the oldest of nine children, which keeps me busy. Staying in touch with all of them is a serious time commitment. One I wouldn’t trade for the world. This might sound cheesy, but as the oldest I love watching them all go through their junior high and high school years. I love seeing the choices they make, the passions they begin to follow, the events that are shaping them into the person they are becoming. They are also a big part of my ‘research’ for writing. Since most of my characters are high school students I’ll often take a conversation we had or an event in their lives and twist it to work with my stories.