Another set of reviews for books that I received through NetGalley (their being free in no way affects my opinion) – Forever at two stars, and Where You’ll Find Me at two stars as well.
Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins
Title: Forever (Temptation, #3)
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Publication date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
All I want is my happily-ever-after.
That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller.
From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation.
If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose and Noah; a family, forever.
But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.
When I requested this one, I thought it would just be a cute, fun read. Sweet romance and forbidden love. A guilty pleasure book, pretty much. But what I got was 1) a third book in a trilogy, which NG did not have any warnings about at all, and 2) a boring, cliched, unrealistic romance that seems more lust than love. Even though it was part of a series, the story was so simplistic that I wasn’t lost at all. Maybe reading the previous two books would have made me care a bit more for these characters, but I highly doubt it. Spoilers ahead since I need to give specific details for why this book fell flat for me.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the plot – there was plenty of family drama, forbidden love, culture differences, dangerous situations, and everything else I was hoping for. But it was the characters that really killed any hope for a good story that I had. Rose just seems naive and clueless, which kind of makes sense because she’s 17, but she was really annoying in how oblivious she was the entire situation. And honestly, how could you demand that the love of your life leave his family and everything he’s ever known? I thought love was about compromise… even if Noah had left the Amish anyway, I would have liked to see him do it because he wanted to, not because Rose forced him to. And then Noah was really wishy washy too – unattached to anything and thinking only of himself, not even taking a moment to consider others.
Despite all this, I plodded along till about 75%, until *here’s the spoiler* Noah’s sister was killed in a twister. It’s supposed to be a huge, dramatic turning point, but in the end it’s pointless. Sarah was the one character I actually liked, and when she died I expected Noah and Rose to find out what’s really important – the standard fare. But instead, Noah chooses HER FUNERAL to declare that he’s leaving the Amish. Like, really? That’s the moment you decide to shatter your already broken family?
After that, I only finished because I was so close to the end. But truthfully I was pretty close to DNFing. There was just nothing holding me to the story at all. The romance was shallow, the “family ties” were thin at best, and I had no connection to anything from cover to cover.
Where You’ll Find Me by Erin Fletcher
Title: Where You’ll Find Me
Author: Erin Fletcher
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods (vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn’t happen) are more traditional, but who is she to judge?
Nate doesn’t tell her why he’s in her garage, and she doesn’t tell him what she’s running from. Soon, Hanley’s trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate’s recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn’t sure which is worse: that she’s harboring a fugitive, or that she’s in love with one.
I requested this one purely because of the blurb. It sounded like a really interesting concept, and I wanted to see how the author would pull it off without being creepy. Annndd…. It didn’t take off so well. The execution was pretty shaky, and the instalove is sickening. Plus, the touch on assisted suicide felt like it was thrown in there for feels, and it cheapened the otherwise salvageable ending.
Most of my problems stem from the story being too short I think. If there had been more time to develop and stretch everything out, I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more. But, there wasn’t. Hanley accepted Nate a bit too easily – I’d have liked a bit more struggle, even if she still did let him stay in the garage. And then the insta-love was worthy of a few eye rolls. And then when Nate’s secret is revealed, I felt like it was resolved far too easily.
Hanley bothered me as well – well, any teen that only finds solace in alcohol for 75% of a book bothers me. I think it’s become a cliche in YA. Not every teen is out getting wasted at age 15. Not every teen is getting pregnant at 16. NOT EVERY TEEN IS A PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR SOCIETY. This generation is not completely hopeless, folks.
Okay, rant over.
So yes, Hanley and her poor coping skills and wanting to get all over Nate after .2 seconds bothered me. And Nate’s self pity irked me too. Granted, he had a good excuse for his issues. But those issues were given barely half a chapter for working out, and in the end they were just thrown in there and didn’t fit into the story at all.
Where You’ll Find Me had incredible promise, but between insta-love, stereotyped “screwed up” teenagers, and a happily ever after that’s too good to be true, this story didn’t even take off before it crashed.