Title: Goblin Fruit
Series: Gobbled, #1
Author: S.E. Burr
Published: December 2012
My Rating: ★★★★
You think a fairy tale is just a story.
What if it hides a message?
All Clarity’s mom ever gave her is the fairy tale storybook, Goblin Market.
Her whole life, Clarity has helped care for her mother, a mindless, shuffling shell of a person.
At sixteen, Clarity meets Audrey, a girl filled with grief and guilt over her brother who has been struck with the same affliction.
With nothing but a cryptic clue from Goblin Market, Clarity and Audrey risk their lives to cure the people they love.
I think it’s a sure sign of how cynical I’ve been feeling recently that I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. When I picked it up I knew absolutely nothing about it and, I guess because of the number of lower ratings I’ve given recently, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it.
But I really did.
Goblin Fruit tells the story of Clarity and Audrey, whose mother and brother respectively have entered a catatonic state of living death due to taking a drug called goblin fruit. This drug is extremely dangerous due to having this effect, and as such there are strict controls around it. They go so far as to wear gloves at all times and holding hands has become taboo—see, if you’ve taken the drug the chemical leaks through your hands, and anyone who’s exposed gets cravings from the drug. Obviously, the girls want to save their loved ones, but it doesn’t look like there’s a way.
And, okay, I really enjoyed this book. It’s just so different from the young adult books that I’ve been reading, especially in the fantasy and supernatural genre, and it was wonderful. A nice change. I don’t even expect my usual brand of sarcasm to drip much into this review because I just … I liked this book, okay?
Goblin Fruit was, for me, a welcome difference in so many ways from the other young adult books I’ve been reading. First off, there’s a trio of characters at the forefront—Clarity, Audrey, and Todd—and at no point does it get overly romancey. And, yay, no love triangle. The book tells you that it’s about goblin fruit, and it’s about goblin fruit. I shouldn’t have to have an “Oh thank god” reaction to that, but that’s what young adult books have driven me to.
This book also has a number of POC on the main cast. Todd and Audrey both have Hispanic parents, which doesn’t just come across as something that’s said and only said like in some other books that I’ve read.
And I have to say, one thing that I really liked was that the supernatural elements of this book were more subdued. They were present, but this was still very much the real world, and it created this cool atmosphere where the fantasy stuff was there, but threatening because the girls couldn’t do anything about it. And that somehow made the threat seem more real.
I also loved the friendship between Clarity and Audrey. Its development was perfect and touching. Audrey and Todd, too, had a really interesting relationship.
I will say that I noticed a couple of proofing errors—which does happen in indie books, and none of them were too drastic. And also the POV switches weren’t to my taste, but then that might just be a personal preference thing. I don’t know.
I’m not going to drivel on about this book, even though I could, but needless to say, I really enjoyed it. And if you need a short young adult book (I read this in a day, which is rare for me) or something with light supernatural elements. Or, you know, a book that doesn’t have a love triangle in it, then I definitely recommend Goblin Fruit to you guys. As usual, I’ve provided an affiliate link to its Amazon page. (It is I, the sellout.)
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