My rating: 2 of 5 stars
My second read from Ava Catori turned out a little better than the first, but I’ll admit that despite the potential in the story, the problem in this had more to do with the execution of the prose and backtracking in telling details than anything else.
The story revolves around Candice (Candy), a young woman moving up the real estate ladder and trying to hold onto the life she’s built for herself. She’s dealt a hard blow when Ryan, the boy who lost his virginity to her in high school, runs into her. Alongside citing her painful nickname, he rekindles frustrations about Candy’s life that she rather would’ve left in the past. The narrative delves into her insecurities and explains not only her troubled home life, but her struggles to get to the place she eventually reached in her respective position. Ryan and Candy navigate a rough road of ups and downs in their relationship, and while the progression of the *ideas* of the story were sound, the way it was presented didn’t really make the most of the characterizations, the flow of the story, or the intimacy with respect to the emotional resonance of the story. I really wanted to connect more with Candy, but it was difficult to do so when it felt like paragraph after paragraph dumped telling information rather than showing her actions, reactions, and history in dialogue among other measures.
I thought the story was okay, with some problematic turns (Candy’s self “slut-shaming” was disheartening, as per example), but I think it could’ve been better if the narrative had brought out more development of the characters and emotional turns via a more intimate narrative.
Overall score: 2/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.