Patty: Confession time. I picked this one based on one fact and one fact only: a reviewer wrote “LUVD it!” and I choked on one of the M&M’s I was eating because “LUVD”? SERIOUSLY? So I jumped on my prejudice wagon and told Katie that I felt this one was RIPE for snark and gifs.
But things didn’t work out quite how I expected…
Katie: Shaw, our heroine, is pretty much perfect. Smart, excellent student, wealthy, polite, kind to children and old people (actually, I don’t know that because she doesn’t interact with any, but one assumes.), and, of course, jaw-droppingly beautiful. She’s been in love with Rule since she was 14. She even makes sure he gets to his family’s awkward Sunday brunches every week, even if it means she has to pull him out of some skanky ho’s bed. She turns 20 during the book.
Rule, the hero, seems almost completely unaware of her as a person beyond the fact that she was his deceased twin brother’s girlfriend. Except she wasn’t – they didn’t have that kind of relationship. Rule is pretty much a walking fuck you (Bad attitude, aggressive appearance, Mohawk that constantly changes colors, heavily tattooed and pierced, etc.), but deep inside he’s just a grieving kid that wants his parents to love and accept him for who he is. He’s 22ish.
Shaw’s parents are pretty much the worst, and keep pushing her to be perfect (or at least perfect in their eyes) by holding the threat of not paying her tuition to the University of Denver any longer. (Which I call BULLSHIT on. If she’s that amazing a student, seems like she’d have all kinds of academic scholarships available.)
Actually, Rule’s mom may be the worst. She flat out tells him it’s his fault his brother died and that she wishes he’d been the one to die instead. Needless to say, the brunches come to an end after that little bomb is dropped.
Patty: Everyone’s problems in this book stem from dysfunctional family dynamics – as if being 20something wasn’t enough of an emotional burden on its own – and quite frankly, matricide would have been a quick way to resolve 99% of the problems that festered in this story.
Patty: Everyone has legitimate baggage and everyone is completely aware and able to verbalize said baggage. There is none of that annoying miscommunication-cum-misunderstanding trope, which was a relief.
Katie: The parents just seemed to be such extremes, and Shaw’s ex-boyfriend that was such obvious bad news felt almost like wasted plot line. It almost would’ve been more surprising to have him turn out to be harmless if socially awkward. Instead, he was this guy.
Patty: Personally, New Adult is not my preferred genre, but that’s a subjective thing… not really something I should use use in the “Con” category. Having said that, for me, the characters were too mature, too reasonable and too rationally introspective for me to swallow as being in their early twenties. Yes, I know there are uber-mature 20-year olds, I’ve just never met any with quite the level of awareness with regards to their lack of shit-togetherness as this crew.
Katie: The NA genre in general is not my cup of tea, although there have been a couple of exceptions (h/t to emmalita and Mrs. Julien for recommending certain selections by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen, but not all of their books.). I’ve tried to figure out what my issue is, because I DON’T have the same problem with YA fiction. Rule is one I’m kind of on the fence about. If they’d just removed the school subplot and made the characters 8-10 years older, I’d probably have liked it a great deal. I just didn’t buy this, with these characters at this point in their lives. I know it’s a romance novel, and that there is supposed to be a suspension of disbelief, but this one just asks too much.
Patty: Also, there was no humor, no levity to offset the heavy drama.
Katie: YES. Humor was completely lacking, and it was sorely needed. Maybe THAT’S why I’m having trouble snarking on this one.
Patty: Totally. I can’t LUV if there is no LULZ.
Katie: and, because we couldn’t have a review with that title without any reference to Archie and Edith…