3.5 stars I had a hard time getting into this at first (the first 150 pages or so are a little too madcap and spend way too much time on a disruption3.5 stars I had a hard time getting into this at first (the first 150 pages or so are a little too madcap and spend way too much time on a disruption with Audrey's brother that isn't nearly as funny as it's supposed to be), and although I know this is a comedic novel, I wish it had allowed us more time with the causes and treatment of Audrey's anxiety disorder.
But this one won me over because Linus is just so darned cute! And while I don't quite get why he was into Audrey at first, they are very cute together. Adorable (and unconventional) first kiss, a sweet and patient holding-hands-in-the-basement, and silly nicknames and texts and small dares. An extra half point just for Linus.
DNF around 100 pages. Such an interesting concept, but man, is the main character a whiner. I get it, he's supposed to have this crushing guilt and reDNF around 100 pages. Such an interesting concept, but man, is the main character a whiner. I get it, he's supposed to have this crushing guilt and regret (view spoiler)[after too-perfect-to-be-real Connor dies (hide spoiler)] and presumably he grows up at some point. But he reacts so negatively in rejecting so many things (trivial and major), and he makes so many assumptions (in what people are thinking about him, their motivations, their plans, etc), that he just wasn't a character I cared about or was interested in sticking around for. Do or think ONE thing that is surprising or fascinating or endearing or doesn't make me sigh with impatience, please.
I skimmed the last couple of chapters, and....meh.
I also didn't love the writing style. The way information was relayed was occasionally confusing, and I guess I can take glistening tears if I must, but I would never think to look at a Post-It note and call it "crisp." A couple of times I was also startled by exclamation points within the narration--it's sort of a jarring thing within a teenage boy's headspace, and the situations didn't really seem to merit them. It felt juvenile and excitable.
But if language doesn't bother you and if you read mostly for plot, maybe you'll like this better than I did. I'm just disappointed this wasn't the great YA science fiction book I was looking for. It's been awhile, so I hope we get one soon.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
P.S. The reference to IF I STAY in the blurb really pisses me off, though. Come on, now. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 stars Going into a story where you know there won't be a happy ending is a tough thing. But weirdly enough, I actually like this prequel novella m3.5 stars Going into a story where you know there won't be a happy ending is a tough thing. But weirdly enough, I actually like this prequel novella more than I did the full-length Raina book. (Though to be fair, I'm not a huge fan of the Desert Dogs series overall--they just aren't my thing as much as literally all of McKenna's other books.) For one thing, I never really warmed up to Duncan, the guy she eventually ends up with (and please, we're talking genre romances here so you'd know that just from reading blurbs), and I feel like there's way more sexual tension between Raina and Miah in both stories. Um...a lot of sexual tension.
It's so hard not to love Miah for being so into Raina, or to fault him for wanting forever with her. I'm live and let live socially, but on a personal level I'm pretty traditional, so seeing him pine after a family with Raina has me yelling "Take the guy up on it, girl!" But what's right for one person isn't right for another, and McKenna explores the right to feminine choice and the reversal of typical male/female roles with ease and conviction--as well as fairness to both parties.
This isn't the HEA I usually want in a romance, but I think it's interesting that the author chose to write this, and I'm glad she did. Your heart breaks a little for Miah, but it's supposed to. We don't always get what we want out of life, and I respect the author's taking the time to develop the complexities and futility of this particular relationship, just as she honors the more traditional fantasy ones in her other books....more