Top critical review
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Really not that great
on 20 May 2015
Interesting premise, but really weak execution, with a lot of implausible moments. The book is narrated by four characters - Allison, Brynn, Claire and Charm - and to be honest it really doesn't need to be. Charm, although my favourite character, did not need to have her story told in a separate narrative. It's also a confusing device, as for some reason Allison and Brynn tell their story in first person, whereas the other two women's sections are in third. Why? It's furthermore confusing because Claire and Charm are introduced about eight sections in, and it's not clear for sometime how they relate to the story - in another book this might be intriguing, here it was just annoying.
The book could have done with being longer. It ends abruptly - Claire for instance doesn't get a final section, which feels wrong. There were also areas that really needed to be developed more. Like Allison and Christopher's relationship, which was - and came across as - a plot device. Why did she go for him when she previously never looked at boys? What made him special? Christopher was a big unknown in the book and could have done with appearing more prominently in flashbacks, both Allison's and Charm's, to give contrasting points of view.
This novel does have plot twists I didn't see coming but only because some of them, frankly, were so stupid! Other stupid things were Claire's decision - after having just had her bookstore raided - to employ an ex-con. Yes, that makes so much sense! It was also never explained why she turned down other ex-cons but took on Allison. I also found Brynn's actions at the end implausible as they hadn't been built up at all. Also, why was her grandmother so nice and the parents so awful?
I took a decision midway through the book to finish it rather than stop. I'm not sure if I should have bothered!