I am vociferously passionate about good books. And I hate adverbs.
I am profoundly allergic to random usage of POC just to have one in a story. If a man is a man of color, make that a part of his character; make that part of why his father reacts in specific ways, why he himself dresses in a way that might feel uncomfortable to others. Make the color a part of him.
Tate is a POC. His father is the town mayor in Alabama. Holy moly, but there is a story here! Unfortunately, it was never even touched. Color had no impact on the story, which is out the window and completely unreasonable.
Here, all that Tate’s color was good for was for the author to enthuse over his looks, and use color-words, expressions that would never be used describing a Caucasian. Some examples? Why, of course, I shall even add a little suggestion for how to describe a Caucasian man in the same sprit after each one:
His skin was light brown, like the color of one of the old-fashioned milkshakes the diner served. (Wow!!! Like saying, “His skin was light, like the color of mayonnaise.” We would never describe color like this for a white person).
It softened the mocha tone of his skin. (No, please. Okay, I’m going to go with “It softened the rose-petal pink tone of his skin.” Right. Would you ever write that about a white boy? No, I didn’t think so).
The way the moonlight glowed on Tate’s mocha skin made him… (Yeah, again with the mocha. Let’s try is out for a white person: “The way the moonlight glowed on Tate’s milky complexion…” perhaps? This becomes ridiculous quite fast).
Enough already, I’m not going to show more examples. Suffice it to say that there were more, and never about one of the white boys. If you would never use it for a Caucasian, why would you use it for a POC? Arrggh.
The story. Well, now, anyone who has read a review of mine knows that I am a firm believer in single POV. If there are more Points-of-View in a story, I’d like to know beforehand, and I would also like the transition to be smooth and explicit from one POV to the next. Here, it was guesswork, once I realized I was in a new head, I had already read four of five (confusing) paragraphs.
See, switching POVs is a powerful tool, if used right. If not, it just feels like shoddy writing skills, the author needing to go into the head of the different characters to expose the story. So, yeah, no, I’m not a fan.
In this story we switch between all four boys, which confused me as I mixed them up with each other, and when we come back to the first two POVs again towards the end, some stuff has just been dropped, and a jump has been made in the love story that simply didn’t make sense. Now wait for it:
And then the book ends, before the story is finished. I turn the page, and there is no more. And that’s when I find out that it was part one of a series. A series that clearly doesn’t have complete start/end to each of its storylines. Well. Hoo-bloody-raay. Nowhere does it say that it is a series. Nowhere.
Multiple POVs. WIPs. This was so not my book.
There were errors in this story that made me shudder, typos and terminology usage that drove me up the wall (apostrophe abuse (“I didn’t have those feelin’s”), terminology abuse (“…so he couldn’t see the affect his hotness had on Tate’s lower body” let’s try with “effect” instead); (“Though that didn’t make much since” let’s use “sense” instead), typos (“…as his laughed died down” use “laughter” instead); (“…definitely more matured than they were now” use “mature”), terminology usage like orbs for eyes (even going to the extreme olive-brown orbs” for heaven’s sake) (“push-to-talk phone” when walkie-talkie is perfect and also used a page later for the same gadget).
Where in the world was the editor? Not only is the storyline chopped up and parts of it swallowed, the typos and errors are truly irritating.
Not impressed at all, which is sad, as the story itself could have engaged me a lot. The setting in a traveling carnival was absolutely gorgeous, and it could have been elaborated into a seriously cool thing. Especially working with POC, gay teens, and the deep south—so many fantastic things could have been done with this. Unfortunately they didn’t happen.
I know quite a few people who think this is a good thing, and to those people I say: Go ahead, you will love this book.
I didn’t. It made me angry. All of it.
I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, Harmony Ink Press, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.