Celerity /sɪˈlɛrɪti/ noun [mass noun] archaic or literary
Swiftness of movement.
ORIGIN late 15th cent. : from Old French celerite, from Latin celeritas, from celer ‘swift’
[Oxford English Dictionary]
Celerity is in her first year at UCLA, hoping to earn a track scholarship for her second. She ran track for her school, and now she runs for the university, but here she’s not the best. She’s come as far as she can with the self-help tapes and high school coach, but she’s hit a wall – always the bridesmaid and never the bride.
When her father dies, she moves back to the house she’d shared with him as a child. He’d been an explorer and a botanist, forever shooting off to one tropical jungle or another, but most recently he’d been spending a lot of time in the jungles of the Darién Gap. When Celerity checks to see what he was last working on, she finds that he’s destroyed his research and left strict instructions for her not to try to follow on with his work. She doesn’t listen.
He’d also tried to destroy his plant samples but missed a tiny seedling, leading her out to the Darién in the search for something that can help her breakthrough her wall and into the big league where she belongs. She forgets that every silver lining has a cloud.
The idea behind this book is a decent one, but it has two major problems. Firstly, the protagonist is thoroughly unlikeable. Not in an unlikable-but-interesting way, but in a complete brattish, I-want-so-I-get way. I spent most of the story wanting to slap her and send her to her room. Her only true redeeming feature is her dog.
My second major problem is the format of the book. We start at the end and then the rest is told mostly through found footage from a diary she’s kept. I get that this format was new and interesting at some point in the past, but it’s been absolutely done to death.
I do actually have a third issue, but it’s a spoiler, so I’ll keep it for the end of my Goodreads review where I can hide it, and let readers decide if they want to read it. It’s probably not a major problem for most people, or even a slight one, but it hit my pedant bone.
All in all, Celerity is an average read, which is a shame. It could have been a lot more.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.