Friday, 7 February 2014

Broken and Screwed (BS #1) by Tijan

Alexandra's older brother died the night he graduated. That day changed everything for her. No longer was she the party girl. No longer did she care about being popular and no longer was her family the happy unit she always thought existed. The only person who could help her heal is the same person who loved her brother as much as she did, his best friend. She only hopes to keep her entire heart from breaking when Jesse will move on, and she knows he will.
After Ethan died, Jesse excelled at basketball, partying, and girls. He used it all to turn his emotions off, but the irony was that Alex was the only person who could do that for him. She helped him forget, but she was the one person he shouldn't be with because the secrets he knows could shatter everything. They could shatter her.

I needed a stiff drink after reading this one. It seriously took me two days to figure out how to review this book.  Why?  Oh boy, well, because there were some elements that were really good.  I found the scenes between Alex and Jesse pretty compelling, I wanted to know more of their story, but the author had other plans and that's where things took a nosedive.

Instead of focusing on what made this couple so tragically perfect, or wrong for each other, depending on how you see things, we're treated to a smorgasbord of trivialities, most of which are rather irrelevant.  I found myself skimming through scene after scene, pausing only to read if something looked noteworthy.  There was no real depth to these elements, instead we're bombarded with morose whimpering from Alex who needs Jesse for some vague reason pertaining to her dead brother.  Jesse's not particularly nice to her, though there's clearly something going on in his cerebral cortex that we're not made privy to, EVER.  Honestly, the book's a bit bi-polar.  In one moment, I was like "YES, we're finally getting somewhere!" and in the next I'm skimming through seemingly endless drivel.  I guess these drawn out scenes were supposed to make me feel something for Alex and her friends.  They didn't.  Sure, Angie (her bff) seemed okay enough, though she was very vanilla.  Marissa was a straight up slutbag man-stealer.  Aside from that, I got nothing from them, hence the skimming.  Peripheral characters should either add to the plot or the character development.  These characters did neither.  In fact, they detracted from the story altogether.  Every time Angie, Marissa or Eric stepped onto the page I sighed, read a few paragraphs and started the skim.  Ironically, they made Alex less interesting and made what could have been a fascinating story meh-worthy.

Jesse at least seemed interesting, though his scenes were few and far between.  And then he up and leaves for college, ostensibly leaving the story for long periods of time.  But clearly there's a mystery there and, yes, I actually do want to know what it is, which I guess says something.  But here's what it says: Clearly this entire book is a setup for book two.  Sadly, now that I got suckered in, I may in fact read the next book just to find out, but am wary that it will be more of the same.  But seriously, this entire book is Alex silently professing her love for Jesse.  She drops her panties at the mere hint of him and immediately mopes that he's being an asshat again.  So she's depressed, yes, I get it.  But an entire novel's worth of moping?  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Clearly I'm in the minority when it comes to this book.  Going back and reading some of the five star reviews on Goodreads made me question if I'd read the same thing.  But what would have made it more impactful to me is if the author spent a fraction of her time getting me acquainted with the peripheral characters, most of whom are gone by the end of the novel, and more time on peeling back the layers of grief and exploring how Jesse fits into the mosaic of that grief.  That seemed to be the crux of the novel when I went in, only we never got even close to touching on it.  Again, it's clear that was done as a setup for the next story, but, honestly, that means I wasted a whole night reading a bunch of crap that has no bearing on the next installment.  Not to beat a dead horse here, but by the end of the novel, Alex's parents are gone, Angie has moved on to college, Alex and Marissa are no longer friends and Eric has left the building.  What the eff?  Why did I spend seventy percent of this novel with a bunch of characters you planned to throw away?  They didn't add anything, they're not coming back in book two, so what the hell dude?

When I was done, I felt like: What the hell did I spend my night reading? If you were never planning to answer a single question or delve into these character's lives why bother dragging it out?  Seriously, you could have cut half the crap in this novel, added it to the next and simply been done with the whole thing.  I bet it would have made for a much better read.  I don't have time to waste, I have stuff on my DVR I need to watch.  Oh, yeah, and by the way, there's a cliffhanger ending.  And to be perfectly frank, it made little sense to me.  Um, so what, now she's crazy?  For reals?  That's what you're going with?

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