Release: March 17, 2015
Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?If you like your YA with a dash of political intrigue and larger-than-life fame, this book is for you.
Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.
However, if you like your fiction to feature complex, memorable characters, this book may be a disappointment.
I wanted to love The Wrong Side of Right. I really did. And at times—many times, in fact—I found myself wholeheartedly enjoying the plot, with its ties to current events and politics. Especially during the whirlwind of an exposition, in which Kate meets her father in a sudden, very Princess Diaries-esque manner, Jennifer Marie Thorne's debut is exciting, original, and pleasant to read.
But after the first few chapters, I began to feel that something was missing from The Wrong Side of Right, and a few chapters later, I realized what it was: Kate has approximately zero personality. It pains me to call her boring, because I know most people don't store a repository of witty comments in their brains at all times or have a collection of fascinating quirks. But she is far less spectacular even than the average real person, and I could not help thinking that Kate felt more like a cardboard cutout than any other character I had encountered in quite a while. Readers hardly get to learn any details about her personality, and the few aspects that do emerge seem contrived and convenient. Kate seems to be a vessel for a story about politics and family—not an actual person—which bothered me on every page. Combined with the book's 390 pages, a number that could have been trimmed down a bit, Kate's non-personality creates a plot that often becomes ever-so-slightly dull.
The plot does improve as the campaign moves forward and Kate begins to take issue with a key issue in her father's campaign—his plans to strictly enforce immigration laws. However, her rebellion does not become as monumental and exciting as the book's blurb makes it sound. Despite her personal connections to the issue, she never seems passionate about immigration reform. Her attitude seems to be "I think undocumented immigrants should have more rights, but it's more important to me to worry about how that opinion could affect my dad." I don't consider her bad person for not taking more of a stand; her relationship with her father is fragile, and many people don't have passionate feelings about immigration laws. But her character needed to have passionate feelings; there is not much of a story to tell without them.
Despite this review's negative tone, I did enjoy The Wrong Side of Right to some extent. Like I said, it is often exciting, original, and pleasant to read, and I loved uncovering the inner workings of a presidential campaign. But the problem lies in the fact that I wanted so much more, that this book could have been so much better. I didn't want a book that I could describe as "pleasant to read"; I wanted a book that would keep me constantly engaged as the protagonist battled with beliefs that deeply conflicted with the campaign's. But thanks to Kate's lack of personality and passion, The Wrong Side of Right falls flat. If you are the kind of reader who needs outstanding characters, I would advise you to take your time and your vote elsewhere.