The 'date I finished this book' field is a lie. I did not finish this book. I gave up on this book; life is too damn short to read bad literature. IfThe 'date I finished this book' field is a lie. I did not finish this book. I gave up on this book; life is too damn short to read bad literature. If I'm being entirely fair, I only picked up this book because I won an advance copy of The Destiny of Violet & Luke and thought it might be a good idea for me to read the first book in the series, well, first. Rookie mistake.
I don't understand how this book has so many 5-star reviews. I don't understand how Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times best-selling author. At the risk of sounding like a literary snob (actually I really don't care if I sound like a literary snob; get me a higher soapbox!) I don't think any of the people raving about this book/series have ever read a good book in their lives. It's the only explanation that makes any sense to me, because I could tell that this book was trash from the start.
Immediately I could tell that the book was poorly edited and hardly proofread. In the 60-odd pages I managed to get through before ragequitting, I found numerous grammatical errors and inconsistencies. In the first few pages, Callie's mom sends Callie into a party to find her older brother because he has a plane to catch in eight hours; a couple of pages later Callie's mom laments that Callie won't be staying at home for the summer because she won't be able to spend time with her brother. But... didn't he just fly out somewhere? And why is Callie's mother picking up a 24 year-old from a party anyway? Doesn't he know how to drive, or know that cabs exist? But of course picking him up is just a convenient plot device to get Callie to run into Kayden and get the ball rolling on the whole 'romantic premise' of the book.
The reason I put 'romantic' and 'premise' in scare quotes is the crux of my issue with the book. The plot is thinly strung together with coincidences (hence the title, I suppose... what did I expect?!) and weak connections with poor reasoning and explanations. If you don't think about it too hard, I suppose a less discerning reader could let the sad excuse for a plot slide if they were really here for the romance, such as it was. Which brings me to my other major issue with the book. The 'romance'.
Obviously, both Callie and Kayden are deeply damaged individuals who keep their issues hidden and push the world away; Callie is terrified of men and Kayden uses his 'slutty' girlfriend for emotionless sex because he's terrified of letting himself feel. Except, of course, he has feelings for Callie because she's ~special~ and ~fragile~ in some sort of Victorian ~pale and interesting~ and it's okay that he treats other women like shit because he just needs the love of a good woman and Callie needs affection to blossom like a beautiful flower in the sun... no, fuck that. That's not how trauma works. That's not how healing works. The message this book is sending, that you can repress deep trauma for years until someone equally as damaged comes along and you'll see through each other's hard shells and fix each other through ~healing sex~, is irresponsible and damaging. Sure, it's possible that someone very special might come along, see you for the diamond in the rough that you are and help you heal - but it's extremely unlikely, and waiting around for that while refusing to deal with your past, repressing your trauma and letting your life pass you by is dangerous. Sorensen might have sent a stronger, more realistic message by having her protagonists have courage, admit and accept their pasts, try therapy, and build a strong support network within which they could come to terms with the abuse they'd faced in a healthy manner instead of relying on just one equally damaged individual. Of course, then that wouldn't provide the same level of cheap, emotionally-wrought drama and weak thrills on which Sorensen depends for her popularity.
The virgin/whore dichotomy in this book is equally gross, pitting pure, fragile Callie against Daisy, who I guess deserves to be shamed and treated like garbage because she wears low-cut shirts, owns her sexuality and is kind of mean. The abusers are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts, standing to serve only as Disney villain plot devices before fading into the ether so our star-crossed lovers can fall into each other's arms. There's probably a lot of drama and underage drinking, I don't know, I couldn't get far enough into the book and only flipped through it after giving up. I also don't think that Sorensen has ever attended a college class or even looked at a course schedule because she has her characters attending 'pre-Calculus' and 'Biology', when Toto, we're not supposed to be in high school anymore.
I guess this is an entertaining read for those Cathies who want their Heathcliff to play football and sweep them off their feet with their muscular, scarred arms; if you're looking for a book to insert yourself into if you fantasize about ~fixing~ some tall, dark and damaged guy while also being ~fixed~ in return, this is probably a good read for you. It wasn't for me. ...more