**** If it is possible to spoil a story that has practically no mentionable plot and no mystery, but makes do with a certain set of formulaic elements**** If it is possible to spoil a story that has practically no mentionable plot and no mystery, but makes do with a certain set of formulaic elements (see farther below), spinning them in circles to make the experience last longer, then be warned: Spoilers line the rocky road ****
I am seldom that outspoken, but in this case I just have to say it aloud - probably all the 'fucks' and 'shits' the characters flung about celebrating their verbal New Adult freedom rubbed off on me: In my opinion "Wait for You" is utter shit and I don't understand in the least why people enjoy spending time on it. My expectations had been rather low after reading "Obsidian", but probably they were not low enough.
So, let's see: Former, rich, unkissed social pariah Avery enrolls in a small no-name college to start a new, normal life far from home and literally bumps into Cameron-I-Had-Them-All-And-They-Liked-It, but because of her past and her personality it takes him a few months to tease a date out of the one girl who resists and her four months of heavy-duty petting (view spoiler)[He never even asks why. Maybe he thinks it's "the traditional virgin way"? (hide spoiler)] and a few mental break-downs to admit she has a problem - a problem of unbelievable proportions, which the reader has pretty much puzzled together since chapter 1 or 2 or 3. That's it! Have a go at guessing! You cannot fail. The quotes are all to be found in the first 11% of the book, most of them on the very first pages:
Reaching down, I checked the wide, silver bracelet on my wrist, making sure it was in place.
A guy had never held me. I didn't count that one time, because that time didn't count for shit.
Parties didn't end well for me.
I hadn't been able to see a possible after when the entire school got behind Blaine.
Nothing could have been worse than what had happened to me, what my parents agreed to.
Apparently my parents were okay with having a daughter labeled a lying whore.
The paragraphs that are not dripping with hints to her - or his - tragic past or with sexual activity consist of artificial, middle-school-level-immature conversations the heroine has with her new cardboard friends - i.e.:
'Cam?' Brittany blinked. 'Yeah?' [...] Brittany's brows knitted. 'People who he doesn't know call him Cameron. Only his friends call him Cam.' 'Oh.' I frowned. 'He told me people call him Cam, so I assumed that's what people called him.'
and oily, self-gratifying banter orchestraed by Mr. Let-Me-Bake-For-You-Sweetheart out to seduce an iron virgin:
'So unless you were raised in a convent, I imagined you've been in a lap a time or two, right?'
'I'm a lot to handle, but I can assure you, you'll have fun handling me.'
To be frank, after schlepping myself through this highly praised, much-squealed-about example that has even been practically fought over by international licence buyers, I do not have much hope left for the genre and its ability to bring forth something I can enjoy and I don’t really believe anymore that
- there is a New Adult novel without a heroine who suffered some kind of abuse before meeting creation's finest in form of the hero. I cannot believe how rape or almost-rape or abusive parental behavior has been quickly established as one of the truly unavoidable requirements for a successfully hot tear-jerker romance. - there is a New Adult novel without a heroine who is sexually inexperienced or unable to let go sexually (view spoiler)[In "Wait for You" the author has combined the rape and the virgin factor by a desperate coup de force that is so ridiculous you cannot help but applaud in awe: Avery’s abuser had raped her by going the anal route. And than means hymen-wise our heroine is still pure and extra-virgin despite her defining earlier experience (hide spoiler)], but is oh so attractive to the hero and secretly special and siren-like seductive under the layers of her tragic past. - there is a New Adult novel without a hero who is prone to violent outbursts directed towards people who deserve it, but tender and protective as far as the fragile heroine is concerned. - there is a New Adult novel without a hero who had been consuming girls like breakfast - and is universally admired for that because his sex skills are too advanced to be wasted on one woman only - but who changes his habit from 100 to zero, because wanting the heroine so bad made him lose his appetite for even the most appealing piece of ass on legs. - there is a New Adult hero who is not filthily rich or at least in possession of a convenient amount of money in form of a trust fund, royalties, or a well-paying business he started at an astonishing young age. - there is a New Adult novel in which the characters are really on their way to become thinking, independent grown-ups instead of being closet High Schoolers playing College with a drawer full of condoms and a key to their own apartment or trailer.
In the light of "Wait for You" and its equally awful chronies I think have to be fair and eventually take all the titles I enthusiastically added to my New Adult shelf last year (i.e. "Holier than Thou", "The Piper's Son", „Where She Went“, "Raw Blue", "Come and See Me" ...), when the genre began to coin itself, off again. For in my opinion it counts as an affront to those titles to be grouped together with books that fulfill the above mentioned basic prerequisites - which really I cannot stand to come across anymore.
Recently I accidentally noticed (view spoiler)[Let me assure you: I did not actively seek it out (hide spoiler)] the description for Armentrout’s upcoming novel "Frigid": "... Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore ... has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach ... there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other ..." and I thought: Shove it back into the eighteenth century, squeeze her into a tight, but demure corset, hand him an inheritance and a full stamp card of a small-town discount bordello and you've got a regular bodice ripper (I know: There is nothing wrong with those. But everybody knows at least what to expect from historical romance). What is "new"(=different) in New Adult fiction is only the contemporary setting and that strange fixation on sexual abuse.
I am astonished by my own thoughts, but I guess I would rather stick to good old British ChickLit when searching for a realistic story about a young woman finding her place in life and a guy to suck up to than to suffer more of this vile, repetitive and uneventful stuff. Unfortunately I have already "Slammed" and "Easy" on my Kindle and thus I believe I will venture into the jungle of damaged girls and hot, temperamental boy-men at least twice again (view spoiler)[At the moment I cannot imagine making it through to the end, though. (hide spoiler)]. Sad, sad business, I know. So don't kill me for my opinion. I suffered enough reading the book. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"Was I wrong to ask you to ring me? Sometimes I think I should've left you alone. I don’t want this to throw either of us off." "You weren't wrong," I"Was I wrong to ask you to ring me? Sometimes I think I should've left you alone. I don’t want this to throw either of us off." "You weren't wrong," I say. "No one’s being thrown off." I haven’t forgotten what he said two weeks earlier, that he didn't want another source of confusion. "This is like a vacation from real life." "It feels like that," he agrees.
At this point I do not know yet how many aspects my review is going to cover. But let me tell you first that in my opinion this is how all New Adult fiction should be like. Heavens, no, I do not demand that every author decides to kill off her heroine's perfect - and I do not mean sunshine pretty with a later to be discovered rotten core, but considerate and sexy and artistic with realistic flaws - boyfriend right in chapter one to have her quickly spiral downhill. There is without question a limit to the number of grief-centered books I can stomach in a given time period. But in real life there is a vast variety of good and bad life-changing experiences college-aged women encounter, which is why it made me exhale in relieve to read about Leah, who loses her live-in boyfriend of one year (who is not Caucasian, by the way, which means a bonus point in character diversity) and cannot and does not want to let go and heal afterwards (view spoiler)["What I need is the space and quiet to register Bastien's absence. That hasn't changed. I don’t want to move on. As it is, every day takes me a little further from the time we shared together. I need to protect and preserve what I still have of him."(hide spoiler)], instead of reading about the weird ups and downs of another irresistible female who needs to come to terms with her virginity, her past abuse, her sexuality in general and a small, foreseeable number of other super special secrets and another gorgeously violent I-hide-my-inner-fluffy-kitten-until-SHE-turns-up-and-me-on bad-boy, whose-farther-from-life-than-Earth-from-Pluto personas only exist to awkwardly populate some supposedly hot-sex-on-a-platter script.
If this comparison caused you to sulk about a lack of physical excitement in Come See About Me, you have simply misunderstood. There is sex - even explicit sex - aplenty in established Young Adult author C.K. Kelly Martin's first New Adult attempt. But it smoothly fits the plot and it does not make the cast and the story feel like props. Leah starts having an affair she wants to keep purely physical and ephemeral with an almost stranger and struggles with the feeling of betraying her dead boyfriend and his family. But although the guy supports her idea of a 'vacation from real life', he claims that "Nothing can ever only be sex, can it? Otherwise it wouldn’t matter who you were having it with. And I like you. We’ve been friends too, haven’t we?"
In spite of my lucky lack of similar experiences I thoroughly felt Leah's state of frozeness, her flight into constantly cheating her consciousness into imagining Bastien alive and besides her. I understood her selfishness, her dismissive behavior towards her - wonderfully depicted, by the way, I do adore Yunhee - best friends from university, her job inn Toronto and her parents. And I got her craving for touch and her stupidity when she throws all caution to the wind.
The minor characters were interesting and well-rounded, too. Instead of suffering from the obligatory cliché gay sidekick on match-maker's campus prepare to shake hands with a 100% normal, middle-aged lesbian couple. Plus there is Armstrong, the hyperactive hamster!
I even liked the half-open ending, although I am kind of partial towards completely vague but hopeful ones like the one in Holier Than Thou – another New Adult novel I wholeheartedly recommend. A few reviewers declared the outcome of Leah’s problems to be too positive and sweet. In my opinion it was pleasantly elating and Happy, but allowed for many other ultimate futures besides an Ever After.
Consequently I am sufficiently puzzled why the author could not find interested publisher (Thanks for finding that link, Sarah Moon.) - due to the lack of a fitting target group - and eventually had to go the indie way. Or to put it differently, I am flummoxed why the target group for a generic problematic-virgin-meets-clingy-bad-boy-plot is everlastingly huge, while a gem about a regular young woman like you and me like this is only appreciated by a handful. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more