First of all, I wanted to thank the author for providing me with a review copy of this book. However, I didn’t like it as much as I wish I did. It was way too cliché for my taste, and I believe some things were borderline problematic.
Author: Dallas Coryell
Publication: June 2016
My rating: ★★✩✩✩
Genre: YA, Romance
FOR OLDER READERS
Trigger Warning: Rape, Depression, Self-harm
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I am sorry if you do not agree with me. If you liked this book, though, I would love to hear your opinion in the comments!
Warning: Spoilers (because I need to get this out of my system, and I can’t do it without including spoilers, sorry not sorry)
Tegan Lockwood lives in a big mansion not far from London with her family, who rents rooms to tourists during the summer. Her parents cannot afford sending her to college, so she helps them with the chores. Her guilty pleasure is reading love letters from her ancestors, which she found in the attic of their house. She is also an artist, and loves painting as well as both playing and writing music.
Over the summer, the family hosts group after group of Singles. Except this summer is different. In addition to their usual work, they are going to host American pop star Mason Keane, who Teagan despises, especially after their first encounter when he mistakes her for a crazed fangirl. However, over the summer, the two unexpectedly realise they actually have a lot in common…
I swear I was trying to like this book, but it was way too cliché for me. And maybe I was not in the mood for romance, but overall this didn’t really click with me. I couldn’t help but notice problematic and annoying things, which prevented me from actually enjoying the story. Some may say it is a beautiful love story, but I was too busy being frustrated with pretty much everything. It also felt quite unreal to me, and that was also annoying.
At first, I was hopeful, and I quite liked Tegan. I even found her relatable. But little by little, I realised how hard for me it was to understand her. She is a frustrating character, who sacrificed her studies to help her family – which is good, don’t get me wrong – but it also becomes clear that she was scared of turning her dream into a reality. I also believe that (however great her parents are), parents should never ask their children to give up on their dreams/studies/career because of financial problems. I don’t know, it just feels wrong. And it played a quite important part in this book.
I also had a hard time understanding Ryleigh and Tegan’s relationship. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have this kind of relationship with my siblings, but it just felt like too much. I couldn’t help but think “this is not real, this is too cliché”. This whole pranking thing between them seems insane, and doesn’t seem like a healthy sisterly relationship. I didn’t enjoy it.
Moving on to something more problematic: Simon’s character, aka the gay best friend, or should I say the cliché gay dude. Of course, it is great to include diverse characters in your stories. But CLICHÉ characters are not a good representation, and are in no way good DIVERSE characters. It often felt like Simon was included just because Teagan needed a sidekick. And it is a trope we have seen over and over again. When will people realise that it is a harmful representation? We didn’t even see that much about him. And overall, what happened to him in this book? He was there to listen to Teagan whine, he got his ass kicked by a fuckboy, and when he found a boyfriend (which was definitely an interesting plot part), said mysterious boyfriend broke up with him before the reader even got to meet him. That left me really disappointed. I had several theories, and I honestly wanted to see if one of them would be confirmed…
Don’t get me started on Mason and Tegan’s relationship. First of all, the fact that they would end up together was way too predictable and obvious. Most steps of their story were predictable, in facts, including the intervention of a crazy ex-girlfriend, and the final concert. I also felt that in many points, their relationship was not a healthy one. Again, it didn’t feel real, but maybe that’s just me.
Finally, it is also mentioned that Mason has depression, and I thought that it was quite badly presented throughout the story. According to me, having depression is something that makes you fragile, and something that you hide at all cost. And cutting yourself is not a mainstream thing to do. I felt that in this book, it was mentioned to lightly, and badly introduced. It honestly makes me cringe. Mental illness is not something that should be introduced lightly, or played with as Madison did in the end (okay, I know she was a villain kind of character, but I still believe it didn’t really make sense and was harmful).
And I almost forgot to mention this: Tegan is a rape victim, an event that took place before the story, and I also believed that it is something that was taken too lightly in the plot. It is yet another example of how rape is taken too lightly in our society, and I thought it was a bad example. I’m not sure I’m saying this right, but I think it should have had a greater influence on her character, attitude, and relationship with Mason.
The writing was nice, though it may have felt a little forced sometimes, and I still struggled to finish this book, obviously because of all the reason stated above.
My, I feel kind of bad for writing such a review but I feel like I had to. This book left me angry sometimes, and I had to say it. I’m sorry, this book just didn’t work for me.