In Draw Me In, we’re sucked into the world of Hailey Jakes, an art students whose parents have decided to use her college fund to pay for their nasty divorce, and Neill Vanderhaven, a tattoo artist whose last relationship destroyed his ability to trust women.
When Hailey gets the call from her father saying that she needs to drop out because her college fund has been depleted, she decides she’s not going down without a fight. She takes to the streets, stopping in every restaurant and shop she comes across until she finds someone looking for help. The one place that’s hiring is Sinful Skin, the tattoo shop that Neill owns. Hailey and Neill are immediately attracted to each other, but for the sake of their jobs, they need to keep it professional. Add to that the news of Hailey’s parents’ divorce and Neill’s rocky history with women, and you get two people trying their hardest to avoid a relationship.
The premise of Draw Me In is fine; it’s the execution that could use some work.
The first thing that threw me off was the sheer angst running through each of Hailey and Neill’s interactions. Yes, Hailey’s parents are going through a divorce. My parents are divorced too, but that doesn’t mean that I feel like I’m somehow incapable of loving anyone. It just means that my parents weren’t right for each other. I thought that Hailey was going to have some deep, dark secret in her past that made her afraid to get close to someone. I couldn’t believe it was just because her parents were getting divorced. And Neill – I’m sorry, but I just didn’t understand what Gretchen had to do with anything. I don’t think that she was developed enough as a character to play the huge role that she did in Neill’s life. So she stole some money from him and took some drugs. You know, that’s not cool and obviously it’s good that he doesn’t trust her anymore, but to not be able to trust anybody is taking it a little far. When Neill revealed what had gone down with Gretchen, I was actually a little disappointed. After all it had been built up to be, the truth was kind of a letdown. I’ve been reading a lot of angsty romances lately, and these characters had some of the worst reasons for trust issues that I’ve seen so far.
Of course, the angst between Hailey and Neill doesn’t stop once they finally begin dating. No. Why would it?
Onto the hot mess that was her adviser, Dr. Fields. I mean, first off, why is a psych professor her art adviser? I don’t know how it works at other schools, my adviser was a professor in my major. How can somebody advise on a major they don’t know? Anyway, from the first mention of him, it’s clear that Dr. Fields is going to be a problem.
Draw Me In started out well enough, but the writing was too choppy and the pacing was off. I think that the story is good, and with some extensive editing, it would have been much better. It read like the author felt rushed while writing it and forgot to go back and check things like continuity and pacing. Despite all that, I did enjoy the story for what it was, and it is a very quick read. It would be the perfect book to read at the beach or on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Final rating: ★★★☆☆
Please note: Spoilers have been removed. Click through to Goodreads to read my full review.