This copy was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Kindle Edition, published August 24th, 2011
April, thank you very much for your review query!
Annabelle Blanc is no ordinary teenager. Not by a long shot! She kills for a living and has never experienced a normal life. No going to the movies with friends, no high school drama, no mom and dad to introduce her first boyfriend to. After their parents’ death Annabelle and her brother Jackson were raised by a friend of the family. Now they’re trained to do what’s necessary. Be evil to assassinate evil. When Anna meets Gabriel Sanchez her universe turns on its axis. She’s a professional, but not when it comes to matters of the heart. One-sided attraction she could handle, however, as soon as spoiled brat and ladies man Gabriel lays eyes on Anna he knows she’s a keeper. Will they survive in the wake of their worlds colliding?
The idea of an antiheroine (totally just came up with that by myself) is great! It gave me much to think about and I even had a bit of a moral conflict to sort through. Her profession was - in comparison to Gabriel’s everyday life - unique and interesting. I found myself pondering whether to support, condone or oppose her actions. It’s not about agreeing with the protagonist’s every decision, but rather about finding something gripping enough (may it be a trait, the past or a comment) to make me want to know what’s going to happen to the character. Preferably something that’ll keep my interest throughout the book. Annabelle being an assassin definitely did the job! The blurb drew me in right away and after reading a few chapters I couldn’t wait for “Anna Walker” to start her new assignment. The author did a good job of emphasizing how normal an activity killing was for her. The fact that she needed to attend high school to establish an In to her next target had me giddy in excitement. I just knew it’d be hard for her to adapt no matter how often she tried to tell herself otherwise. The concept of two different worlds clashing has been used before, but not for such a refreshingly original plot. Kudos to Brookshire for coming up with it!
I loved Annabelle’s brother Jackson. Quite the character! All he wanted was to protect his little sister from harm. He looked out for her like a big brother should, but also wanted to see her happy. Her idea of happiness didn’t always match his, though. The banter between the two had me smiling from ear to ear. They annoyed the shit out of each other. It was their special way of showing affection. Jacks knew how to rile Annabelle up. I was snickering more than just once at how easily this task came to him. I connected with his personality and was thrilled to have him play an important role as a secondary character.
The story had many unexpected twists and turns. Without them a read (even if well written) can get boring fast. It was a definite plus that the author had a few surprises up her sleeve.
Now, I always feel very guilty about giving a not so good rating. I’m really sorry! That said I’ll be honest - just like I promised I would be (my policy states it, too) and tell you what didn’t work for me. There are several reasons warranting my final verdict.
The writing was only so-so. It felt wobbly to me. It wasn’t smooth. I found a few errors (no biggie, I was able to just ignore them), but also noticed several words being used repeatedly in close proximity to one another. It’s something that can often be found in debut novels and disturbs the reading flow.
° “The DESIRED effect is to get both Max and Gabriel to DESIRE me…”
° “How LAME is that? […] when I’m pretending to be someone LAME.”
° “…YESTERDAY afternoon […] Did he get hers YESTERDAY […] we shared YESTERDAY…”
It hurts my heart to say this, but I didn’t like the main characters! Annabelle was more than just a tad too stuck up for my taste. She constantly talked about how she’s the best, could smack people around if she wanted to and so on. I got that she’s skilled. Had to be to stay alive! However, the bragging was too much. I kind of dismissed her early on, which made it nearly impossible to feel sorry for her, let alone root for them to get their happy ending. I simply stopped caring.
The blurb revealed Gabriel as a selfish and spoiled kid. Not a problem…if the hero is able to redeem himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t. First he was just annoying - a real jerk. Soon after he turned into a lovesick puppy. Not attractive. In the end, I couldn’t even find words for him anymore. There is a huge difference between love and obsession. They weren’t in love; instead obsessed with each other. The unhealthy (if not fatal) kind at that!
Also, the story was lacking in the character development department. My biggest beef was with Gabriel. He gave me a headache. I understood that he had to fight an inner struggle, I really did, but he switched his feelings on and off all - the - time. I couldn’t, and frankly didn’t want to keep up with it anymore. His reaction to a traumatizing event was implausible. Absolutely not believable (and I mean not believable regarding the progression of the story).
Max and Gabriel were cousins and supposed to be best friends. Well, they could’ve fooled me. Gabriel basically steamrolled over his bestie any chance he got. They had no respect for each other! The character “Max” had no real purpose either. He was just…there.
After around 1/3 of the story there was a big, big change to the plot. To me, the beginning of the end. The battery just suddenly died. There was no real story backing up the plot anymore. No amount of suspense can make up for that (suspenseful it was).These aspects are deal breakers for me. Considering the genre of the book I was waiting for one or two passages dealing with the controversy of the story’s most significant theme. Assassinations! Killing someone who deserves to die is not murder? I see how this attitude was essential for Annabelle and Jackson in terms of building up their personalities. The thing is - it’s just not true. A sensitive topic! I’m sure many of you will like the book. It just wasn’t for me. 2 stars to Young Love Murder by April Brookshire!
Beware of Spoilers!
A few of my favorite quotes for those of you who are interested:
° “I’m probably the best in the world. And so modest.”
° “…I was a nine pound baby. Squeezing me and my big head out had to of hurt.”
° “The heart I’m not supposed to have soars.”