There’s a part of me that debated writing a review for this book at all considering the majority of this is just rehashed material from the first book with little new offerings. How do you write a review on a book in which the majority just copy/pasted material with some reworkings from a different perspective character of another novel? It’s one thing if maybe it was a novella telling some slightly different perspective points but still offering new insights, or if it were a short story capturing a single segment in time – which were both alternatives Hoover could’ve perused if she wanted to continue with Will’s perspective point, I think. I have no doubt that would’ve been something I picked up, even if I didn’t care so much for the first two books in this series. With “Slammed”, while I didn’t care for the story, I still appreciated what it offered and I understood why people liked the story – I just expected more from it. “Point of Retreat” was shaky because Will’s voice didn’t sound like an authentic male voice to me and much of it was one point of drama and odd events to the next.
But this? This was lazy. I hate saying it, or saying something about anyone else’s writing which various people can find value even with its qualms, but I think someone has to. I’m being about as blunt and honest about it as I can be.
This was a lazy effort and not worth the time taken to read. I’m extremely disappointed in reading “This Girl”. I know Hoover can do a better work than this and this feels like it was just released to ride on the coattails of popularity this series has spawned. There’s very little, if anything truly *new* about this book, and the material that is considered new? Not worth the retracing. Apart from honeymoon scenes where Lake and Will retread over their meeting and coming to terms with each other, this had very little weight to it. Some new poems and some intermittent sex scenes do not make for a compelling story. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t at all. Lake doesn’t show much growth (after all, she gets jealous and angry over things that happened in the PAST and are being retold to her when she practically begs Will to tell her anyway – and that’s taken for an actual point of substantiated conflict. Really?!). And for a perspective character, Will’s narration is extremely whiny, lust heavy, and NOT an authentic male voice. At all. I think it’s safe to say that with this third book written in a male voice in Hoover’s bibliography, her weakness is writing from male character perspectives.
If I wanted to pick up reading “Slammed” again, I – among many other readers – probably would’ve had no qualms about doing so and letting Will’s thoughts be left in mystery (part of the beauty of a piece of writing is letting some stuff be to the reader’s imagination) – much of it is implied in the first book, it didn’t need a retracing. This didn’t feel like a full enough story to be retold in the way it was and it was just a waste of time having to backtrack through all of that just to cherry pick whatever new experiences Will had to offer in the narrative. It was tedious and a chore to read, probably even moreso than my recent reading of “Losing Hope” – which is a retelling of Hoover’s hero Holder from the “Hopeless” series. I would actually give Hoover credit for attempting to develop Holder the way she did in that, because in comparison, “This Girl” didn’t do anything at all to expand upon Will’s character or any of the other characters it presented – the side characters were threadbare at best.
I don’t know if I can say more than that, really. It was a quick read for me, because much of this I already knew – been there, done that, deja vu. It’s not worth my time or money to spend on something that’s does nothing to expand on a story that’s already been told, and I have to be firm on that. And I’m sure there are others – even fans of the first two books – who would feel the same way and be just as disappointed in this effort.
Overall score: 0 stars.
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Atria Books.