This book was so dull it put me off writing about it for nearly two weeks after finishing it. That bad.
Charisma is from the same author as Nerve, which apparently isn't all that good. It is, however, a basis for a movie from last year that was pretty enjoyable on its own right. So when Charisma, with its colourful 'from the author of Nerve' cover (right there on the right) started popping up at Waterstones and the synopsis sounded interesting enough, I thought I could check if it's really that bad.
Well that was a mistake, clearly.
The idea of the book is this: Aislyn has suffered from crippling shyness all her life, and would do anything to be more outgoing, so that she could live her life. When the anything comes in the form of an experimental drug called Charisma, she jumps at the opportunity. For a moment, she has everything; fame, popularity, charm, love. Soon, however, she comes to discover that you can't have your cake and eat it too, as the side effects prove to be dangerous, even fatal.
There's also this side plot that's supposed to have you wondering whether gene therapy is ethical or not, but all I could think of was how Charisma tried to seem all smart and deep, without any of the work or thought that normally goes into being either of these things.
The execution of the whole books is one of the worst ones I can imagine. Just for the plot, I have dozens of ideas of making it more tolerable, even good. That doesn't even start to cover the dull writing style...
Aislyn as a character is quite plain with the whole 'too shy to live' thing, but after the side effects kick in (this is around 1/3 in so the idea itself isn't all too fleshed out), she becomes downright tolerable. You'd be surprised to learn just how much a person can whine and cry and complain after (briefly, sure) getting everything they've ever wanted. Also, my empathy was further reduced by her knowingly taking the drug, acknowledging it's experimental and there might be side effects and even signing a consent form(!!!). So I didn't really feel for her.
Her best friend's name I've already forgotten, but she was the opposite of Aislyn in nature; outgoing, happy, brave. She also abandoned Aislyn when she really needed her to hang out with her new boyfriend, so that was nice.
Aislyn also has a super dull boyfriend, John or Jack or something. He's basically there so that Aislyn could complain some more about maybe dying in the future, just when she's so happy (although all the complaining she did could have fooled me).
All in all, this was the dullest thing I've read in a while (I'm at university, too!). I think I should stick to less obviously bad books for a change.
For Helmet 2017 I put this in category 10: A book with a beautiful cover (mostly because that's the only compliment I can give this book...)
PS. Apparently I didn't pick up a single quote while reading this. Yes, that bad.