Paradise wasn’t supposed to suck.
Not the state of being, but a resort in the Caribbean.
Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all there for different reasons, but at Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Paradise will change them all.
It will change Jena, whose first brush with romance takes her that much closer to having a life, and not just reading about those infinitely cooler and more exciting.
It will change Dakota, who needs the devastating truth about his past to make him realize that he doesn’t have to be a jerk just because people think he’s one.
It will change Skye, a heartbreakingly beautiful actress, who must come to terms with the fact that for once she has to stop playing a role or face the consequences.
And it will change Owen, who has never risked anything before and who will take the leap from his online life to a real one all because of a girl he met at Paradise. . . .
From confused to confident and back again, one thing’s certain: Four months after it all begins, none of them will ever be the same.
I really enjoyed Tangled by Carolyn Mackler, although I was slightly disappointed with the execution of the story. The story is told in four alternating parts by four teenaged characters: Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen. In part one, we are introduced to Jena, an insecure high school girl who is heading to the Caribbean with her mom, her mom’s best friend, and her mom’s best friend’s daughter, Skye, an actress/goddess/boy-magnet who makes Jena feel inferior at every turn. While in the Caribbean, Jena becomes smitten with another young boy on the island – Dakota. As romance blooms, and Jena begins to feel confident in herself, something happens that changes everything.
Part 2 is told from Dakota’s perspective one month later. We learn about his past and what he is struggling with on a daily basis. I really felt for Dakota. He is setup as the typical jock with girls who fawn all over him, but underneath all that, he’s just as insecure as the next teenager and dealing with some pretty intense emotions regarding a traumatic incident that recently happened to him.
Part 3 we delve into the psyche of Skye, the actress/up-and-coming starlet, who is just as damaged as Dakota. Skye is an intense character with a lot of pent up issues regarding her father. She reminds me of those popular girls in high school, who turn out to be the most insecure of everyone. Looks are deceiving when it comes to Skye. The cliffhanger ending of her story left me stunned!
Finally, part 4 is all about Owen. Owen is Dakota’s younger brother. He was also on the island with Jena, Dakota, and Skye. Owen is the stereotypical geek who has a secret blog called “Loser with a Laptop”. This is his outlet for expressing himself and what he is feeling. I really liked Owen’s character. He reminded me a bit of myself (LOL). You can just picture the awkwardness, the insecurity, and the emotions of teenage-ness. It felt very real. I liked how his story wrapped up.
Overall, I liked this story, but I was expecting these four stories to be more “tangled” together than they were. We get glimpses of the other characters in the other parts, but I didn’t feel the connection between them all. The alternating viewpoints were easy to follow, but I was left wanting more – to see them more enmeshed in each other’s lives. This is definitely worth a read, but I was slightly disappointed.