Quick review for a quick read. Well…having finished this book, I figure I’m this far into the series that I might as well finish it, but this book was the weakest book in the series thus far for me and it doesn’t inspire confidence that I’m going to like how this series ends. Several issues plagued this novel which didn’t strike me well.
1. Pacing for the novel was off on several counts. The first 60% of this book dragged itself far too much for me to feel as invested as I wanted to be. Granted, it took place over the course of several days in New York, but much of it was repetitious tensions and sex between the main characters. I wish that the plot progression had been more than that, but in retrospect, that’s all it was. Then there’s a huge time jump of four years where the connectivity of the characterization was lost – much of the pivotal (and contentious) plot points happened offscreen. (When you have a character that experiences something as horrible as what Tiffany does, it shouldn’t happen offscreen just to further the relationship between the purported ship. I’m still vexed.) The execution of this was clunky and threw me out of the story more than once.
2. One step forward, and five steps back into the cliche of New Adult. I thought this series would be different and I was completely wrong. I could believe that many of the events in this novel would happen in real life, truth. That’s not so much the issue as much as the way the presentation came across. The excessive angst, the repetitious focus, the gradual evolution of the New Adult hero who amounts to nothing more than being an utter douchebag that I could never root for, especially given how he hurts the women in his life over and over again. Why the ever loving heck would I ever consider Manning a book boyfriend of any kind after the events of this book (and arguably through much of this series)? This needy, greedy, selfish, no-good shaming brute deserves the worst leaving two women (who admittedly have their own palpable flaws, but at least they seem to have grown as characters over the course of the story) utterly devastated. Him spending pages upon pages brooding and lamenting over his actions isn’t apt to change my mind on seeing him repent.
3. Angst: I think the meditations and brooding of the characters were a little too long and much for the scope of this story. Combined with the way the pacing worked in this book – I could see where the narrative struggled to get the momentum going and kept rehashing things that didn’t need repetition. I could (somewhat) forgive the naivete of the characters in the first two books of this series, but at least it seemed like they were self aware of the issues surrounding them, having some wiggle room for growth. You could argue that there was character growth in this book, but it’s told more than shown. This book was drama heaped upon drama interspersed with cultural references that felt more shoehorned into the book than the previous books. I couldn’t really get behind the book because it felt heavy-handed to me. As for the book ship, it was shipped so hard that I think it wasn’t designed with an anchor in mind. (Pun fully intended.) Lake and Manning are the purported couple of this series, yes, but I didn’t deserve to be beat over the head with it.
In the end, I probably wouldn’t pick up this particular book in the series again. I’m curious enough to finish the series, but the execution of this book didn’t appeal to me at all, lending more to cliches and uneven presentation than giving heart to some of the themes it gives light to. Shame, because there were things in here that I felt had spark, but there wasn’t much of a chance to truly see or feel them.
Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.