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YA Book Review: Qualify by Vera Nazarian


Qualify (Book 1 of The Atlantis Grail) by Vera Nazarian

Gwen Lark is a heck of a hero.  And her story is full of excitement and adventure, kind of The 100 meets the Hunger Games.  See, there’s an asteroid hurtling toward Earth and in 18 months, it is all over.  Fortunately for a select bunch of humans, the ancient Atlanteans have returned to Earth in their spaceships.  It turns out the citizens of Atlantis didn’t die out or sink, but took to the stars during a similar world-ending catastrophe.  Now they’re back, and they have room for a small percentage of the world’s teens to return with them to their new home planet.  Problem is, the teens have to Qualify to go.  And Qualification takes intelligence, skill, creativity, and athletic ability.  Gwen has some of those things, but athletic ability?  Not so much.  She gives her all, though, and makes friends along the way.

I had a few problems with this book, but they weren’t so bad that I wasn’t engrossed from the first page.  There were some grammar issues.  While I am a huge fan of correct grammar, I’m also a fan of creative grammar–think Stephen King’s 1-sentence (or even 1-word) paragraphs, or using slang outside of dialog–but there are some things newer authors do that drive me batty.  Overusing adjectives.  Example: It was an over-sized large dome.  Um, doesn’t over-sized mean large?  Even bigger than large?  Don’t do that.  It’s redundant.  Also, if you really want to drive me nuts, put a comma in the wrong place.  Don’t they teach this stuff in school anymore?  Even in the middle of an otherwise brilliant scene, I will get hung up on that missing or misplaced comma for a good 10-30 seconds, consider not only how I would make it right but what I would say if the author and/or editor were right in front of me, and plot the myriad ways in which I could kill them.  Only after I’ve done all this can I read on, and I will still be thinking about it 3 pages later.

So yeah, there were a few issues, but they were mostly grammatical.  Because even with these gaffs the story was totally riveting.  Action-packed and mysterious, it kept me turning the pages.  Qualify is a good, long read, too.  It probably could have been broken up into two books, with a little more emphasis on the Finals part of Qualification, but since I don’t know where the story is going in the next book, who am I to say?  If you have a teen or pre-teen who loves adventure, apocalypse, and outerspace, I definitely recommend this one.  And the awesome part it, it’s free right now on Kindle.

Love wins,