In the third
I really like Simone Elkeles--even when I don't love her novels, I usually at least enjoy her writing style. Unfortunately, I don't think her writing style is very evident in this book, and if we're being honest I kind of hated it.
It all started with the prologue. Have I mentioned I hate prologues? YES. That link is proof that I have. Having a prologue in a book is one thing--it certainly doesn't create a good first impression, but usually I just skip it and go along my merry reading way--but having a prologue and not even having the common courtesy to label it as such?! THE RAGE, IT BURNS.
Aside from the prologue, though, this felt like a giant phone-in sesh. The characters are pretty dull: Luis is way too Everyman to have any personality; and I'm not sure what his girlfriend Nikki is supposed to be, but I'm guessing it wasn't the pathetic bitch she came off as. Not to mention the characters' motivations--and I use that word loosely--were ridiculously transparent. Take this paragraph from the prologue:
I vow to forget about Marco and forget about our baby who never had a chance. Luis Fuentes reminded me that I'm still vulnerable. If I'm emotionally unavailable, then I don't have to worry about ever getting hurt. When this nightmare is over... Nikki Cruz will no longer be vulnerable.Gee, thanks for spelling that out for us! I might not have caught onto the emotional subtleties of your neurosis without it. Or how about this soliloquy from a secondary character. You see, Luis...
That day I promised myself I'd find a way out... and when I did, I became a cop so I could stop other kids from making the same mistakes me and my friends did.Aw, hello after school special! My point is, there was a lot of telling in this book and not a lot of showing. I get the sense Elkeles wanted to tell a particular type of story here, but she couldn't really do it with the characters she decided to write about, so a lot of the emotional stuff in the book feels really manufactured, including the "romance" between Luis and Nikki.
There's always a certain amount of silliness in these novels, but it doesn't bother me because I usually love the characters and the hero and heroine have great chemistry. Here I actively disliked one of the characters, didn't really care about the other one, and there was no believable attraction between them, which made for a pretty boring book. And don't even get me started on the ridiculous ending.
Obviously I was pretty disappointed in this novel, but at least the series is finally over and we can all move on with our lives.
Musical notes: "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo Green