There are so many people taking advantage of the possibility of self publication through Amazon that it would be impossible to read even a fraction of the novels that are now seeing the light of day. It’s also true that the majority of those novels are less than ready for prime time. But there are some great novels, as well, and this one took me by surprise.
I thought this would be one of the many young adult love-struck dismayed-by-love will-it-ever-work-out novels, and in fact, I have to admit that that impression stayed with me for until the half-way mark. Who is that boy? Why is he looking at me? He’s got a reputation but he’s so cute. What to do?
And more of the same. Sweet? Yes. Too sweet? Some may think so. Not badly written, mind you, but predictable. Nothing to set it apart … until the author turned on the plot.
I have a lot of experience with fiction — not just reading it, but writing it and publishing it, as well. And teaching it. It’s pretty rare that I don’t see a plot device in the offing, but that’s what happened here. I was truly surprised by the twist in the plot, and it was a good surprise.
The thing is, it takes a long time to get to that twist, almost too long. I might have given up before I got there, if I had had something else to read and if insomnia hadn’t kept me turning the page.
The other problem, and it’s an understandable one for somebody who hasn’t been writing fiction for a long time, is the inclination to make everything work without seams. That is, it all fits together too neatly. What happened to one person happened to other people, and it all came together in a way that feels at least a little contrived. Then it all gets resolved in a way that’s a little too quick and clean and convenient.
I’m not going to be more specific here because I really don’t want to give anything at all away, but if you’ve read it, you will almost certainly know what I’m talking about.
If you haven’t read it and you like relationship stories that veer off into the unexpected, then you will probably like this. I certainly did. Here’s the proof: I’ve given it four stars, despite the flaws, because it’s better than the three star (or even two star) story I was sure it was going to be for a long time.
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