As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family's kitchen slave Cosette. When, at sixteen, the girls' paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they've both fallen for the same boy (from Goodreads).
For the most part, I knew what I was getting myself into with this book. It already sounded a bit stupid, a bit too childish to really add to Eponine's back story. But I read it, just to give it the chance it deserved.
It wasn't bad, per say. The writing wasn't too complex, but that's probably cause it's for a younger audience than I had thought at the time of purchase. The subject is quite mature, so I had assumed it would be middle of the road in the YA age range but it really didn't seem it to me. The story is mostly Eponine contemplating her life, so reads like an extended novella/character study. The story fleshes out Eponine's backstory slightly, but not in a way that was necessary to my mind. Poor girl just had one bad thing after another happen to her. If it had been explored with a wiser voice, it could have been rather haunting how shit her life was, how her parents broke her.
What I was hoping was there to be more of a focus on Eponine's teenage years. Too much of the book was focused on her early childhood, and her travels with her family to Paris. Eponine and her time in Paris was always the most interesting part of her story, particularly in the stage production. This book missed that heartbreak, missed channeling that pain and devastation as she allows the boy she loves, the only thing she has ever allowed herself to want for a very long time, to go off and find the girl he loves. Eponine's story is very tragic, with a terrible ending; this book could have been more than it was.
I was also very annoyed to realise how little the rest of the characters in the Les Mis universe were in it. Her parents played a big part, as did her sister Azelma. Marius, when he finally showed up, was around a little bit but was just mostly spoken about. The revolutionaries Marius was associated with showed up only at the end, and it was rather ambigious whether or not Eponine had really know them in other formats of her characters the readers would have seen. Chances are not many young adult readers would have read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and all its 1500 pages. I haven't been able to read it the whole way through myself. So more could have been done with this; Eponine could have known them, learnt about friendship and their cause from them, instead of simply meeting them twice. They all could have played a part in shaping her, teaching her.
So sadly, this book just had so much wasted potential. It was a very easy, quick read but I don't think it added anything to Eponine. In fact it makes her more pathetic than she needed to be.