Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.
Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can.
Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward
Publication Date: February 9, 2016 by Adaptive Books
The premise sounded intriguing enough – the world starts bleeding, sprouting hair and bones, and our narrator is not only a teenage girl, but one who identifies with the LGBT community.
Apocalyptic AND diverse – score!
But that’s basically where the fun ended for me. As the world becomes more and more disgusting, the narrator becomes more and more irritating. What began as an intriguing, new premise became old fast as the same bits of description are worn out over and over again (yes we get it – the world is bleeding and has hair and bones and it SMELLS). It almost felt like the author came up with the idea, began writing, and then couldn’t figure out how to develop the plot.
Even as I held out hope for something to develop plot-wise, I became too distracted by the increasingly whiny and self-centered inner dialogue of the narrator, Lea. While she had the potential to be an interesting, multi-dimensional character, it turns out that Lea doesn’t care about much except being with her girlfriend, Aracely, despite having other things to clearly worry about (dehydration, blood poisoning, starvation, the health and well-being of her parents and friends, and not drowning in blood or being trapped in her house forever just to name a few).
The fact that the narrator identifies as a lesbian was definitely something that seemed meant to pull readers into the story (diversity in literature is clearly an ongoing fight and YA literature that features LGBT characters is often hard to find). Unfortunately, I found the relationship between Lea and Aracely to be extremely forced. The reader is continually reminded that Lea is fairly “out and proud” while Aracely won’t even been seen in public with Lea and this aspect of the relationship is never truly developed. And while love scenes between teenagers is never anything short of awkward, I found the placement of these moments to not only feel fake (the line “brushes of skin and fingertips and mouths” was definitely used more than once throughout the book), but holy hell were they at inappropriate times in the story line! Who has time for make out sessions after you’ve just found someone brutally murdered?! Even teenagers must have more feelings than that.
She laughs, and it vibrates against my skin. Her fingertips trail down my arms, and we’re kissing again, and this is so much better than talking about the people we’ve murdered.
I’m anxiously awaiting Adam Silvera‘s new book just to remind myself that there is amazing YA LGBT fiction out there. In the meantime, someone please help me restore my faith in YA fiction that includes some LGBT female characters please!