To be honest, I shouldn’t have liked it at all. It’s the trashiest of trashy romance novels. It has a gorgeous protagonist, an alpha male (hate them) and filthy rich trash as a cast of characters. The plot is sketchy at best, it explores no issues and there is not an ounce of diversity.
And I couldn’t put it down.
How the author (authors - Erin Watt is actually two people) had the gall to call this a YA book, I have no idea. The characters in it may be sixteen, but in terms of attitude and life experiences, they’re more like jaded thirty-somethings.
And still I couldn’t put it down.
Seriously, it was like the damn book was superglued to my hands. The pages might just as well have been made of crack. I devoured the whole thing in less than a day and even though I’m skint, I cheerfully forked out £4.39 for the sequel immediately afterwards. Because after THAT ENDING there was no way I’d be able to function without finding out what happened next. Seriously, I have no idea how people who bought this book the day it came out managed until the second book was released.
So the premise of the book is that Ella, our protagonist, was raised by her single mum (a stripper - obvs). When her mum got cancer, Ella started stripping too (at age fifteen!) to pay her medical bills and when her mum died and Ella carried on stripping to pay the bills and avoid going into foster care. Then one day, she gets tracked down by the best friend of her bio dad (who died in a handgliding accident - obvs), who has decided he is her legal guardian. Throw in some hot foster-brothers, a rotten-to-the-core prep school and some evil girlfriends, and you’ve got a high-octane book that reads like a whirlwind of lust and angst.
Sounds like a soap opera, doesn’t it? It reads like one, too. Kind of a cross between Jilly Cooper and Cruel Intentions - basically a load of jaded rich folk being mean to everyone, shagging anything that moves and taking a shit load of booze and drugs.
The whole thing doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. Like, when I really think about it, Ella nd Reed don’t have a whole bunch in common. They don’t have any great conversations and they have some pretty bad trust issues. And really, would any parent be aware of the things the Royal brothers get up to and not intervene? And is anyone really that good looking that people will literally fight to have sex with them??
The thing is, there’s just something about the characters, plot and writing that makes you stick your hands over your ears and go, ’LA LA LA LA!’ when your brain tries to point any of this out. It’s uncanny.
I always rate books on how much I liked them, as opposed to how ‘good’ they are. Which is lucky for Erin Watts, because she (they) haven’t written a ‘good’ book. It will win no Pulitzer Prizes. However, I’m still giving it five stars, because I literally couldn’t put the damn thing down.