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For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m supposed to read “a popular author’s first book.”  I’ll be honest – I had some trouble finding a popular author.  Because if it’s a popular author that I actually like, I’ve probably already read their first book.  I thought about John Green, Marissa Meyer, Libba Bray, Colleen Hoover.  I thought about Chuck Palahniuk, Meg Cabot, Judy Blume, Tamora Pierce.  I looked through lists of books by Sarah Dessen, J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Perkins, Cassandra Clare. Nothing really spoke to me.

Then, on a whim, I realized I had ordered Wicked Lovely, which just so happens to be Melissa Marr’s first book.  At 30 distinct works and almost 320,000 ratings, I think she qualifies as a popular author.  At least according to Goodreads.  Anyway, on to the review.

Aislinn has always been able to see faeries.  It runs in the family.  And since she was a little girl, her Grams has always reminded her of the rules.  Don’t attract the faeries.  Don’t look at the faeries.  Certainly don’t speak to the faeries.  And Aislinn has always followed these rules… until Keenan, the Summer King, starts courting her, and turns her life upside down.

This book came out when I was in high school.  (I feel really old saying that.)  Back then, the praise was incessant.  "This book is so amazing,“ they said.  "Aislinn is so feisty and awesome,” they said.  "It’s such a great story,“ they said.  I was so excited to read this book, but for some reason, it took me eight years.

And, now that I’ve read it, really none of those things are true.

At best, this story is mediocre.  It’s not well-developed.  The plot just kind of meanders along, dragging around the possibility of romance between Aislinn and her best friend, Seth, while the possibility of Keenan ruining everything never quite goes away.  It’s actually painfully obvious that this is the author’s first book.  That, and the fact that nobody wanted to polish this story to be the gem it could have been – with a little more effort.

I was more or less indifferent to Aislinn and her struggles.  I wasn’t swayed by Keenan’s supposed charms.  (Possibly because the only Keenan I’ve ever known was something of a jerk?  That and shiny, superhumanly beautiful men are not a weakness of mine.)  I saw all the plot twists coming.  Aislinn’s friends and their drinking, drugs, piercings, and sexual exploits didn’t excite me the way they might have when I was 17.  In fact, it kind of made me sad.  Kids throwing their lives away because of too little supervision, and all that.

The thing that got to me the most, I think, was Aislinn’s mortality being casually taken away from her.  Sure, she’s a little miffed, but she basically accepts it without too much of a fight.  She actually accepts most everything without much of a fight.  Oh, my whole life is about to change.  I won’t die.  Okay… if you say so… as long as I can keep Seth…

There’s so little conflict, so little angst, so little of any emotion other than teenage hormones in this book that I had trouble connecting with the characters.  Even when Aislinn panics, thinking she might have unknowingly lost her virginity when drunk on faery wine, there’s a sort of blasé attitude about it, like well, things happen and I’d hoped my first time would be special, but oh well.

All in all, it’s just disappointing, and I wish I’d read the mountain of negative reviews before diving headfirst into this book.  It’s a quick read, but I can’t say that it’s worth the time, and I won’t be reading the rest of the series.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #15: a popular author’s first book.

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