Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review: Foreplay

Title: Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles #1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
Page Count: 294
My Rating: 2.5 TURTLES: An okay read. It had its ups and downs, more downs though. Probably don't recommend.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real

I was kind of going back and forth with what I should rate this one. At the time I was reading it, I enjoyed it enough to give it 3 or maybe even 3.5 stars, but after I finished and thought back on it, I realized that it was super trope-y and the nagging feeling I had about the main character the whole time was annoyance.

Now I know there has been some debates on the interwebs about the fact of reviewers dissing "unlikable characters", some parties saying that not all people are likable, that the purpose of literature is not necessarily to please the audience, etc., etc,. I don't disagree with this, I adore One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest even though I have never wanted to reach into pages and strangle a character as much as I wanted to strangle Nurse Ratched. Heck, the BBC's Sherlock Sherlock is a total a-hole a solid 90% of the time,and yet I still love the character and the show as I love the book The Great Gatsby even though I can't think of a single character in it that I "like". Despite all this I will say that part of the reason I didn't enjoy this book was because I disliked the main character, Pepper, so much. More than anything because it was the traits and decisions that made me not like her that drove the plot. Pepper struck me as extremely shallow and immature. She wants to learn some moves with a random guy, Reece, and once she knows what she is doing, she will go sweep the boy she's been in love with since childhood off his feet. She has this idea of what her perfect life will be and goes after it, even once she has fallen for Reece. The reason the author gives Pepper for this behavior is a troubled past and her need for safety and security, which makes sense. But what really made this a kicker though was the fact that Pepper was studying to become a therapist and yet she had extraordinarily little awareness or insight. She acknowledges that the reason she craved to be with Hunter, the man she'd known since she was twelve was his safety and functional family, but stops short of realizing that her fantasy of her perfect life with him is a fallacy and ultimately will not singlehandedly remove all her problems. The raging feminist in me didn't dig the whole "I need a safe man to make me feel like I've put my past behind me" thing. 
My second major complaint: N/A tropes everywhere

I haven't read a million New Adult Novels, but I bet it's safe to assume that if I've read 5-10 that have certain elements that are constant throughout, and if some of them have plots that are so similar that it is spooky, these similarities fall into the trope/formula category. Oftentimes the heroine has some sort of trauma and while being more innocent and quiet, the lead guy is drop dead gorgeous and the heroine can't figure out why the guy is so into her. Later it turns out the guy has a troubled past too. Something angsty happens that causes them to break up - sometimes more than once - but some event, whether the climax of the plot or not, brings them back together and they are madly in love. Add in a few quirky best friends of the heroine who generally have more relationship experience than she does and poof! you have your standard contemporary New Adult novel. The first time I read that story I enjoyed it, but if I read a repackaged version several times it starts to get old.

I really wanted to like this book, but when I finished I felt very meh. There were things that had bothered me throughout, but not enough to actively dislike the book. It was after I'd finished that I realized the extent of the issues I had with the it. I've enjoyed the majority of the N/A that I've read, so it is not the genre in and of itself. But it was a combination of Pepper annoying me and the feeling that I'd read the same book before as well as other smaller things that prevented me from really getting into it. If you love N/A I would recommend this book to you, but otherwise I might point you elsewhere. Needless to say I won't be reading the sequel.

Check this book out on Amazon

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