Initial reaction: Man, a lot of rollercoaster drama in this one, but it did seem like things were tied together more than I thought it would be, at least for the major stuff (minor, not so much). I feel like this series could’ve been done in a duology really, or maybe even a single book with how prolonged the conflict was just for it to end up like this. And in the end, I feel like a lot of the issues here were palpable and realistic potentially, but the way they unfolded felt like melodrama.
I’ll give it 2 stars, but that’s about as high as I can go. I’ll meditate on it a bit and give my thoughts and reasons in the full review.
As an afterthought, I keep thinking that I’ve read better crafted storylines and characterization in Japanese josei manga than some of the New Adult stories I’ve picked up, including this one. And while sometimes the storylines can get a little crazy for events, it would feel less manipulative for emotions and drama than this series did to me. This had potential, but many times it just felt to me like it was drama for drama’s sake. At the very least, I’ve found moments to like Ryan’s writing, but I still couldn’t find a connection with this series as much as I tried to do so.
Finally finished this series, and surprisingly quickly considering I read the second and third novels back to back. “All for This” picks up right where the last book left off with a cheap cliffhanger that I saw coming from a mile away. It was even cheaper of a measure for drama than the cliffhanger ending the first book. Ugh.
I think this book did come up with some genuine surprises as to Hannah’s accident and the final five days prior to that event. At the very least, I’ll give Ryan credit for those revelations, for the writing in general, as well as the realism involved with Hannah’s ongoing pregnancy and issues pertaining to it, e.g. how Nate and Max would factor into the raising of the kids. However, I imagine this would’ve been a much shorter novel if we weren’t going back and forth between the sex scenes (again, like the last two novels – there were just too many of them and it was distracting and tedious rather than establishing the chemistry/connections between the characters) and the repetitious, sometimes very superfluous drama that occurred between the characters. It was a bit ridiculous after a time, and I mentally just said “You know what, I’m reading on to see what happens, but I honestly couldn’t care because I know this is trying to milk my emotions and I’m just not buying into it.” And that’s a problem because if the events of the novel are just throwing conflict after conflict at you and it’s not really plausible for the characters and realm of the novel – you run the risk of losing your reader. “All for This” almost lost me, but I kept reading on to see what exactly happened with Hannah up to the day of her accident and why/how she ended up with Max’s ring on her finger.
Turns out the reason was something I suspected for quite some time, but in the end, you’re still in limbo for whom she ends up going for because of other little conflicts that get thrown in the reader’s face in the narrative. Some of it was plausible, others of it I was like “Really, dude? You had to squeeze just one more conflict in there.”
I did care about Hannah’s decisions, and I wouldn’t even have been surprised if she’d ended up with neither Max or Nate because the stress alone ran her ragged in places of this novel – but it had a few moments of coming to terms that I respected for what it offered. At the same time, there were others that were kind of thrown in for quick conflict (i.e. Meredith’s particular issues and rationale for torment Hannah) that I feel weren’t treated for the seriousness they needed to have.
The ending felt a bit rushed, but the major threads of conflict promised in the series were tied up to a point where I could say it did okay for what it provided. I do think this series could’ve had more to it than what it had, but it pulled me along for the ride, even if I wasn’t necessarily happy with the journey or the character actions in the duration.
I’m going to follow Lexi Ryan’s other series to see if they strike me a little better than this one, but overall – it was just an okay series, a bit drawn out and more formulaic in the scheme of New Adult than I was hoping for.
Overall score: 2/5 stars.