Ok, so I need to sit down and have a little chit chat with Kaiya Hart on her marketing for this little gem, Getting Thin. Her husband contacted me in regards to reading this in exchange for a review, and I agreed, though I’ll admit I was really dubious of this one, and here’s why:
The Title: Once you read this, it makes PERFECT sense, but it’s a bit misleading. I was figuring it was a ghost story about a girl who was being haunted and stopped eating or some such nonsense. It didn’t intrigue me. I never even considered that the term “getting thin” was in relation to the MC’s sanity, and it is. And it fits. I would just…I’d try to find a way to market around that name.
The Cover: The cover also fits the story perfectly, ONCE you’ve read the book. If you haven’t read the book, the poorly lit, shadowy image of the back of a girl covered in blood holding a baseball bat amidst a tangle of leaves and limbs really doesn’t make much sense. Plus, from a professional photographer’s point of view? It’s too cluttered. Redo the image of the girl the same way, but without the insane tangle of limbs around her, and you’ll have a much more arresting cover page.
The Synopsis: Way too long, way too deep, and not really one that readers can glance at and go, “OH! That sounds cool!” You want your synopsis to be something that catches the eye in a millisecond, not something readers have to really think about. And as a reader, I studied that synopsis hardcore trying to figure out exactly how the book would go.
So…there you have it, Meg’s breakdown of what NOT to do when you have a brilliant book on your hands and want to market it to the world. Sorry, Hart, you kinda did all of these things. And normally, I would say that these are no big deal, if you had a crap book to share. But considering the absolutely brilliancy of Getting Thin, and how it pretty much took my preconceived notions and smushed them up into little bloody balls of nothingness as it blew my mind at the same time? Yeah, I’d take a step back, look at your marketing, and re-evaluate.
THAT BEING SAID! Let me review this little diamond in the rough:
Getting Thin is NOT about getting thin…well, not in the way you’re thinking though the character did originally start off as a chunkster and ended up being literally thin, but that wasn’t the point of the book. That was just the basis of her friendship with an awesome little cookie named Roxy who had a love for running, and shared that love with our MC, Eva. Getting Thin is about being haunted into insanity. And wow, it’s good. Basically, here’s the deal:
Eva’s a chunkster. She’s one of those typical MC’s who’s quiet, reserved, loves to read, and doesn’t have many friends. However, that’s where the similarities with Mary Sue MC’s ends. Eva is pretty much a book nerd with no friends, she’s not hot or glamorous or a diva in disguise (Hello, every female MC written in the past 5 years). Eva is just Eva. And she’s pretty bad ass in her own little way. She has a basket case Uncle who adores her, but is still insane, a bitchy sister who is all rage and protectiveness, a worrywart mom, and well…you don’t hear much about her dad or her other sister, but they’re there. Eva has NO friends. Zilch, zero, none. Then Roxy moves in next door.
Roxy is apparently Eva’s polar opposite. She’s all smiles, sunshine, and slim perfection. And she’s nice. Roxy immediately takes a liking to Eva, based on their mutual love for books, poetry, and things of the more eclectic nature. Roxy introduces Eva to the joys of running (which results in Eva really getting thin physically, not the premise of the book though) and Eva pretty much falls in friendship love with Roxy. Pretty sweet deal.
Then, let’s just be blunt and to the point here, Roxy is brutally raped and murdered at the end of the summer. And Eva. Loses. Her. Shit. Seriously. She “gets thin” in the brain.
Getting Thin is written in a very unique way. It’s from Eva’s point of view. And it’s basically like being told two stories at once. And Kaiya Hart pulled this duel storyline off like no one’s business. It starts off after everything has happened, though we have no idea what has happened or why. Eva is sitting on a rock, looking at the burnt out shell of an old mansion, pretty much lost in thought as she waits for someone to arrive. The only clue we’re given at first that anything is amiss is that she keeps referencing a rope swaying above her, creaking, meaning there’s some weight on the end. She thinks of Roxy, of how they met and their friendship came to be. Storyline one takes place at this rock, after every things been done. Nothing really changes, it’s just Eva sitting at a rock, with a dead body dangling above her, dripping blood everywhere, waiting on a detective to show up, and then once he’s there, story line two begins, and Eva slowly reveals to the readers, and to the detective, what exactly happened.
Each chapter starts with Eva at the rock, with dialogue between her and the detective, references to how life used to be, and to things that happened months prior. And then usually halfway through the chapter, we slip into the past (storyline two) as Eva tells us the story as she reveals it to the detective. It’s hard to explain, I don’t know how to do it, but I’m not kidding when I say give this a chance. The story line is brilliant, the characters are rock solid, the descriptions are eerie, chilling, and in many ways, beautiful. As I said in one of my updates on Goodreads, I never thought I’d read a description of murder that was actually beautiful. And it was.
I can’t say much more than this, without just ruining it all. Just, go get this book. Read Eva’s journey into insanity, watch her enact revenge on Roxy’s murderers, and then be absolutely astonished by the surprise twist at the end of the book.
Oh, and I forgot, there is a ghost. And she scared the snot out of me quite a few times. Thanks, Kaiya Hart, for a truly original and masterful ghost story.