Kindle Price: $4.99
Official Rating: 4/5
“Allyson fights acne, not trolls. As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth. When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath. Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.
When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.”
I was drawn in by the title and I thought the cover was absolutely gorgeous, although I still do not understand why there is a crown of what appears to be barbed wire around her head. Even so, I definitely wanted to take a chance on Acne Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon. It took me about two hours to read and to describe it in two words it was ‘mellow’ and ‘adventurous.’
Sometimes in fantasy (or anything with adventure in general) books, there’s a constant urgency feeling. At least, that’s how it is for me. Even though my heart-rate might be steady and normal, my mind is tense, as if I’m wading through an ocean of suspense. And you know? That can be stressful. So I liked the mellow feeling that I got from, Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon (which is hereby shortened to AAOS).
Please welcome Allyson Takata to the stage. Allyson is in high-school and extremely insecure over the acne, later learned to be scales, on her face. She hasn’t had much adventure in her life farther than evading the bullies in her school and snatching hurtling objects out of the air before they can kiss her face.
I liked Allyson. She was intelligent, courageous, and tried her best to save people who she didn’t know. Many people are insecure about acne on their faces, so I found no fault in her applying makeup. The only fault I found in her was that she was disrespectful towards her mom. Rarely has my mom been wrong about things that matter and Allyson’s blatant lack of respect towards the only parent she’s ever known, the same parent who has no doubt been trying to protect her for years (which should have been obvious to Allyson after a while), was terrible. I won’t lie and say that Allyson not having many flaws bothered me since it didn’t. Because of the pace, there wasn’t time for meticulous character development, no matter how realistic it may be. There was still character development, but it wasn’t the kind that I’m usually writing about.
I loved the relationship between Allyson and Beth. Almost every YA novel has the main character only have one best friend, but Beth didn’t feel like one best friend. Rocford didn’t write her to be the only best friend Allyson has with the sole purpose of talking about boys or filling in silence. She was genuine, real, and an amazing supportive friend. She listens to Allyson, but has opinions of her own and voices them. Allyson and Beth were the team, working together to solve a problem inside the fantasy world that Allyson was just beginning to understand. For once, it wasn’t the usual hero and heroine combo, but two best friends working together. Loved it. And that also brings me to my next point.
The love interest wasn’t truly introduced until the very end. That’s worth repeating in bold and italics. The love interest wasn’t truly introduced until the very end. Rocford introduces him as a person first, cute guy second, and romantic interest third and that made me incredibly happy. In fact, the first love interest or romantic pairing that is in the story, isn’t even for.with Allyson. How cool is that? Bonus: It wasn’t insta-love/love at first sight, but rather attraction which is completely acceptable in my opinion. You can be attracted to someone physically by merely setting eyes on them and I think that that is what happened in AASO. Hopefully the relationships become more than that and are developed if a sequel is published. Regardless, I commend Rocford for using this technique because it is unfortunately rarely used but even more fascinating.
The plot was practically concrete, sort of. It was solid and had structure, but unlike concrete, the plot of AASO had focus. Although I wish that there had been a bit more information on the actual fantasy part, for example, how shifting works or more explanation on Beth’s situation with unicorns or even just basic, but informative information on each create that Allyson encounters. Nonetheless, I was pleased that I could easily see that Rocford had put sincere thought into her writing.
Would I Recommend Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be a Half Dragon?
Quite frankly, I didn’t find anything wrong with AAOS that would ruin your experience. It’s two-hundred and thirty pages, but it felt like a short story and I liked that. The pace wasn’t rushed and I felt comfortable with how quickly I was given information and the characters that were included in this journey. However, you might not appreciate the length as much as I did if you pay five dollars for it.