Full disclosure: I received a free copy of Selling Scarlett via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I’m still trying to figure out what to think about this book. It has its positives and negatives, its ups and downs, much like a lot of books I’ve read recently. Sometimes the action was flying off the pages so quickly I could hardly keep up, and other times I could hardly keep reading because absolutely nothing had happened for several chapters. From the description, it sounds like a fluffy romance, but there really isn’t much romance there. I’m still a little confused about what I just read.
Elizabeth is a former rich girl, heiress to an almost defunct bottled water company. Hunter is a billionaire poker player and whiskey heir who just can’t be bothered to settle down with a girl. When Elizabeth’s friend Cross gets in an accident and ends up in a coma, she decides to sell her virginity to pay his medical bills. Not wanting the transaction to be linked to her family, Elizabeth becomes “Scarlett” and heads to a Las Vegas brothel to prepare herself.
Honestly, throughout most of the book, I couldn’t decide whether the story was sad or creepy. Turns out it’s really neither, because that plot point takes a backseat to most of the action. Instead of focusing on this, what the book is marketed to be about, we really get a story about political corruption, sex slavery, child abuse, and drug abuse. Oh, and about 500 unnecessary characters who are named and given backstories, only to never be spoken of again. There’s not much resolution to any of these topics. Basically, Elizabeth just has to smile and everything is automatically better.
The book falls prey to many common cliches. Elizabeth and Hunter fall in insta-love after about a day? Maybe a week? I can’t really tell, since the timeline is confusing. Elizabeth is not at all put off by the fact that she finds Hunter strangling a woman at party, or by the fact that he’s the number one suspect in a murder investigation. Although she barely knows the guy (despite having a crush on him for basically her entire life), shejust knows that he isn’t like that. Elizabeth also describes herself as fat at the beginning of the book (why is this relevant?) and then tries a “caveman diet” and is suddenly skinny after like two days, because that’s how diets work. Also, everybody is constantly saying how beautiful and perfect this girl is, as if that’s all that matters in life. Elizabeth starts off having a personality at the beginning of the book (she’s a grad student studying ethics and has friends that she actually hangs out with) but by about 30% in, she’s just hanging off every word that Hunter says and ignoring him when he tells her to leave him alone. By the end of the book, her only personality trait is kindness. And somewhere in about the last ten pages, Hunter goes from constantly telling Elizabeth to leave him alone and just go home to spending every waking (and sleeping) moment with her? I don’t understand.
Still, for some reason, I kept coming back for more. Something must have kept me reading. Maybe I wanted to find out what happened to Sarabelle, the escort Hunter was accused of murdering. Maybe I wanted to find out if Cross would ever come out of his coma. I’m not really sure, but despite all the problems I had with the plot, I wanted to know what would happen next.
Final rating: 2.5/5 stars. I liked it enough to keep going, but will not be reading the second book in the series.
Note: The Kindle version of Selling Scarlett is currently free on Amazon.
[see my original review here]