Pre-read: So apparently I’m going to end up reading this because I realized, in belated measure, that I actually *own* this book. (I honestly do not remember getting this at all – I guess it was either a Kindle Freebie or I got it for .99 when it was on sale, gah).
Would be against my nature to not read it since it’s in my library, but here’s to hoping it’s better than I think it will be.
Post read: I’m having a war of ratings between my head and my gut. My gut’s telling me to rate this 1-star and unload about how much I detested the characters, the situations and the over-the-top melodrama. Not to mention the slut-shaming, the sexual harassment, the over-glorified sex-scenes, and the overarching misogyny and stupid, stupid actions of the characters. But my head’s telling me that this really wasn’t the worst NA title I’ve picked up and surprisingly, I read through this relatively quickly – I didn’t put it down in the duration of reading it (unless I had to).
I think my rating’s in limbo (it’ll be somewhere between 1 and 1.5 stars), but my thoughts on the book remain the same. It was pretty typical New Adult and I did not like the characters or the cheating measures. At least there were attempts at the characters trying to work out their issues. I just felt it was too much and unrealistic for what it had to offer. Plus so many things turned me off this that I’ve read handled better in more mature (read: in development) narratives.
Yet another disconnect: there were times when I completely forgot this was a high school story – the characters seemed much older to me.
Turns out my head won the fight on this one, but barely. This is the first book I’ve read by Abbi Glines, and from the way that “The Vincent Boys” comes across, I’m not sure if I’m going to pick up another. I wasn’t going to pick this one up originally from what some reviews had stated about the content (one of my friends even held strong comparisons of it to “Beautiful Disaster” by Jamie McGuire, which if many of you know, I had some very notable issues with that book and its respective sequel).
I think what tipped the rating in this particular case was the fact that this book kept me reading, I didn’t put it down the whole time I picked it up, and usually if it can keep my attention and hold it, it’s doing something right *somewhere*. But there a lot of things wrong about “Vincent Boys” that bothered me to heck and back, so you might as well say – the 0.5 addition to this rating was only because it had a strong audio version (which I listened to in conjunction with my free Kindle copy – the only difference between the Extended and Uncut version with the original was that it had more sexy times, and that was to the detriment of the story, imho.)
It takes place in a high school environment. Honestly, the characters seemed much older than that, particularly with the way the sexy times in this book were written. It shocked me that I kept forgetting that these characters were in high school. I guess it shouldn’t considering the major mentions of their families having control in their lives and the bullying that Ash goes through later in the book, but there was a disconnect there in that this narrative felt like it was telling the stories of much older protagonists than teenagers, to me at least.
Ashton is a preacher’s daughter, the good girl with the seemingly perfect life, perfect boyfriend, perfect grades, perfect church attendance, perfect…well just about everything. (Yeah, I know. My Mary Sue radar was skipping off the tracks MANY times.) But Ash wants to be a “bad” girl, she doesn’t think she’s being honest with herself and just wants to let loose a bit.
Normally I would be all for characters coming to terms with themselves and learning their respective life wasn’t the one they wanted and they needed to find another route, but this book was all drama. I’ll explain further.
She used to be friends with the local bad boy (Beau), who’s really close with Ash’s current boyfriend (Sawyer, who just happens to be Beau’s “cousin” if you will). When Sawyer’s away, Ash and Beau kinda…well, “hook up” is a bit of an understatement. They rekindle their friendship and become lust heavy. They jump together faster than bunny rabbits, and their characters are so intensely unlikable that I just about threw my Ipod across the room – especially with the “I can, I can’t have you, I’m jealous” go-betweens that constantly occur. When Sawyer returns, Ash and Beau do their best to keep their relationship quiet, but it’s pretty obvious to everyone, except for Sawyer, that the two are growing closer.
When the shoe finally drops, all heck breaks loose. And from there, it’s a series of dramatic go betweens that have to do with Beau, Ash, and Sawyer getting caught in the whirlwind of revelations and cruelty games.
I did see parts of this narrative that at least *attempted* to have the characters come to terms with the fact that there was a cheating relationship, that sentiments were realized and personal flaws exposed, but it felt like those were passing marks in comparison to the drama and its flares. Not to mention the many typical New Adult offenses – rampant slut shaming, sexual harassment (which at one point made the main character *cry*), bullying, misogyny, girl-on-girl hating, among other things. The religious stereotyping also really got to me in this book. It was like Glines took every possible stereotype you could have in the romantic scheme, plus added sex to the equation, and just pushed all of it into one lump of clay and tried to mold it only to come out with a sloppy result. It may have had its conflict resolution moments, but those were overshadowed by the obvious pandering towards the chosen relationship. That didn’t sit well with me at all.
I hated almost all of the characters, certainly the main three. Ash, Beau and Sawyer were incomprehensibly insufferable, but usually if I can follow a narrative where a character’s train of thought and establishments are sound, I can get behind unlikable characters. I realize that you don’t have to like the characters to like a story, I’ve picked up plenty of YA/NA books where I didn’t necessarily like the characters, but I still followed them well because their establishments were sound. In Glines’s narrative, I struggled with this. I thought there were moments where I could understand the pressures the characters were going through, but the story pulled the rug out from under me too many times with the overdrama and the obvious plot points trying to make the purported relationship work. It was manipulative. It didn’t feel realistic.
Overall, I couldn’t recommend “The Vincent Boys” – the writing itself wasn’t that strong (but admittedly it kept me reading to see what happened next), the story itself was over the top in its drama, and it just felt like it threw every cliche and every offense against the wall in New Adult that it could do, and then some. I didn’t care for it. The only reason I give it an extra 0.5 star is because the audiobook narration was decent in performance from Kirby Heybourne and Shayna Thibodeaux, and because it kept me reading throughout. It’s not the worst NA book I’ve read, but it had a lot of trigger points that rubbed me the wrong way.
Overall score: 1.5/5