Book Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Borrowed

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 

Fun fact: I wasn’t planning to read The Bromance Book Club. Between the title and the synopsis, I really wasn’t interested. But then I saw the cover reveal for the third book in the series and found out it’s about the owner of a cat cafe, and well, here we are. Needless to say, based on that shining one-star rating (the first of the year!), I will not be continuing on with this series.

Unpopular opinion time, because I’m definitely in the minority for this one.

Initially, I didn’t hate this book. I was mostly ambivalent until the halfway point, and then something happened and I just kind of snapped. I want to make it really clear that my main objection to this book is based on my own personal experiences and the bad memories this book brought back, and I can completely understand how people who like second chance romances and books about married couples getting their act together might enjoy this. I was going to try to keep this to a short and sweet mini-review, but the thoughts just kept coming. I’m going to put this very long and very personal rant under a read more tag in case of spoilers.

Click here for a rant.The premise of this book is that Thea and Gavin have been married for three years and it’s just not working. The communication is awful on both sides, with Thea thinking Gavin doesn’t care and Gavin deluding himself into thinking that everything is fine. Thea asks for a divorce. Gavin doesn’t accept it.

The thing is, I’ve been Thea. Not married, but in a long-term relationship of ten years, with our lives entirely built around each other, or, I guess I should say, my life entirely built around his. I’ve had a partner hide from big, uncomfortable conversations, thinking that if we just didn’t address the elephant in the room, it didn’t exist. I’ve had a partner that expected me to carry the whole relationship. I’ve had that “why didn’t you just say you weren’t happy” conversation more times than I can count, and somehow he still “didn’t know” I wasn’t happy. I’ve been accused of “not trying” when all I did for years was try. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve lived the first part of this book, with one difference — I got out. I cut off contact. And Thea might be a fictional character, but I’m so sad for her, because I didn’t even realize how unhappy I was until I moved on with my life. When you’re in a bad relationship, you know it. If your gut is telling you to get out, get out.

Because the thing is, people show you their real selves after you’ve lived together for a while. It’s easy to be polite and helpful and emotionally available for short periods of time, especially if there’s a lot at stake. I can’t tell you how many times my ex told me he’d change, he’d work on himself, he’d do whatever I wanted, we could get married and start a family right now, if only we could get back together. But did he change? No. Of course not. Sure, he’d be nice for a bit, but then he’d go right back to how he’d been, or worse, because he was mad that I’d broken up with him. If I’ve learned one thing in my 29 years on this planet, it’s that people don’t change. You can quit a bad habit. You can’t completely overhaul who you are. Who you’ve been for the last three (or, in my case, ten) years is you, and eventually those personality traits are going to come right back out.

It was little things that Gavin would do that took me right back to that bad relationship. There’s this scene where Thea has two sick toddlers, both of them vomiting (and, side note, why is there so much vomiting in this book?!), and she asks Gavin to grab her some towels. He asks her where they keep the towels, and she looks at him, kind of incredulous, and says something like, “Where we’ve kept the towels as long as we’ve lived here.” And it comes out that Gavin doesn’t even know where the linen closet is. Even after she explains to him exactly where the towels are, he comes back and says there aren’t any in the closet when they’re right there. This is exactly the kind of thing my ex would do and it absolutely infuriated me to read about it.

“You make it sound like things were horrible between us, Thea. They weren’t.”
“Is that the highest standard you aim for? Not horrible?”


Replace “Thea” with “Sara” and you’ve got an exact transcript of probably the last fifteen conversations I had with my ex before I turned off all notifications for him and moved to a different apartment. It’s entirely possible that I’m interpreting all of Gavin’s behavior very differently because of my past experiences, but so many things he did and said came across as manipulative. Like, of course not every minute of the relationship was terrible. That doesn’t mean it was healthy and that doesn’t mean it needs to continue. Can Thea have some agency? Can she make a decision for herself?

More evidence of manipulation:
‣ Gavin must move back into the house and be allowed to kiss Thea every night for a month before he’ll allow her a divorce.
‣ Gavin makes Thanksgiving plans for Thea (without asking!) to hang out with a group of women that constantly berate her, gets mad when he finds out she’d already planned and bought everything to cook her own Thanksgiving dinner, guilts her into attending that event, and even goes so far as to tell her she should have asked him before making plans for herself. After she told him she wants a divorce. After he’d moved out of the house. Of course, this all ends badly when the women (as expected) spend the entire event berating her.
‣ Gavin also refuses to knock on the bedroom door before entering because it’s “his room too,” despite Thea telling him that one of her conditions for him moving back in would be him sleeping in the guest room.

I’m all too familiar with both the Thanksgiving thing and the bedroom thing, so I reacted more strongly to both of those than I think the average reader probably would.

I’m not trying to say that Thea was without her faults. She could have definitely communicated better, especially regarding the main conflict of the book, which isn’t that her husband is manipulative and never helps her, but that she’s been faking her orgasms for the entirety of their marriage. (Though I will say that I think Gavin’s reaction to learning that was a little… over the top.) I think both of the main characters in this book would have benefited from an honest, genuine conversation and a marriage counselor.

I’m also unclear on whether the author knows that there are ways to create conflict and tension that aren’t (a) lying, (b) assumptions and misunderstandings, (c) keeping secrets, and (d) vomiting, because that’s all any of the characters ever do in this book. Well, I guess they have a ton of sex in the second half, but that’s also not without its issues. It’s no wonder Thea never had any orgasms with Gavin because of how absolutely cringey he was in bed, telling Thea to have an orgasm over and over again until she’d lost the mood altogether. Also, he got so pouty when she didn’t have an orgasm, as if it was something she did on purpose! I mean, way to put more pressure on her to have one the next time. No wonder she faked it.

The last thing I want to say is that I had some real traumatic flashbacks when Thea’s sister told her that Gavin was hiding something in the guest room closet, because my ex actually did hide something in the guest room closet. Here I was expecting something bad, and it turned out to be… wait for it… a box of romance novels. God forbid. I wish I would have found a box of romance novels in my guest room closet.

Let me end this rant with two quotes that made me absolutely cringe:
‣ “He looked up with a smile that made Thea’s heart swipe right.” 😬
‣ “You have to find her emotional g-spot.” 🥴
‌ ‌

All of that said, I didn’t hate everything about this book. One thing I appreciated was that the male characters in this book tried to fight against typical gender roles. It was little things, like drinking pumpkin spice lattes and reading romance novels, but for famous athletes, who are so often depicted as almost cavemen in romance novels, it was a nice and refreshing change. I also thought that the premise of the book was great — a group of men reading romance novels in order to save their relationships. I don’t know how much that would actually help in real life, but it was cute that they were willing to try.

Unfortunately, those two small points weren’t enough for me to rate this book any higher than one star, and they definitely aren’t enough for me to recommend it or to continue on with this series. I’m incredibly disappointed, but as I said, I fully realize that my major problems with this book were specific to me and my personal experiences and not anything to do with the book itself.


Have you read The Bromance Book Club? Are there any books you’ve disliked just because they brought back bad memories?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Source: Gift

Get the app. Get the guy.

Computer-whiz Audrey McCarthy feels most at home in a tech lab, surrounded by her fellow geeks. Once popular and fearless, she hasn’t been the same since her dad died. And her ex-best friend, gorgeous queen bee Blake Dawkins, has turned into her worst nightmare. Audrey is counting the minutes until high school is over and she can get the hell out of Dodge and go to college-that is, if she can find a scholarship.

So when Public Corporation, a giant tech company, announces a contest for the best app developed by a high schooler-with $200,000 in prize money-Audrey is spurred to action. She comes up with an idea so simple, yet so brilliant, she can’t believe it hasn’t been done: the Boyfriend App. With a simple touch of the screen, romance blooms among the unlikeliest couples in high school, and people start to take notice. But it’s not quite enough.

To beat out the competition, Audrey will have to dig deeper. And she does-right into a scandal that would rock Public to its core. Suddenly the Boyfriend App lands Audrey where she never expected to be: in the middle of the limelight, passionately kissed by the hottest guys in school, causing complete and utter mayhem. But can it bring her true love?

Buddy read with my boyfriend!

Oh, goodness. I’m not even sure where to start with this one. My boyfriend and I went into this one knowing that it would be terrible, and I guess that means we weren’t disappointed. (Although we kind of were, because it was really bad.)

I had a lot of thoughts while reading this one, but I didn’t flag all of them and I condensed a lot because I just want to be done with this thing. Below are twelve thoughts I had while reading The Boyfriend App. Surprisingly, I managed to find twelve spoiler-free thoughts!

Direct quotes are in bold.

  1. “Annborg was obsessed with Blake. She started a fan website called OMGluvUBlakeGodBlessBlakeandAmerica.com, where she posted photos. She captioned the photos with things like Thirsty Blake drink water from fountain. Or, Blake wear shiny shoe with pointy toe.” ALRIGHT. So Annborg is a foreign exchange student from a nondescript European country. Her function in the story is to be obsessed with Audrey’s former best friend/current worst enemy Blake while providing comic relief in the form of using bad English, getting caught masturbating, and having a crush on another girl. It made me mad.
  2. “Blake had enough boyfriend-getting power for both of us. A few tables away, her BF (lacrosse king Xander Knight) was busy being hot and stoic while the rest of her pack laughed and pointed at my lunch table.” I flagged this on page seven and it turns out that this is basically the entire 312-page book in two sentences.
  3. “Every part of Blake was tanned and toned — even her boobs. Like Jennifer Aniston. Or Jessica Rabbit.” I’d put this in MenWritingWomen on Reddit if it were written by a man. Since it was written by a woman, I’m just going to sit here shaking my head. Also, how does one go about toning breast tissue?
  4. “Blake smirked, and her beauty mark popped like a punctuation mark.” Sounds painful, yikes.
  5. “Anyway. Besides the XXXPhone (for adults only) that tanked in the marketplace, the Public product creators were geniuses…” So does the XXXPhone come pre-loaded with porn, or…?
  6. “She bounced a little and her droopy water-balloon boobs got a second wind.” I mean… rude.
  7. “She lifted her skinny arm and gestured to our window like she was Vanna White and our apartment was a vowel.” There are so many strange descriptions in this book.
  8. “The lunchroom smelled like new tires mixed with spaghetti.” Well, that’s specific.
  9. “‘I’m nervous, too, Audrey,’ Dr. Gurung said (nervously).” HE SAID NERVOUSLY.
  10. “‘And Janie and I were once much more than friends,’ she said. ‘We were girlfriends.'” Thank you for, once again, using sexual orientation as a plot twist. Also, who the heck says it like that? It just sounds so unnatural! And why is a teacher sharing her romantic history with one of her students?
  11. “At least the building was a rectangle.” What a relief!
  12. “Everyone seemed genuinely sick of anything having to do with me and returned to ignoring my existence.” I am also genuinely sick of anything having to do with Audrey and cannot wait to ignore her existence.

Okay, so I think we’ve established that the writing is kind of a mess. Now I want to talk about the plot, which is probably the most problematic thing I read in 2019, and I read some pretty bad stuff.

Some spoilers below.

The whole point of this book is that Audrey enters an app-coding competition in hopes of winning money for college. That’s cool. Her first app is fine. It’s a kind of generic dating app that matches users based on a personality test. Turns out that high school students are shallow, though, and aren’t always willing to be seen with someone just because their personalities might be compatible.

So Audrey goes ahead and makes a new app that uses some soundwave technology to manipulate emotions. With the new Boyfriend App 2.0, girls just point their phones in the direction of a boy that they like and he’s instantly obsessed with them. The boys will immediately be overtaken with lust, kissing them, grabbing them, presumably willing to do anything with them. Is it just me, or this incredibly… rapey. (It’s not just me. This is literally sexual assault.)

There is not one single character in this entire book that has a problem with it.

Oh, people criticize Audrey for plenty of things. There’s a lot of controversy over her app. But not because she created something that allows girls to sexually assault boys, but because she’s used some proprietary technology to do it.

In the end, there’s basically no resolution of anything aside from the romance. This book is a mess.


Have you read The Boyfriend App? What’s the most problematic book you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: The Kitchen, Paper Girls Vol. 6, and Emily the Strange

The Kitchen by Ollie Masters
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Source: Borrowed

New York City, late 1970s. Times Square is a haven for sex and drugs. The city teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, while blackouts can strike at any moment. This is the world of THE KITCHEN.

The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives—Kath, Raven and Angie—decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop.

THE KITCHEN takes one of the most popular genres in entertainment and, like The Sopranos, reimagines it for a new generation to present a classic gangster story told from a fresh point of view.

Written by talented newcomer Ollie Masters with stunning art by Ming Doyle (Mara) and killer covers by Becky Cloonan (GOTHAM ACADEMY, Killjoys, DEMO), THE KITCHEN is not to be missed.

Collects THE KITCHEN #1-8.

I hadn’t heard of The Kitchen before searching for books that I hadn’t already read that were becoming movies, but it was available on Hoopla and it sounded interesting enough. This graphic novel takes a very simple concept — what if a bunch of mobsters went to prison and their wives took over — and attempts to turn it into a story about gender roles.

I can’t really say that it succeeds, because there’s little difference between the husbands and wives. The women, understandably, want to be taken seriously, but their way of being taken seriously is basically just being very, very violent. Mob stories in general aren’t my favorite, and this one just didn’t have enough outside of the standard grisly murder scenes to keep my interest.

I can see how this could be expanded into a decent movie, but as a graphic novel, it left me disappointed.

#ps19: a book becoming a movie in 2019


Paper Girls, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Source: Borrowed

THE END IS HERE!

After surviving adventures in their past, present and future, the Paper Girls of 1988 embark on one last journey, a five-part epic that includes the emotional double-sized series finale. Featuring a new wraparound cover from Eisner Award-winning co-creator CLIFF CHIANG, which can be combined with the covers of all five previous volumes to form one complete mega-image!

Collects PAPER GIRLS #26-30

Paper Girls has been kind of hit or miss for me, wavering between “um, it’s fine” and “wow, that was actually pretty good,” depending on the volume. I was pretty excited when I saw that the final volume was out. I’d definitely been missing Vaughan’s work.

The final volume definitely falls into the “um, it’s fine” category. A lot happens and, honestly, it’s a little confusing. But as usual, the characters are great and the art is amazing. This isn’t my favorite of Vaughan’s work, but I’m glad I read it.


Emily the Strange by Rob Reger
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 19, 2002
Source: Borrowed
Emily the Strange is not your ordinary thirteen-year-old girl — she’s got a razor-sharp wit as dark as her jet-black hair, a posse of moody black cats and famous friends in very odd places! She’s got a broodingly unique way of experiencing the world, and you’re invited along for the ride. Legions of fans worldwide have joined forces to make Emily a pop-culture phenomenon.

I’ve seen Emily the Strange stuff for years without really knowing what it was all about. I needed a book that someone was reading in a movie or on a TV show, and this was on the Gilmore Girls book list, so I went for it.

I am confused.

Because there’s no story.

That can be okay depending on how it’s done. I mean, graphic novels can just be a collection of short stories. But I want it to at least tell me something, not just show me an edgy teenage girl doing edgy things. I guess the title is accurate because I was lost, the story was dark, and it was incredibly boring.

#ps19: a book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie


Have you read any of these books? What’s the best graphic novel you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . .

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.

I’d been interested in reading Opposite of Always ever since I saw it on a list of 2019 debuts, and I was pretty excited when I saw that the audiobook was available through my library. After reading it, you could say I’m angry angry, because this book was some nonsense.

Look, I understand that you need to suspend some disbelief in a lot of novels. I also understand that you need to suspend a lot of disbelief when it comes to time travel novels. But this book? There is not enough disbelief in the entire world for me to suspend and have this book make any sense.

But I’ll get there.

First I want to talk about everything else.

I guess I’m going to start with what seems to be a trend in YA literature these days — romantic relationships between high school and college students. I know that it happens all the time, both in real life and in fiction, but for me, there’s no way around it. It’s creepy. Even if it’s just a one-year difference in age, there is a huge difference in maturity between someone who lives with their parents and someone who is in college, living in a dorm, away from home.

The second thing I want to talk about is the pacing. This book is 464 pages. That is insanely long for a YA contemporary. It’s also about twice as long as it needs to be since so much of the book is repetitive. And I was bored the entire way through. It’s just one irrelevant thing after another happening, and even when relevant things happen, they don’t make sense.

And now we get to my third point — the blatant medical inaccuracies in this book.So, you really expect me to believe that a doctor has the cure for sickle cell anemia just hidden away in his office and the FDA hasn’t come looking for it? You really expect me to believe that a doctor would violate HIPAA just because he feels bad for some random kid who has an emotional investment in a college student’s case? You really expect me to believe that this doctor happily takes calls from this random kid to discuss the specifics of his super secret super expensive sickle cell treatment? That’s not how medicine works, and the way that Kate describes the financial piece of her treatments? That’s not how insurance works. As the former billing manager of a medical office and someone who now literally works for a major insurance company, I think I’d know. I just read the author’s bio and saw that he’s actually a registered nurse and I am even more upset, because he should know better.

So back to what I said at the beginning about suspending disbelief.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the random time travel in YA books recently, but I, for one, am sick of it. What was the point of it in this book? Jack repeats the same three months over and over again so that he, the high school student, can try to save Kate’s life. Because, yes, the high school student is clearly going to save Kate when a bunch of trained physicians could not.

I feel like, if you want to write a book like this, with the love interest being very sick and on the verge of dying, you have to be very careful to not come across as a rip-off of hundreds of similar books that have come before you. Personally, when I see the words “because Kate dies” in a synopsis, I’m already rolling my eyes. This particular plot has been done so many times that it’s going to be hard to make it unique. Similarly, the “living the same day over and over until you get it right” thing has been done to death. There was nothing particularly new or interesting about the time loops in this book, so it really just came across like the author knew that books about sick kids, books about time travel, and YA contemporary romance are selling well, so he decided to combine them all together to make a surefire hit.

Also…When Kate’s dad lectures Jack that he needs to break up with Kate because she’s dying, I did two things. First, I rolled my eyes, because how many times has a YA dad told his daughter’s boyfriend to break up with her because he just didn’t like their relationship? But, second, it kind of came across like, “Yeah, Kate’s dying. Let’s take away this one piece of happiness she has while she’s still on this planet.” Like, honestly. Where is the logic here?

All in all, I felt that this book played out very stereotypically. Everything that happened was predictable, even the twists. The fantastical time-travel aspect kind of comes out of nowhere and isn’t particularly well-done. The book is overly long and I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters or what happened to them. There was a ton of odd dialogue and weird choices, like Jack’s best friend’s father being referred to as “the coupon.” (What??)

I was excited about this one, but now I’m just disappointed.


Have you read Opposite of Always? Do you know of any books that did these tropes well?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake. 

Let me tell you something: I’m really sick of reading books that I’ve already read. And Neverworld Wake? I’ve read it several times. This book is a haphazard conglomeration of a lot of trends, but it especially reminded me of a few very popular YA books:

It would be fine if this book offered something new or interesting, but it doesn’t. We have the days repeating over and over again like in Before I Fall. We have the murder mystery with nobody wanting to share what they know like in One of Us Is Lying. We have the mysterious super rich children like in We Were Liars. Neverworld Wake borrows so many tropes and yet it somehow manages to do absolutely nothing.

The concept of the book is fine — Beatrice is hanging out with her old friends when a man knocks on the door and tells them that they have to decide who will live and who will die. Crazy, right? They brush it off and go on with their lives, but then they find that they’re living the same day over and over again. As the day repeats itself again and again, they try to find their way out of the Neverworld and solve the murder of Beatrice’s high school boyfriend.

The problem is that the book tries to do a lot of things and doesn’t end up doing any of them well. The writing itself is awkward, filled with ridiculous similes like “swirls of blond hair like sugar garnishes on thirty-four-dollar desserts” and metaphors like “we are all anthologies.” Like, I get what the author is trying to say, but writing like that just comes across as pretentious and unnecessary. Half the pages of this book could have probably been cut if they’d just gotten rid of all the unnecessary comparisons.

There are also continuity issues. You see, there’s a different between an unreliable narrator and forgetting what the heck you’re supposed to be writing. Neverworld Wake finds that line, crosses it, and keeps running. You can’t brush off a huge inconsistency in the plot as an unreliable narrator and just expect me to accept it. It doesn’t work like that.

I was so, so disappointed at the end of this book for multiple reasons, but one of those reasons IS A HUGE SPOILER, so click here if you want to find out what it was!So, basically, we follow these five characters for about three hundred pages as they try to piece together what happened to Beatrice’s beloved (or was he?? we may never know) boyfriend on the night that he died. They break into a police station to try to examine case files. They interrogate his family at gunpoint. They uncover a conspiracy to hide a totally unrelated murder from years before. Despite all of this detective work, at the end of the book, we find out that EVERYBODY ALREADY KNEW HOW JIM DIED BECAUSE EVERYBODY WAS SOMEHOW INVOLVED IN HIS DEATH. What a waste of my time. It’s been days since I finished this and I’m still mad.

This book was clearly not for me. I’ve heard good things about Pessl’s other books, so I might give her another try at some point. For now, though, I’m just going to move on to something that’s the polar opposite of this book.


Have you read Neverworld Wake? What’s a book that did an unreliable narrator well?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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