21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Jessica Sotelo (Angie & Jessica's Dreamy Reads)
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
There was so much to like about this book. The plot... Ali, a dancer grieving after the recent loss of her mother relocates to Florida with her absentee father where she meets Drew, a popular swimmer at her high school, who also happens to be fighting demons of his own. The characters, even the secondary ones, were really likeable.
The writing is good. With this being Kathryn Andrews debut novel, it was a refreshing surprise to see that she's a talented writer, without a doubt. There are certainly things that will come with time and experience, a bit of polishing of her writing style, but for a first time author, her writing pleasantly surprised me. This story doesn't read like a debut novel. The writing is really good, the story is captivating and interesting. The characters drew me in with their respective personal problems, their heartbreaking secrets and their individual personalities. The only sign that this story comes from a "newbie author" came with how wordy the story was at times. Sometimes the story felt a little drawn out, like I was waiting for something pivotal to the plot to happen. But for the greater majority of the book, it was a fluid read.
Despite my appreciation for the plot and the characters in this book, the pacing and the timing took away from my enjoyment of this book. For me, it felt so drawn out, like huge expanses of time passed by without anything pivotal to the story happening. It's hard to explain, but I just grew bored. I needed more action or more meat... something to keep me engaged. The author does a lot of telling, rather than showing. I reached a point in the story where Ali and Drew had apparently been together for six months. I knew this because I was told so, but I never saw it or felt it so I couldn't emotionally commit to this relationship. I can't believe in something I haven't seen build and grow. Another point, late in the story, Drew states that his mother knows about Ali... but again, when did that happen? When chapters would break and then pick up weeks later, I felt like I missed important facets in the build and development in the story. The dynamic between Drew and Ali was changing, growing, and I was missing it.
At times, I felt the characters were a bit oblivious on a level that took away from the believability of the story. Almost two months had passed and Ali didn't realize Drew lived directly across the street? Both were completely blindsided by the fact that despite their coexistence in roughly the same circle at school, that the other even knew their name. Ali never realized Drew sat directly behind her in class for weeks? I just found it all a bit unrealistic. The fact that these two people both happen to turn TWENTY soon, but are straight A students in high school is bizarre. I'm not sure what the point was of making these characters so old, yet still in high school, other than to make a sexual relationship seem appropriate and to make it believable that Ali is left on her own so long. Other than that, the story would have worked so much better if they'd been 17. Then the Cassidy situation took things a bit over the top for my taste. The setting up of the relationship by their parents, the expelling of Ali for the vandalism even though there were security cameras present the whole time... it was all a bit farfetched. I'm just one reader, but as this one reader, I prefer things to come across as believable, even in my fictional choices. Though minor in the grand scheme of things, these little details detracted from what has potential to be a really great story.
My biggest issue with the story structure was how drawn out it felt. Important scenes (like the fight with Drew and his dad, Ali's audition) are rushed and completely glossed over, but other inconsequential scenes are detailed and seem to drag on and on. I felt like I missed the details of the more important parts, the parts that would have connected me more with the story.
Despite my criticisms, this was a good story with good writing. With this debut, Kathryn Andrews undeniably demonstrates her strengths as a writer. I'm very much looking forward to Beau's story and to see how this author grows and develops with each subsequent story in this series.