I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Will be released June 16, 2015.
Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.
But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.
And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.
This was a romance. That’s it. I kept hoping there would be some kind of something else going on here–like any kind of plot line other than the romance–but nope. I guess maybe the band thing could have been considered the sub-plot but it was so minimal that I don’t really think it was.
I mean, really, there just wasn’t much going on here. Except that it was set in Orlando. Which is where I’m from. So automatically it gained an extra half star for that. Yay, Florida!
So this book jumps back and forth between Then and Now, where the stories parallel each other. The similarities are so close that I kind of felt like I was reading the same book twice. Repetitive. Redundant. There were even things that we’d read about in the Then part, that then would be reiterated in the Now part. A lot of repetition. I started skimming after a while.
Something that majorly bugged was how much these teenagers drank. Almost every scene involved alcohol. I guess I don’t get that because I’m not a partier, really, and never was but it makes me kind of angry that this book so glorifies drinking. That, and I think a lot of emotional dialogue could have been spared had these kids not imbibed so much alcohol.
I don’t actually know what else to say about this without giving away the whole story. Because there’s not much of a story. Gibaldi relies on characters and cutesy interactions to carry the book rather than plot. So I guess I’ll talk about that.
I liked these characters. Mostly. They were fun and crazy and impulsive but ultimately very loyal to each other. But they were stupid and immature and just a bit flat. The on-again-off-again relationship between Jake and Meg drove me crazy. Not in a good way. I just don’t understand people like that, I guess, and this book got me no closer to understanding it. They were mean to each other and just kind of gross in general. Our main character, Ella, was sweet but not very exciting. I mean, I kept reading because there were some cute parts and it was only 200 pages anyway. But yeah, not too exciting. Cute, yes. I’ll admit I was grinning now and then, reading about the sweet little lovey-dovey stuff. But mostly I was annoyed with the over-explaining and massive amounts of introspection. There was so much explaining. And wondering. And pining. And questioning. So. Much. Drama. Not my thing.
Dialogue didn’t exactly sound natural to me. The band thing: I don’t know what to say about this. The way it came across in the book, it felt like these girls just wanted to date guys who were in bands, which is fine and all, but it felt like a second-hand story. It wasn’t the main character’s thing. Ella just hung out with the guys in the band and watched their shows. Except for that one scene. I don’t know, I just felt like the band thing was a weak attempt to introduce another story focus other than the romance. Emphasis on Weak. Fun, yes. Relevant, no.
I know a lot of people will like this book. It’s a sweet YA romance. It is cute. But it’s not really my thing. I like for there to be something else going on in addition to romance. Any other kind of focus or conflict would do; Something to make the story more interesting. So if you’re looking for a nice romance with lots of introspection and DTRing, this is your book. If you’re like me and need something else along with it, you might want to look for something else.
Sexual Content: Moderate