Friday, September 7, 2012

Apologies Not Included / Angela S. Choi

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Coming-of-Age

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

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A lawyer turned novelist, Angela Choi lives in San Francisco. She has one other novel available, Hello Kitty Must Die. For more, visit her website


“Eighteen-year-old Abigail Lin is smart, talented, and utterly miserable. Her everyday life is scarred by a crippling and secret compulsion. But Abigail is not alone in her unhappiness among the best and brightest. Her classmates Sophia Santos and David Wendler have demons of their own. Sophia is lost halfway between wakefulness and sleep, while David wrestles with a food addiction and a lethal erotic obsession.

Except the handsome, privileged, and successful Ethan Lambert seems to have it all — until his behavior takes a bizarre and disturbing turn. Disillusioned and disappointed, these four students are drawn together just as their lives are about to spiral out of control. Will their friendship be enough to guide them through the turbulence of their college years? Or will they succumb to the pressures and neuroses that threaten their sanity and their very lives?”


The coming-of-age story can work in almost any genre, since a story, if it is to be interesting to the reader, has to have conflict or challenges, and the coming-of-age story is all about overcoming and learning from difficulties while transitioning to the next level of maturity. Set in college, which is a natural location and time of life for this story type, I found Apologies Not Included a fun and entertaining read. The four main characters, two of whom drive the story lines that justify calling this a thriller or suspense novel, are vastly different in background and attitudes. Each has qualities both sympathetic and not, with the protagonist, Abigail, having plenty of chances to watch, experience, and learn. If you like coming-of-age stories, this is a good one.

One minor nit I had was that the college in the story had some qualities, including location, that led me to believe I know what school it was. To be fair, there are multiple colleges and universities in New Haven, CT. Maybe my guess is wrong. But the author avoids giving the school a name, referring to it as “the college” or other generic terms. Avoiding giving the name of the university she was thinking of (going so far as to not name it in her bio while mentioning she went to college in the same town) seemed silly and contrived.


Some adult language and mild sexual content.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of typos and proofing errors.

Rating: **** Four stars

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