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Nothing in my life has ever felt so good yet hurt so achingly bad.
*Takes deep breath* Okaaaaayyy…this is not going to be a popular review. It isn’t going to gush about everything good Colleen Hoover does, because I don’t find I connect with her as an author like everyone else on the planet does, it isn’t going to mention how much I sobbed throughout the entirety of the novel because of how unfair life is, because I didn’t shed a tear, and it isn’t going to impress many of you-and I’m okay with that. Maybe I will forever be the black sheep when it comes to this author, but as far as I can tell, I always give her more than a fair chance when I pick up her novels.
I did find many parts I truly, truly enjoyed, but there was just so much that bothered me that I can’t say it was a complete success-but it was probably my favorite story by her to date…even if I gave more stars to a couple of her other works, none gave me the feelings this story did, and it’s all because of one person: Ridge.
It’s crazy how being held by someone for just a few minutes can forever change how it feels not to be held by him. The second he releases his hold on you, it suddenly feels as if a part of you is missing. I guess he feels it, too, which is why he wants me near him.
I want to point out something very important right up front-I cannot even begin to fathom where she came up with the idea for this story. It had originality stamped all over it. I can’t say why. And I can’t say how. What I can say, is that while I could see the plot twists coming a mile away, you as a reader most likely won’t be the same after you finish this book. Of that I will assure you. What bothers me, though, is that I feel Hoover thinks up these awesome, original ideas, but then I always am left in the dark as to how everyone loves what she puts on paper-the ideas are all there. They are magnificent ideas….but I never feel this deep emotional connection like everyone else does. It bothers me profusely because I want to be moved. I want to bawl my eyes out. But I just don’t think Hoover executes her well thought out plans in a way that threads and connects my soul to the story. It’s hard to explain-I’ll get excited about her plot twists, and I’ll even start to become as skeptical as to believe this might be the winner she produced just for me….and then it falls flat. Not the amazing characters. Not the amazing ideas-the story line. It just drags on…and on….and on….and it takes forever to reach a forgone and inevitable solution and conclusion-it just drags out. And the thing is, I REALIZE that if it was too short, it would be labeled an abrupt ending and that for a novel to truly come full circle it needs time to build up to the finale. But when the story builds up to a finale five times again and again, it starts to become skim city for me. And I hate that. I hate when a story is going well for me and then shit just repeatedly gets drug out. But that, like many will probably say, is just me.
I don’t understand my sudden obsession with staring at her, but I can’t seem to stop. She’s several feet away. We aren’t touching. We aren’t speaking. She isn’t even looking at me. Yet the simple fact that I’m staring at her makes me feel incredibly guilty, as if I’m doing something wrong. Staring is harmless, so why do I feel so guilty?
As I mentioned above, I also guessed all the twists of the story after fifteen pages. I would have loved to have been blind for more than an eighth of the story, but even with that, the twists, I feel, are what I believe Hoover thought were the bread and butter of the story-I just felt like that was ALL the story leaned on. I didn’t much like the writing of music. It was cute, but I didn’t love hearing about it every other page….I KNOW. Why did I read this then, especially after I hated Slammed because of all the poetry writing and such? Well, my friend asked me to, so I agreed. It’s as simple as that. I guess even more than the music writing, I disliked how she ‘told’ us instead of showed us…the whole book was like that from page one. I’m not sure if it’s BECAUSE of the plot twists or just the way this author mapped out this particular story, but I was shocked to see she did that in this novel….I don’t remember her ever doing it in her other works, but maybe that’s why I’ve never fallen in love with her writing style…but that doesn’t explain why everyone else loves her, so it might just be this particular work-clearly I’m not the person to ask on that particular matter.
God, I hate feelings. Or I hate my conscience. The two are constantly at war, and I’m not sure which one I’d rather turn off.
I think it’s time to talk about the characters…and I’ll start with Sydney-quite frankly, I never once connected with her and found her to be very boring. Her inner dialogue drove me insane and I think that’s another common thread for me-I never fall in love with her female leads. I haven’t liked Lake (Slammed), What’s her face (I’m thinking Sky?) from Hopeless, and now I can add Sydney to that list. They just are not characters I’ve fallen in love or can identify with, and I don’t know why. The only characters I liked were Warren, Ridge, and, ultimately, Maggie. But, hey! I still rooted for Sydney, so let’s keep that in perspective-I’m loyal.
He folds his arms across his chest and pouts.
“Is sweet little Warren pouting?” I lean forward and wrap my arms around him, and he tries to shove me off. I climb on top of him and kiss his cheek, and he starts hitting me in the arm, trying to pull away from my grasp. I laugh and let go of his face, then look up at Sydney, who just walked into the room. She’s staring at us. Warren slides his hand up my thigh and lays his head on my shoulder. I reach up and pat his cheek while we both stare up at her, straight-faced. She shakes her head slowly and walks back into her bedroom.-Ridge’s perspective
I think it goes without saying that Ridge is and was what held my attention and what got this story no less than 3.5 stars. I loved, adored, cherished his character. I really and truly loved this guy. He was sweet, kind, caring and he was very selfless. He made mistakes, but he fought those mistakes with every ounce of his being. I connected with his character more than any other in this book-I just wanted more more more of him at all times. And I think the reason he shined so much was because, as a character, he was the only person who was interesting no matter what happened. He was the only person I thought about when I put the book down. And, as much as I hate to say it-probably the biggest reason I resonated with him was (view spoiler)[because of how he handled himself with being deaf. How he never let it get him down, and it made him a better person than any could even imagine. I loved the way he handled himself-and his story? (hide spoiler)]It was the closest to tears I came the whole book-oh, and when (view spoiler)[he spoke for her. That tore my heart to pieces. Bit by bit, word by word, he wove his way into my soul with that simple act we take for granted. (hide spoiler)] That was probably what bumped up the rating, if I’m being honest-in the end, I couldn’t rate any lower than that because with Ridge’s simple act, it touched my soul. And I did love that part of the story-it was as close to tears as this story got me-it broke my heart.
She reaches her hands up to my neck and lightly places her palms against my skin, then slowly eases her fingers up and into my hair. Having her so close feels as though we’ve created our own personal space, and nothing from outside our world can make it’s way in, and nothing from inside our world can make its way out.-Ridge
And finally-the reason I didn’t give 3 or 4 stars along with the three and a half stars-This book, to me, was a three star from the beginning. I never was truly engrossed and was convinced that, at most, I’d give this 3.5 stars…but then about 3/4 through I fell HARD for Ridge for reasons above and couldn’t justify only giving a solid three star. At that point, it was four star worthy. But then, again, the story slowed down and as mentioned above, it took forever to reach what we all knew was coming, and so in all fairness to me, as a reader, I couldn’t give this a solid four. So, here sits the most accurate rating I can give to portray my array of emotions throughout the story. I couldn’t be any fairer than 3.5 stars, so I won’t plaster any permanent stars-I was both pleased and disappointed that it reached this-pleased that it was better than I thought, and disappointed that it wasn’t stronger like it could have been.
I never realized how powerful desire could be. It consumes every part of you, enhancing your senses by a million. When you’re in the moment, it enhances your sense of sight, and all you can do is focus on the person in front of you. It enhances your sense of smell, and suddenly, you’re aware of the fact that his hair has just been washed and his shirt is fresh out of the dryer. It enhances your sense of touch and makes your skin prickle and your fingertips tingle, and it leaves you craving to be touched. It enhances your sense of taste, and your mouth becomes hungry and wanting, and the only thing that can satisfy it is the relief of another mouth in search of the same.
I don’t know what more to say, really. This story both touched and moved me, but all in all I wanted WAY more. But as I said, I couldn’t say I either hated or loved-I was, amazingly, somewhere in the middle. I will never forget Ridge, and I most likely won’t forget this story, but it still didn’t reach me in the way I hoped it would, so I guess this, again, makes me fickle. Shocker.