I sell children's books for a living, and read almost nothing but. The first does not necessarily cause the second, as books for children and teens are better than anything in the world.
it is hard for a book to live up to its hype if said hype is massive, and Half Bad falls into that category.
Green is a fantastic wordsmith, and has created some compelling characters, but the world building--so crucial to this sort of story--falls flat. I never felt like I learned enough about anyone or anything, except for Nathan (the main character)--and everything you learn about him is relentlessly awful. There are maybe five cheerful pages in the entire book, and even those have an awful sense of foreboding hanging over them.
I kept waiting and waiting and waiting to find out about something and something never happened. Green seems to set you up for twists and betrayals that never happen. Maybe these things happen in book two, but I really needed SOMETHING to break in book one.
She really is a terrific writer. Very atmospheric. I guess that's why the film rights sold so quickly? But I'm missing something that lots of others are seeing. I didn't realize that until I had finished it, and it think that's because I listened to it and the audiobook narrator was flipping fantastic. I think if I'd tried to read this in physical form I might have put it down partway through.