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The Darkness*

Bulwark from a Teen’s Perspective

This is my third book in the Bulwark anthology, and it is certainly different from the ones by Brit Lunden. This is actually a YA novella. We see Bulwark through the eyes of a teenager keeping a diary. Strange things are afoot at Bulwark’s high school, including a peculiar smell coming out of a locker. What’s going on at the high school?

This book had me for the first 20%, as I thought, finally, I had found an author who could do diary format correctly. I’m always a bit disappointed when authors writing in this style break out into dialogue. As one who has journaled or kept a diary for a significant part of my life, I can say that I never, ever write in dialogue with full quote marks and dialogue tags. So I always hate, hate, hate it when I see it in literature. The first 20% of this book swept me back to when I kept a diary when I was in high school. I love how the author got right into this girl’s head and really give us a sense of her thoughts and emotions. But then at that 20% mark, the dialogue started creeping in. Sigh. I know an author might not want to keep strictly to the diary format for literary purposes, but if you’re going to break into dialogue, why not make the book a mixture of proper scenes and then diary musings?

That personal pet peeve aside, I found this novella to be a fun glimpse into a teenage girl’s mind. It was very creative, and I could completely identify with much of what she thought and experienced. The author did an excellent job conveying how a diary can express the rawness of emotion and thought, as well as shifting moods and beliefs.

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