by Colleen Hoover
Summary: Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.Warning: This is one of those weird reviews that has a positive rating but the review doesn't seem particularly positive - I tried to fix that, but couldn't, sorry.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
In the beginning, I didn't like this book. I'd seen so many people gush about how awesome it is, so many 5 star ratings of it, and I kept turning the pages wondering what they were all talking about because I was just totally indifferent to most of the story, kind of disliked the main character, was bothered by the romance and thought the writing was irritating.
When I say the "beginning" - it took until about 150-200 pages (it's somewhere over 300 long), for those feelings to really change, and when those things stopped bugging me and I started enjoying the story, the plot got very soap opera-ish.... but I was okay with reading that (perhaps because I have an unhealthy addiction to the Australian soaps, Neighbours and Home and Away, so I can handle those kinds of plot lines).
I didn't like the insta-love that was going on, and couldn't really figure out why Will would even like Lake so much - she didn't come across as anything special and was pretty damn annoying and childish at times and just... I didn't get it. But somewhere along the way, I started liking it and I'm not even entirely sure why that was, but my opinion by the end of it, if I just went by how much I enjoyed the story overall instead of factoring in all the things that bugged or bored me, I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars (factoring in the negatives, it lowers to about 3 stars...first part of the book, the bit I referred to as the beginning even though it was about half the book, that bit alone, I'd rate 2.5 stars - so yeah, kind of mixed feelings but I went with 4 because I think enjoyability overall matters more).
I liked Willl and I loved the relationship he had with his little brother. Same with Lake, she bugged me a lot throughout the book but I really liked the way she was with her little brother, it was sweet and one of the main things in the book that kind of redeemed her as a character.
The grief in the book - her dad died the same way mine did, so that should've gotten under my skin and it just didn't. The way it was written felt so hollow, I wasn't convinced by it at all, it made me feel absolutely nothing (when it's done right, it'll hurt - I'm reading a Sarah Dessen book now too, barely a few chapters in and it already had me crying, and it's not even for the character entirely, it's just that I related to what she was going through so much that it made me remember the worst of those feelings all over again). But there was one scene later, that I can't mention details of without giving spoilers, that did manage to make me cry - it just wasn't the dad thing.
I wasn't the biggest fan of the poetry (although, the one called Schooled - I loved that one) - it may be because it's supposed to be slam poetry and so the impact it could have had, should have had, was kind of lost because it wasn't being said out loud with all the emotion poured into it but just the written version? Wasn't fond of most of it.
...This review seems more positive than negative, but that's because I genuinely don't know what it was that turned the tides for me and made me go from not really liking the book much to giving it a 4 star rating, I just know that I enjoyed it and I'm glad I read it (so much so that I will probably buy a physical copy of the book when it's out to have on my shelves - I read the e-book version).
I guess that's all I have to say.
p.s. Will and Lakes last names were Cooper and Cohen... The OC flashbacks. =P