Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
Series: Landry Park #1
Published by Penguin on February 4th 2014
Pages: 384

“Downton Abbey” meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal.

Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.


I feel a bit on the fence about this book. On one hand, it did entertain me, and that certainly counts for something. On the other, it felt very… done before. Not that the story wasn’t unique in its own right, but I guess it just didn’t stick out for me in a sea of similar books. Let’s break it down, shall we?

  • The Characters: Madeline was a good protagonist, most of the time. I liked her, and I usually felt pretty connected to her, so that was good. She wanted to be well rounded, she wanted a chance to study before settling down to have a family, she was quite strong in her convictions. There was one inconsistency that irked me about her though. While she was sympathetic to the Rootless, she was ridiculously worried about some cosmetic house damage, which didn’t seem to fit with someone who was otherwise not that concerned with gentry things.  I understood even her wavering when it came to rebelling against her father, that made sense. But the drama over the house stuff confused me.
    I was also very intrigued by what Cara’s situation was, and certainly felt sympathetic for the Rootless. And I had lots of wavering feelings about David, but I more liked him than I didn’t. And Jude didn’t seem necessary, and I feel like maybe he isn’t what he seems. Or I hope, because he needs a point. Otherwise, dude needs to go home.  So the characters overall were a positive.
  • Parent-in-YA Syndrome: You know, when a parent is either useless, harmful, dead, or vanished? Ugh, here we have your typical horrible excuse for a father, who only cares about his precious legacy. And a mother who is pretty useless overall. I do like the interaction with David’s mother and Madeline’s father, that was kind of fun and different. Otherwise, they were just… there.
  • The Romance: This was not a love triangle. It was a love… pentagon? But it wasn’t. It is so hard to explain without spoilers, but it is not any kind of typical love triangle, so that was good. There was some insta-attraction, but not love, so that was fine. I enjoyed the romance part of the book.
  • The writing: It was good, though a little slower than I would have liked at times, but overall, I can’t complain.
  • The Plot: It was entertaining, but just a bit overdone. I think this may be in part because I oversaturated myself with dystopian books in general, but there isn’t anything that really stuck out as completely fresh to me. It’s Girl Meets Oppressive Society, mixed with Girl Meets Rebellion. The nuclear stuff gave it some freshness, but I felt like it could have been replaced with anything else (insert plague, war, or villain here) and it would have been pretty much the same. Perhaps it will stand out more in Jubilee Manor.

Bottom Line: It wasn’t a bad book by any means, it just didn’t “wow” me. I am probably curious enough to read the next book, and I did enjoy the author’s writing, so it definitely was worth reading, but not one I would rush to read. 3strs

What is the last book you read with “Parent-in-YA Syndrome”? Did it change your opinion of the book at all?

Posted December 12, 2014 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 14 Comments


14 responses to “Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

    • It gets all kinds of soap opera-y! I mean, I can’t pretend I didn’t kind of like it, but I think I am in the minority, most people aren’t exactly a fan of all these shenanigans 😉

      The father is the WORST. Madeline wants to go to school (for shame!) and he is like “nah, you just need to make babies, mm’kay?”

  1. i was pretty interested in Landry Park at the start of the year (that cover 0.0), until the reviews came in and i decided to wait a while. About the “Parent in YA” syndrome, it hadn’t stood out to me in the last few books I read, are authors getting slightly better at them? maybe… at least they are aware that parents should be present in the book!

    • I agree, thankfully authors seem to be taking notice that NO ONE likes that syndrome. It has gotten better recently for sure. And I know, the cover is gorgeous, and the cover for Jubilee Manor is even prettier! Sigh.

  2. Damn. 🙁 I expected so much more than this. Well, Madeline sounds okay, but the Parent-in-YA Syndrome, yay. >.< Hate it. Haha, the romance sounds…interesting. Exactly, that's what I hate about the same genre most of the time, unless they make it unique, it's just all, read, rinse, repeat. 🙁

    • Honestly, that was exactly how I felt, like I was just reading another take on the same book. It is though I am reading a retelling of the same dystopian mashup. I think I need to take a break before reading any more!

    • It was tough, because I really did want to love it. There were good parts though, and some people I know have really loved it, so it is certainly worth a shot! And like I said, it was entertaining enough even if it did have problems.

  3. I definitely agree with pretty much everything you said here. The main problem I had with this book, are the parents, and even though I could understand to a point where they are coming from, I don’t want to, you know what I mean?
    And yeah, it definitely did feel a little bit overdone, but with all the dystopia books out there, I guess it’s hard for any book to be completely original. Someone probably already did that somewhere before you even if you probably don’t know about it.

    • I agree! That is kind of the issue with dystopian these days, literally every concept HAS to have some similarities. Otherwise it wouldn’t really even be dystopian anymore. And I agree with the parent thing, those two were the WORST!

  4. Every time I see that cover and title I just think of Linkin Park. It just happens. And this is a dystopian huh? I’m kind of avoiding dystopian at the moment just because I don’t know, blah. AND WUT a love pentagon how does that even happen?

    Awesome review Shannon 😀

    • Well, they aren’t all actually in love, but they are all involved in this weird relationship. It is crazy. And I think of Linkin Park too! I am avoiding most dystopian too (which is sad, I never thought the time would come!) unless it is a series I have started and liked, because I just can’t right now. I need a breather!

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