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Not what I had expected...
on August 19, 2014
-Possible spoilers ahead-
I just couldn't get into this book. I found myself struggling to complete it simply because I purchased it so I was going to finish it no matter what. I was torn between giving it two stars or three stars. There were moments in this book that were really great. But the main problem I had with this book is one that simply cannot be overcome, and that is the fact that I just did not care about the main character.
I cannot even recall what Emma supposedly looks like, besides having brown hair and almond shaped eyes - the latter I found out in the last quarter of the book. I'm not one for dwelling on a person's appearance but it would have been nice to have something to go on. I can't even visualize her because there is nothing to visualize. She is a void. She is supposedly breathtakingly attractive but doesn't know it (oh great another heroine with this complex) and every guy in the book wants to get in her pants. She is also amazingly smart and a superior athlete. She also has this uncanny ability to "blend in" but in every scene everyone in the school is watching her every move and she is always the topic of gossip. So apparently she's like a princess or something? I haven't been in high school in awhile but I'm pretty sure not even the prom queen has so many eyes on her watching and dissecting her every move. It was just a little annoying is all. Every place Emma went there were the same faceless people watching her and talking about her. I don't know about you but if that went on in my high school I would be more than a little creeped out.
It wasn't just Emma that I felt lacked dimension. All the guys in the book were interchangeable to me. They were all the same. Drew sounded like Jay who sounded like Evan who sounded like Jared and so forth. Although the main male protagonist Evan was definitely more detailed than Emma for sure. I could at least picture him, and I liked him as a character overall. It was hard to believe that he would want to continue to try to get to know Emma after being told off so many times but you have to give him points for his persistence.
I also enjoyed Sara's character. Again not too much to go on with her besides her having fiery red hair and a bubbly personality. Oh and she likes parties. There isn't too much backstory on how exactly she became best friends with the so-called "outcast" of the school Emma. I felt like knowing some of that would make their friendship more believable.
But back to Emma. Besides not being able to picture her I just couldn't root for her in the story. Aside from the brutal abuse she endured at the hands of her aunt of course. The basic premise behind her staying with her abusive aunt and nonchalant uncle was for her cousins sake. Wait, what? Even if I was a teenager I would have rethought that one. Her aunt Carol is a psychopath plain and simple. If she beats you to a bloody pulp over and over who is to say that she won't eventually do it to her own children when they get up in age? But instead you found it wise to let those poor children stay in a psychopath's house? I couldn't get behind this storyline just because I kept thinking this while I was reading it. I could understand it if maybe Emma was traumatized and kept thinking that maybe her aunt would change or something but nope. Emma knew she wasn't going to change and the author definitely didn't make Emma out to have some sort of psychological issue to explain her behavior. Again I believe the author wanted to get the point across that Emma was nothing but an empty shell devoid of emotion. Well you definitely made me believe that.
I don't know about anybody else but it felt to me that the scenes and stories that I wanted to hear about the author would gloss over in a sentence or two. Like Emma's trip to California for example. There was no description of the event. I felt like there should have been more to it, and that goes for many would-be scenes in the book. After awhile the book just became a flurry of random parties mixed in with one fancy party. Basically all that took place was lots of staring at Emma and random drunk guys hitting on her. I wish there had been different characters in this book. Not characters with all the same personality who are rich and apparently have amazing mansions. The author had no trouble describing furniture for paragraphs on end. I glossed over these parts. I would have loved detailed descriptions of the characters but instead we get the author going on and on about how amazing the furniture was. Whatever works for you.
Basically I was reading this book to see if Carol was going to get hers in the end. I knew this book was the start of a series however so I figured I wasn't going to get that satisfaction. I got about halfway through this book thinking I might buy the next one purely for that reason. But I have to be honest with myself and know that I just didn't care for this book. I'm usually not hard to please with books either. I saw the high ratings for this book but I wish I had read some of the reviews before purchasing. Just not my cup of tea overall. The book even ends with a cliffhanger and I have no urge to buy the next book. Pretty sad.