I rarely post reviews outside Goodreads, but I have a soft spot for Indie authors, so here goes. ❤
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Ohana Tree
Title: The Ohana Tree
Author: Rebecca Addison
Publisher: Rebecca Addison
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Number of Pages: 386 [Ebook]
My Rating: Three out of five stars
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
“The first book in the ‘Ohana Series by Rebecca Addison.
On a small island in Hawaii, twenty-eight-year-old Kai is contemplating his life.
He’s a talented singer-songwriter, stuck playing other people’s music for tourists at the local bar. With his own songs and with that voice, he has the potential to be the next big thing. But as much as he lives and breathes to play music, Kai knows he will never leave the island to pursue his dream.
On an old bus rumbling along a winding road, a girl named Tessa looks out the window. She sees frog-green plants clinging to the side of sheer cliffs, snatches of a bright blue sea. She’s come to Hawaii to reconnect with the only person who really knows her. And to escape. She’s a winged seed on the breeze, never settling long enough to grow and put down roots.
In her second novel, Rebecca Addison tells a soul-stirring story about family loyalty, love and loss, long-held secrets and the chance for new beginnings.”
To be honest, I really can’t pinpoint what rubs me off the wrong way about this book, but something really does. Don’t get me wrong, though. For the record, the book is good, but somehow, there are just some things that hinder this one from leaving a lasting impression on me.
For me, the strongest point of this book is the writing. I commend the vivid descriptions, which make you feel like you’re really in Hawaii. Despite not understanding the language the characters speak, I appreciate the phrases and other cultural additives, which help in the world-building of the story. However, perhaps, ironically, the descriptions are also the book’s weakness. While the clear descriptions are commendable for perfectly depicting the locations and appearances of the characters, the descriptions may have exceeded their purpose when they also start telling -and not showing- the emotions of the characters to the point that they leave us readers the lack of opportunity to interpret the emotions of the characters themselves. Furthermore, I am turned off with the huge chunk of paragraphs that just try to describe everything, making the narration sound monotonous in the process. It’s like reading a recipe where everything’s written chronologically and technically.
I also have a hard time connecting with Tessa. The writing with Tessa is so detached that I do not feel any pity or remorse for her and her backstory. I repeat, it’s not about Tessa’s personality (maybe a little), but more of the writing when it comes to her. It’s just so detached. She is so hard to like that it’ll make you wonder how Kai falls in love with her so fast aside from her, you know, being ~beautiful.~
Or perhaps I am disappointed that the story doesn’t revolve around music like I expect it to be. I’m a sucker for musicians, so I have high expectations on how music will play a part in the characters’ story and development. So in the summary, it says that Kai is a musician in the island. And at the beginning of the book, Tessa is seen by Kai playing violin beautifully, and he is drawn to her since then. I find that scene beautiful, and is excited about what comes next, but then the monotonous narrations come up, equipped with heavy drama that’s presented with just more telling and less showing, and the music factor only comes up sporadically.
While the middle part gets boring, the pace picks up and the dialogues start pouring in at the latter chapters. It is only then when I feel something for Tessa and everything is okay with the world and the ohana tree.
I initially rated this book two stars, but after giving it some thought, this book deserves three stars. The book has a good premise, well-thought out plot, likeable-ish supporting characters, and vivid descriptions despite the heavy drama and how it is written.