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Four in the Morning

Four in the Morning - Christi Goddard I'm going to do something here I've never done before. I'm rating this book not for what it is, but for what it very easily could have been (indeed should have been) with a few simple edits. There is a lot to like about this book: a strong, highly relatable voice to the lead character, good dialogue, a unique story, fast pacing and plenty of unexpected shocks. There were a couple of scenes in particular, relating to issues of abuse, that were highly disturbing and very nicely written. Goddard knows how to write about difficult subjects without descending into cliche, or losing the consistency of her character's tone. Those scenes are all the more shocking and believable for it.The only issues I have with this story are very simple fixes, subtle things that a half-decent editor would have been able to tweak. I'm not talking about typos or obvious grammatical errors, (the proof-reading has been done very well), but just some basic tweaks to prevent the reader from being pulled out of the story in key points, and the fleshing out of a couple of key story elements, particularly the superquick resolution of the story at the end. Specifically, what I would love to have seen fixed up was this: - Removing the monologues from the middle of dialogues. Several times, the lead character begins musing on something halfway through a string of dialogue with another character. By the time she has finished her thought, I've forgotten what it was they were talking about, and the next line of dialogue appears out of context. This is easily fixed.- Tweaking the wording of some of the sentences to make the meaning clearer. Again, I'm not talking about grammatical errors as such, but things like this: "I sat up against my headboard and debated fetching a snack. Dad took had taken pity on me earlier and bought me some ice cream sandwiches. I was sore, but the effort of going up and down the stairs would be worth it.." As it was, I had to stop and figure out whether the father had just left the house to get the ice cream or not. It's not tricky to figure out what she meant, it just takes you out of the story for a second. There are a few too many of these interrupting the flow of the narrative, but this too is easily fixed.- The choice of animal character is inexplicable to me. There's nothing obviously symbolic about a white skunk. It's not particularly cute or engaging, and there doesn't seem to be a reason for his odd colouring. If this element didn't appear to be completely random, it would have added a layer of depth to the story. This could be very easily fixed by either changing the animal, or providing some hints as to why he is what he is.- The story resolves itself very quickly and conveniently. It comes across as rushed and anticlimactic. All this would have taken to fix is a little bit more fleshing out. The story's resolution does work - it's just the pacing that's off. See what I mean? All these issues - EASILY FIXED!This book has great potential, hence the four stars, but the editing just lets it down. If I were this author, I would seriously consider re-releasing an edited version of the book. A few small changes would have made a world of difference.