Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: Trouble From the Start (Hawthorne)

AUTHOR: Rachel Hawthorne
SERIES: none
PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2015
ISBN: 9780062330710
PAGES: 400
SOURCE: Edelweiss
GENRE: romance
SETTING: nondescript USA beach town; likely Texas Gulf Coast (several references to college in Austin, TX; Avery wears Astros ballcap)
SUMMARY: Avery is a high school senior who is one week from graduating third in her class. Fletcher, also a senior at Avery's school, is unlikely to graduate. When Avery's father, a police detective, offers Fletcher a temporary place to stay, Avery begins to wonder if Fletcher's bad-boy reputation is deserved.

WHAT I LIKED: After a slow start, I got into the story and read most of it in one sitting. Trouble From the Start is your typical summer beach romance. I like the beach setting and the fact that Avery enjoys working and doesn't worry about high school drama too much. She doesn't like the rumors that start to circulate about her, and even though she's about to graduate and leave high school behind forever, she takes action to set the story straight. I like that she stands up for herself and goes out of her way to look out for other people. I also found Avery's desperation to get a boyfriend and be kissed to be very realistic for her character, especially given her best friend's constant PDA with her "perfect" boyfriend. More on that in a minute...

The romance unfurls in a realistic way. It's understandable that Fletcher would push away someone like Avery, and I like that it takes them a long time to call themselves a couple. But I do have to wonder how long this relationship will last--Avery seems so parental sometimes. I would think Fletcher, who has essentially been on his own for years, would get tired of her attempts to get him to eat his vegetables and answer her questions. He really does try to steer clear from her, and I respected him for that. Also, the defeat he feels in relation to his own graduation status is realistically portrayed, and I liked how that part of the story played out.

Yay! Involved parents! I liked Avery's parents and especially her little adopted brother Tyler. I love reading YA books that feature parents who are actually involved with their children. They eat meals with their children and talk to them about their day. They know what is going on in their lives. Love that.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Though I enjoyed reading it, but I won't remember it in a week. Avery is a "goody two-shoes" character who seems both too old and immature at the same time. Yes, this is realistic for this in-between age, but for some reason, I just didn't like Avery very much. One minute, she's a bossy, know-it-all, would-be parent to her little brother (and sometimes, Fletcher); the next minute, she's worried about what her parents think of her or that she's going to be in trouble for some small thing. Avery's back and forth behavior may be realistic for the age, but I had a hard time liking Avery. I wouldn't want to be friends with her--I'd always feel like I was doing something she deems as "wrong."

Though the viewpoint alternates between Avery and Fletcher's voices, I found the two voices to be so similar that I sometimes forgot who was speaking. I felt little chemistry between Avery and Fletcher and often wondered why Fletcher would have any interest in unspecial Avery at all.

This is another book with "Annoying Best Friend" syndrome. Avery's best friend Kendall constantly makes out with her boyfriend Jeremy in front of Avery. She talks about how lucky she is to have such a great boyfriend, and it seems like Jeremy is just always around when Kendall is there. Is it any wonder that Avery feels like a third wheel? Gag. I wouldn't want to spend more than two minutes around these two lovebirds, either.

Lots of "sighing" going on in this book. It happened enough that I noticed it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: It's okay. Read it if you like good girl-bad boy summer romances.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I have some of Rachel Hawthorne's other books, but I have no plans to get this one for my library. We already have too many bad boy + good girl romances as it is.

READALIKES: Thrill Ride (Hawthorne); Lola and the Boy Next Door (Perkins)

  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 2/5--so many good girl/bad boy romances right now!
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 3/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5

  • Language: mild; a few hells, slut
  • Sexuality: mild; some kissing, slut-shaming, best friend has sex (not described or even discussed), chest-lust
  • Violence: mild; abusive parent
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium; teens get drunk at parties, mention of drug-addicted parent

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