In Scratch, Casey is a college senior with a traumatic past. To escape the nightmares and memories, she turns to music, and passes many nights DJing at a local club. When she’s not DJing, she’s locked in her room, studying alone, afraid to let people in – that is, until Daniel from her philosophy class starts chipping away at the walls she’s built up.
The award for least relatable heroine goes to Casey. I could not stand this girl throughout the book. Why must everything be an argument with her? Daniel kisses her. She runs away. Daniel takes her on a date. She throws a fit. Daniel tries to help her get past the events of her childhood. She all but breaks up with him. Daniel tries to tell her that he’s sick of fighting and just wants to make her happy, and she throws her tortured past in his face.
Casey is perfectly happy going somewhere with Daniel after class, perfectly comfortable talking to him at a party, but her danger bells go off when he offers to take her out at night. Casey’s danger alarm goes off constantly. I think her favorite word is “dangerous.” As in, “This was dangerous, to let myself even be this close to him.” Everything is dangerous to Casey, not because there’s actually a sense of danger, but because she may develop feelings for someone, and we can’t have that.
Casey is also an idiot. She refuses to discuss her music with anyone, or tell anyone that she makes her own songs. Yet, somehow, of course, she’s able to tell Daniel. She says, “I couldn’t believe I was talking so openly about music with him. But I got the feeling that he would understand.”
Casey, sweetie, 99% of people would understand. Music is this universal thing. Most people like it. Most people would think it’s cool that you’re creating your own songs. Have you never spoken to a human before?
It was exhausting to read about this girl.
Add to that the fact that these girls talked like they’re from the late 90’s:
“You look like you’re about to devour someone,” I replied drolly.
She giggled. “Oh yes! I totally am. Ta-ta for now!”
I have not heard anyone say “ta-ta for now” since I was in elementary school. This is supposed to be a contemporary novel. The girls have cell phones and discuss Facebook, yet they talk and dress like they’re out of the 90’s.
Actually, the whole book is rather poorly written. It’s hard to write a believable story in the first person, especially when it’s a romance like this. Characters describing the things that are happening to them is just uncomfortable – I much prefer third person. Some examples of the awkward writing:
My core tightened; my belly fluttered.
The thumb on his right hand brushed against my thigh then moved up my leg, to the crease between my thigh and torso.
Ugh. So unattractive.
The premise of the book was good, but the writing was very formulaic (I could almost predict each conflict, what it would be, and where in the book it would occur), it was much too angsty, and very poorly executed. Typically, the books I receive from Netgalley are uncorrected proofs. There’s no indication either way about whether this is an uncorrected or final copy. I hope that it’s uncorrected and that an editor will be able to go in and polish the awkward writing, at least. In the end, I give Scratch 1.5/5 stars, rounded up to 2.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.
Final rating: ★★☆☆☆