Review: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer


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Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?

Rating: 2 Stars

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately that have this thing where they decide not to give you a solution to their plot line, even though they have potentially good elements. Add this to the list of potentially good books that let me down for just such a reason, as well as disappointing writing.

I thought that the premise sounded good, but that the writing left a lot to be desired. I found myself skimming large portions of it because the writing was very dull. I wanted to rip my hair out from how slow things were going. The fact that I could skim these bits and still follow the story line proved to me how superfluous they really were. The multiple points of view did not help with this problem. They felt really extraneous because there were so many of them: Quinn, her father, her boyfriend, a potential hookup, one or two of the believers that flock to her doorstep, etc. It’s unusual to have so many points of view that work successfully; I can only think of one instance (Sandy Hall’s A Little Something Different – 15 different points of view and it was fun!). In The Inconceivable Life of Quinn, they all felt like too many voices pulling at what little plot there was and stretching it even thinner.

The book also felt like it was conflicted as to it’s identity. Primarily written as a novel that takes place in a strictly realistic setting, there were magical realism elements that didn’t get introduced in-depth until too late. Was this intentional or was it an unconscious switch? It felt like a roller coaster jerk in storytelling styles in a somewhat unpleasant manner.

The mythology of the Deeps sounded like it could have been really neat if it had been developed as an actual real thing, rather than something that might or might not have been real and that 95% of the characters thought was just a children’s story.

The ending was murky, as we never get a solution to the primary questions of the novel, something that has been infuriating me lately with novels. There are huge setups and no payoffs in the end? That amped up the feeling of frustration I was experiencing through the book. I don’t think I’ll be trying any more of this author’s work because, while her idea might have sounded appealing, the execution of it was not to my liking and would push something potentially more worthy further down or completely off my TBR list.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

  1. Completely agree with everything in your review, I ended up skimming the last 30% because I just wanted it to be OVER I feel like I didn’t miss out on any huge reveals either while skimming, you could probably merge the first 50 pages, 10pg from the middle and then the last 20 pages together and get the same book.


  2. I’ve only seen disappointed reviews for this tbh. 😦 That’s such a shame, but agh it sounds really frustrating?! And I also like when books have no message/conclusion. It feels like the story just gets lost and has no idea what to do so just skips town and leaves the reader to make up whatever they want. Which is okaaaay but not really the point of a book I think. 😂 The cover is super pretty though!!


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