I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I can weed out the crap and hopefully find some surprising gems. Here's hoping!
Just a quick warning: this book has a fair bit of sex in it and so I will be talking about sex in this review. Maybe don't read this if sex talk makes you clutch your crucifix in horror or, you know, combust.
I've been reading quite a few indie novels lately; some were good and some not so good. But I've remained safe from anything outrageously bad until now. [b:The Edge of Never|16081272|The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1)|J.A. Redmerski|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358810128s/16081272.jpg|21880254] is one of those books which has a crazily high average rating, it is a "New York Times, USA Today, and Wallstreet Journal bestselling blockbuster" and it managed to offend me at least once in every single chapter. I found it to be a mere step away from [b:Beautiful Disaster|11505797|Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)|Jamie McGuire|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358259032s/11505797.jpg|16441531] in the misogyny department and what it lacked in that area was made up for in the extremely bad writing. Honestly, it was so bad it was kind of hilarious.
I finally feel that I have read enough to safely make the claim that this "new adult" genre thing we've got going on now basically, well, sucks. It seems to be a combination of all the annoying, cliche elements of the young adult genre and a bunch of sex scenes and/or coarse language. In terms of the writing, this book is pretty awful. The author seems to favour certain words for a short period of time to the extent that they appear in every other sentence and then switch to a new favourite and the pattern repeats. Some writers have that annoying habit of telling rather than showing but Redmerski does something that I found much worse - she shows, then tells. She uses body language to express certain emotions but insults the reader's intelligence by adding the tells afterwards. I opened the book again just now to find an example and came across one on the second page; this is by no means the worst but hopefully it will help express what I mean: "Cam," she says, cocking her head to one side to appear thoughtful.
But there's no need for me to get nitpicky about language. This book provides much more glaring problems.
Like the fact that every girl/young woman in this book is called a slut except the protagonist. If you wanted to play a drinking game with this book, you would only need the word "slut" to get completely trashed. "Slut" is even used twice in chapter one. In fact, I wish I'd counted how many chapters didn't use the word slut; I can certainly guarantee it would be fewer than how many did. Camryn (MC) talks about her ex as "the jerk who cheated on me with some red-haired slut" and her best friend (lol jk) is constantly called "slutty" and is only there so Camryn can compare the two of them. Natalie is promiscuous where Camryn is a good girl, Natalie wears revealing clothing where Camryn likes her pastel cardigans, Natalie thinks about sex where Camryn muses about life, the universe and everything.
And what a lot of it comes down to: I hated Camryn. Absolutely hated her. I put this quote in my status update but here it is again so we can all marvel at the stupidity:
Instead of sitting around dreaming up new sex positions, as Natalie often does about Damon, I dream about things that really matter. What the air in other countries feels like on my skin, how the ocean smells, why the sound of rain makes me gasp.
When I read that, I did some weird combination of eye-rolling, cackling laughter and general despairing that so many people are happy to buy into Camryn's philosophical bullshit. Camryn, you're not deep, you're a fucking moron. A misogynistic, holier-than-thou moron.
And then, of course, we have the real reason this book is a bestseller. Andrew. I get it, actually, I really do. He's gorgeous, he's sexy, he likes to talk all naughty, he loves to go down on you and doesn't ask for anything in return, in fact, his mission in life is nothing more or less than to make you come. I know why you ladies all love this and at least he's not Travis screw-loose Maddox. But he comes with his own set of problems too and, even if he didn't, he still wouldn't be anywhere near hot enough to make up for the rest of this mess. One thing that I suppose comes down to my personal taste in guys and how they speak to me is lines like this:
"if you were to let me fuck you, you would have to let me own you."
I mean, is this hot to you? For me, it's somewhere halfway between gross and hilarious. But each to their own, I guess. To be honest, a lot of the sex scenes that I assume are supposed to be knicker-twistingly hot just made me laugh. Camryn faces deep moral struggles with the P-word, which she later hilariously overcomes "lick my pussy, Andrew; goddammit, lick my fucking pussy!" This is apparently a word that she associates with porn stars, something which leads into an interesting conversation where women are split into two groups - the slutty kind that are only good enough to give a guy head, and the unslutty kind that are worth more. Here's the quote:
"Well, when... Dominique Starla," he picks the name from the air, "does it, it's just to some random guy lookin' to get off behind a keyboard." His green eyes fall on me. "that guy's not dreaming about anything with her except her face in his lap." Then he looks back at the road. "But when someone... I dunno... like a sweet, sexy, completely un-slutty girl does it, the guy is thinking about a lot more than her face in his lap."
Ugh. No more words on that. I just... can't.
I think I've had enough of talking about this book. But one more thing I will say is that part of the reason I kept reading was because so many reviews promised a big heart-breaking twist towards the end. Well, maybe I've been watching Sherlock too much, but I saw it coming a mile off. Just sayin'.