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!
I'm almost tempted to just give [b:Wait for You|17314430|Wait for You (Wait for You, #1)|J. Lynn|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363819713s/17314430.jpg|23981243] 5 stars because I haven't laughed this much at a book since I don't even remember when. I'm laughing while writing this review (there's no one else in the house, so that's kinda creepy I guess) and it's really not funny, to be honest. I just... can't. This book. And this author. It's too much. On every level. It makes all the usual cheesy mistakes that a NA contemporary romance tends to do, it uses characters I've seen too many times to count - good girl, reformed bad boy, gay best friend, evil slut who wants reformed bad boy - but it also does something that I don't see too often. Something that brought back memories of a book I read a couple of years ago. A book called [b:Half-Blood|9680718|Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)|Jennifer L. Armentrout|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1311865840s/9680718.jpg|14568639]. So when I discovered that Ms Lynn is actually the same author using a new name, I couldn't help letting out something halfway between a laugh and a choking sound at the sheer lack of originality in her books.
[b:Half-Blood|9680718|Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)|Jennifer L. Armentrout|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1311865840s/9680718.jpg|14568639] is, I don't feel unfair in saying, a complete rip-off of [b:Vampire Academy|345627|Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)|Richelle Mead|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1361098973s/345627.jpg|335933]. Please, be my guest, read it if you don't believe me. Tell me that you can't spot all the main characters and scenes being regurgitated with different names. Tell me that the whole pure bloods and half bloods thing isn't taken straight out of Mead's work and planted in another. I would not make this claim lightly because it's a serious thing to accuse someone of, more or less, plagiarism. But I believe that's what it is. And plagiarism is not okay. I don't think quite as serious a claim can be laid against [b:Wait for You|17314430|Wait for You (Wait for You, #1)|J. Lynn|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363819713s/17314430.jpg|23981243], but yet again I see evidence of recycled scenes and characters that tells me on some level, originality has failed to surface in her work once more.
Avery Morgenstern is a new arrival at a college in a town far away from her home. She enters on her first day and walks (literally) into the hottest guy in school. The reformed badboy/playboy/whatever. Everyone wants him. He could have any girl in their college. And yet, for some reason I have been unable to fathom, he only has eyes for Ms clutzy new girl. They naturally find themselves paired together for a class project (astronomy class - which offers much in the way of star-gazing material). He wants her. She says no because she has issues. She's "not like other girls". Needs saving constantly. Blah-de-blah. I've seen this all in a million different things. I don't think I need to point out the glaringly obvious one...
Oh yeah, and did I mention that she meets him and starts going loopy over his muscles on page 2? And I really wish she wouldn't blush so much. What's with so many YA/NA heroines being so prudish? I'm not talking about Avery's personal issues with sex here (I'll get to those later), it doesn't take anywhere near "sex" to make her blush. I understand it when she walks into Cam (hot dude), I would have blushed in school if I'd walked into the hottest guy there. But I don't understand it when she's talking to her friends and they ask her if she thinks a guy's hot. I would have talked shamelessly with my girlfriends about the hotness of guys at twelve years old, never mind nineteen.
Some of the things being thought/said in this novel are ridiculous. Hilarious for a while, but ultimately ridiculous. Cam lays it all out straight away with "I'm used to having girls throw themselves at me" and Jacob (flamboyant gay friend) bursts onto the scene with lines like this "I don't want my fine ass to be tainted by sitting on that floor". They're all like caricatures and I can't take a single one of them seriously. I also wish someone would inform romance authors that petnames suck. I don't care if it's sweetheart or sunshine or baby or kitten *vomits* - they all suck and infantilise women in a way that just irritates me.
"Blood drained from my face and rushed to other parts of my body in a really odd and confusing way."
What exactly is odd or confusing about that? Are you twelve?
Why is this hot: "I'm a lot to handle, but I can assure you, you'll have fun handling me." I've met drunk perverts in bars with better lines than that.
There's some crazy wish fulfillment thing going on here with Cam. He's one of those obscenely beautiful male figures with an arrogant personality that I assume we're supposed to find sexy (and clearly, from the ratings, many people do). But I just found the lines he came out with either cringy or hilarious. Or both. He walks around shirtless most of the time with his perfect muscles rippling (oh my god, I will not miss the endless descriptions of his perfect muscles). A beautiful woman called Steph spends her time hanging all over him with her breasts bursting out of her clothes, and yet he never notices(!). He says things like "Avery Morgansten, we meet again." *eye roll* "We have to stop meeting like this." *eye roll* And I don't know whether this was, for me, the best or worst bit of the novel:
Cam took a bite of his cookie and closed his eyes. A deep sound emanated from his throat - a growl of pleasure. My heart jumped and my cheeks heated even more as I stared at him. He made the sound again, and my mouth dropped open. A row down, a girl turned in her seat, her eyes clouded over.
I laughed so much. It's a cookie! It's a fucking cookie! *Can't. Breathe. For. Laughing.*
Most of what I've said so far has been on the funny side of bad but now I'm going to move onto a couple of things that really bugged me. One was the treatment of Steph's character. I know I sound like a broken record and that fact makes me very sad, but I think it's important to keep pointing out the way women are categorised by their sexuality in so many books. The way flirtatious and sexual women who wear revealing clothes are automatically evil and given no further character development. Steph is that character here. She's the one who Cam hooked up with before Avery ever came on the scene, and she's also the one that gets brushed aside like an old rag who can't possibly have any feelings when Cam decides Avery is a special kind of girl who's worth more than being screwed and dumped. It's okay to screw and dump Steph because she's "that kind of girl". This is Avery telling Cam how she's different from Steph:
"I'm not like that."
"Like what?" he asked.
So he was going to make me spell it out. Of course. Why not? "I'm not like her."
"I don't just hook up with guys for fun, okay?"
Thankfully, Cam calls her out on it. Well, he calls her out on the fact that she doesn't even know the girl she's talking about and so she shouldn't jump to hasty conclusions. Fair point. But then there's also that bit where she shouldn't place girls into categories based on how sexually active they like to be (whether she knows them or not).
The other thing that really bugged me was when Jacob asked Avery "are you gay?" because she didn't want to have sex with Cam. It really bothered me that someone was made to feel like they had to be attracted to a certain type of guy because he was soooo pretty. And the only other explanation was that she must be gay? Stupid.
I have one last comment and it's about the dark secret of Avery's past... are we really not supposed to know what's going on? We know she's running away from something. Something a guy called Blaine did to her. Something that makes her have issues with sex and physical contact. Something that made people call her a "whore" and a "liar". Oh, what could it possibly be? Er, no. I can't be the only one who had her "dark secret" pinned from the start, right?