Top critical review
CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK -- the annoying spawn of their parents
April 28, 2019
Sawdust is in the bread. You’ve all drunk the Kool-aid. The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. Choose whatever metaphor or analogy you want, but wake up readers! Harsh as it is, this author basically keeps telling some version of the same recycled story. From book to book, grammatical errors and writing issues continue without improving. Fact: This is not good writing and it says something that none of these glowing reviews manage to notice the glaring flaws. If you stripped away all the overwritten and badly written parts, there’s a good storyline in there, but her attempts at being clever or edgy also get in the way. I truly liked Sparrow, Vicious. Defy and Dirty Headlines, but monotony set in with the others, even as I hold out hope that each new book will be different.
I like a good bully to lovers story as much as the next reader and there are plenty of authors who do it quite well. Technically, however, in this case both MCs are bullies, so bully overkill. And heroine Daria seriously puts the mean in mean girls. There wasn’t even a commendable motive for her meanness other than extreme envy and jealousy of others having what she covets. With this first book in the new series, we’re down to the spawn of the Hotholes and nothing has changed. They’re vile, cold, cruel, spoiled and nearly soulless. It was tempered somewhat by the fact that both MCs mask their true feelings behind the bullying, but wading through all the writing issues just wore me out.
Here’s the skinny. Rich high school senior Daria Followhill is the daughter of Jaime and Melody from the novella Defy (a student/teacher romance). Hero Penn Scully is a poor boy/athlete from the wrong side of the tracks. Daria commits some mean girl sabotage with terrible consequences that make an unwitting accomplice of Penn involving his twin sister and he blames Daria for the serious fallout – hence his hatred of her. Under terrible circumstances, Penn later winds up homeless. Ironically, Daria’s mom invites Penn to live with their family, which puts the mutual bullies under the same roof without Daria’s mom knowing the history between them. Sparks fly in more ways than one.
I actually like the concept of how Daria and Penn meet over lemonade iced tea and a first kiss. “Kismet. Kiss-met. Fate.” It was swoony with future potential about their “firsts” and it was done in an inventive way. There’s trepidation and grit to the consequences of a single act having a ripple effect for years to come and making enemies of the star-crossed couple. Plus, there were some intriguing connections between the characters. BUT … I hate the general behavior of these teens (probably why I also have issues with author Tijan’s books) and I didn’t care for either of the MCs, despite their reasons for acting the way they do. It always feels so OTT with this author.
The problem is I don’t know what the author is saying half the time – half-baked setups, unclear explanations, and vaguely worded dialogue that tries to be overly clever and often misses the mark, probably due to obvious lack of proofreading. So much of her writing is nonsensical or confusing with overly descriptive prose that falls flat. Many sentences fail miserably, using extended metaphors and analogies to make a point, and made-up slang terms that aren’t clever or witty.
“The paper hisses.” -- How does paper do that?
“Pouring the lemonade on the remains for good measure when her blue eyes twinkled the request” -- No idea what that phrase means
He kept saying she has “skull eyes” – no idea what that means either
“What in the name of the Holy Spirit and Kylie Jenner’s Botox Fairy is happening?” -- good question, so lame
“I’ve met socks more sophisticated than his @$s -- lame again
I like parts quite well, but not all of it. Yes, there’s romance, but truthfully these spoiled kids are generally despicable and far too jaded, cynical and older-than-their-years to hold my interest, not to mention story execution problems.