I'm going to go more into detail about this book later but I thought it was fairly good. I wasn't too happy with the epilogue but the final product wa...moreI'm going to go more into detail about this book later but I thought it was fairly good. I wasn't too happy with the epilogue but the final product was mid-satisfactory.(less)
CONS: → Repetition, repetition, repetition! → Poor sentence structure. → Odd character development. → Poor plot direction; lack of fluidity. → Jack is a jackass (pun intended), Lou used to be fat and is now attractive because she's skinny, and everyone is a gorgeous, shallow movie star. → Horribly cliched and unbelievable compared to her other works. → Stick to reading the back of the book; it's better than the actual novel anyway.
COMMENTS: I haven't read very many compared to other people but I love Meg Cabot's works. She is one of the best at the craft in the genre. It's her genre. However, this book fell short in terms of writing style. Before I get flamed, know that it's not because of the genre change in that it becomes more action-packed and more mystery-filled. No, that's not the case at all. Cabot's Size 12 Is Not Fat series, even though I've only finished the first book, was delicious to gobble up and it's become a favorite of mine. This one, I'm sad to say, was far from that.
I now understand why it's easier for Cabot to write in email/text/diary format. Like I said before, she did well with The Heather Wells series and it wasn't written like so. Was it necessary to keep reminding the reader that Jack Townsend was handsome? Or that he was an action-adventure movie megastar? Or that he ad-libbed a line in Lou Calabrese's movie? Or that Lou and Jack's exes ran off together? Or that Lou wrote a screenplay for her ex? Or that they each won an Academy Award? Or that Jack was in this movie and that movie? All of these weren't repeated just two or three times. Oh no. It had to have been at least fifty times from start to finish. Each. I can flip to almost any page and you can bet there would be something about the aforementioned, if not on that page, then definitely the next. We get it! Lou looks like a brown-eyed Karen Gillan and Jack looks like a blue-eyed Hugh Jackman. These are the images of them I have ingrained into my brain because Cabot wouldn't stop reminding the reader that Lou has tufts of red hair and long legs and that Jack has a rugged look and a nice ass (along with other features for both). But even that couldn't save it because it was so irritating. I resisted the urge to throw the book across the room because it was so repetitive.
I also felt like the characters were sometimes flat, especially the minor characters. Vicky was supposed to be Lou's best friend but it didn't feel that way. As the reader, her behavior and attitude read to me like she didn't care about Lou nor her well-being at all. Hell, Tim Lord's kid and Frank's kid had more personality than 90% of the other characters did. And they only showed up once. The more major characters would ask themselves the most ridiculous questions that a 6-year-old could answer and then start rambling. If there's anything I hate more, it's needless rambling in books. Rambling combined with repetition just made it seem, to me, like the author had nothing else to talk about. Including the repetition, there was a lot of sentence interruption. I don't know the formal term for it. An example: "'If we get out of this alive,' [/LONG RAMBLING], 'I am going to kill you myself.'" There were A LOT of these and unnecessarily so. The dialogue could have been written as one and it would have been fine. It felt like someone or something was constantly disrupting the character's thought process.
I mentioned that Jack was a jackass (which will be explained in a sec). I also hate that Lou used to be a fat girl and is now an attractive, skinny woman and how Cabot reminded the reader that fat is unattractive. Uh, hello? Heather Wells is calling. She wants her story plot back. I'm glad Cabot wrote her Heather Wells series. Maybe she thinks differently about plus-size women but she did very wrong with Lou and her insecurity about body image. You can read the rest of my thoughts on Jack and Lou here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
There were also perspective changes. I love perspective changes when they're done right. Usually, there's a pattern of some sort and some indication that there will be perspective changes. There was NONE with this book. I was extremely confused when the perspective changed the next chapter, I had to go back and read the beginning of the second chapter several times. Where it says "script" and it has an image of a stack of papers, they should have done that when it changed to Lou's perspective because she's a screenwriter and use other clip art to indicate it had changed to another character's point of view. In the middle of the book, it was as if Cabot had forgotten she had written it in other characters' point of view. At one point, it was all Lou's perspective, then one chapter of Jack's perspective, and a random perspective from the detective, and then back to Lou for the next five chapters. It was a very poor way of shifting perspectives.
I also felt like Cabot had completely forgotten there was an actual mystery plot afoot (lol I always wanted to say that XD). She kept dabbling on the characters' romances (even the minor characters) and it came to the point where there were fewer puzzle pieces to put together about the attempted murder as the reader gets closer and closer to the end. It was as if she'd forgotten someone was trying to kill Jack, suddenly remembered, and then plugged in a random explosion/gunfire here and there to remind the reader that someone was trying to kill him only to repeat the process all over again. I wish there was better flow with this.
To conclude, the premise was great and the sex was great. I wish the sex weren't so censored but American evangelicals would troll her for it because they're still puritanical. Still think she should have written it all out anyway. It is an adult novel. Oh well! Like I said, those two were great but the writing style really needed working on. I also hate how Lou's badassness was reduced to jelly in the end. I felt like Lou became a completely different person and that there was no more chemistry between she and Jack, especially because the build-up for the end was one of the cheesiest things I had ever read. I wanted to see some witty sarcasm from Lou and there was nothing which was really disappointing.
All in all, I'd only recommend you read it if you love Meg Cabot and plan on reading all her works. I understand she was writing a lot while she wrote this, what with several series like The Princess Diaries, Shadowland, When Lightning Strikes, All-American Girl, and several other novels in the works. She Went All the Way seemed like more of a great idea she had to jot down before she forgot rather than an actual book. There was so much Cabot could have done with this and it was all shot to hell. This novel would probably do well as a film adaptation because you can't see the character's erratic and annoyingly repetitive thought processes. Otherwise, I strongly recommend her Heather Wells series if you want a light, mystery-crime-action novel speckled with romance and humor.
/tl;dr - read her Heather Wells series instead; 1 star for good sex scenes and for a great premise.(less)
CONS: → Bad fluff-mystery. → Distracting attributives. → Sometimes felt Mary Sue-ish. → Horrible at subtlety.
COMMENTS: First of all, I have to say that I love Meg Cabot's charm and I always used to enjoy her novels because I think everybody needs a good fluff-read every now and then. I remember loving the first book a lot and when I couldn't find the second anywhere, I decided to buy it through Borders online (something I rarely do). However, my taste may have changed and I'm sad to say that I think I may have to re-read the first novel. I remember it being this amazing fluff-mystery with hints of romance and intrigue but if it was this bad, I'm definitely going to have to reevaluate it.
Heather Wells isn't skinny. I mean, it's on the cover. We get it, Ms. Cabot. Did you really have to remind us on every other page? She loves food more than anything in the world. I swear, every single time Wells made a comment similar to "I'm the fat kid who loves cake", it made my own self-esteem break down little by little and my old body image insecurities would re-surface. I'm also one of those people who don't care much about body image therefore, feeling even the slightest bit insecure about the way I look is a really hard thing to accomplish. Cabot did it with this book and not in a way that would feel empowering. I don't know if that's what Cabot was trying to achieve but she did it. That's all there was, especially in the beginning—eating, think about food, think about food, dead person, eating, think about food, investigate, investigate, investigate, think about food, eating, eating, almost get murdered, eating, and more eating. It's extremely "shape-ist", as I like to call it. As far as I've read, none of Cabot's other protagonists was this obsessed with food. It almost feels like Cabot is saying, "Fat people are supposed to love food." Way to reinforce a stereotype.
There were awkward identifiers used over and over again, specifically "s/he wanted to know" throughout the entire book: - "Is it because I'm not inviting Cooper?" Jordan wants to know. (p76) - "Do I have a choice?" Cooper wants to know. (p107) - "Can we go up already?" Gavin wants to know. (p233) - "Who's your friend?" Steve wants to know. (p239) Really...really? A few times would have been okay but this attributive would spawn within 2-3 pages of each other. There were a lot more of these but I stopped keeping track a while ago. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying "she asked" or "I asked." In fact, it sounds better and gives things a lot more fluidity as opposed to "she wanted to know." At one point, she used it several times in one chapter for different characters!
There's a paragraph on page 205 where Wells is describing the way the snow looks around the city. It's beautifully written but it's the most out of place part in the entire book because it doesn't sound like Cabot's style of writing. It's as if she asked Jodi Picoult to write a paragraph explaining the scenery for her to randomly plug into the book. The style suddenly shifted from casual narrative to poetic (and awkward) metaphors. It felt like Cabot just crammed the paragraph in there for unnecessary dramatic effect.
I also know that this is a fluff-read but Cabot's not really good at subtlety. Several times, she made references to feminism through Heather Wells and Sarah and, while I appreciate the sentiment, it also felt out of place as well as angering. Such as the part where Wells victim-blames and imagines Sarah calling her out on it in which she responds with how boys don't flirt with her. Things like this made it incredibly painful to read. Work on subtlety, please.
2 stars for a thought out plot and for being fast-paced fluff (which I like).(less)