Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hopelessly Finished Hopeless

SPOILER ALERT:  I have finished Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Wow.  I am exhausted from reading this book.  I feel like I need a shower and about 8 hours of solid, mindless TV to wash it all away.

I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  I'm a bit confused at all the 5 star ratings and wonder if all the bloggers in the acknowledgments are really giving their honest opinion?

Why only 3 stars?  Certainly not because of Colleen Hoover's writing; I enjoyed that immensely.  And not because of her characters; I found them to be well thought-out and likable.  Holder is a character you want to spend time with...although he gets a little too sweet toward the end and doesn't seem as real.  Sky is just like so many of us who question ourselves and those around us...but don't necessarily want to know the answers.  She's very endearing in that way.

So what's my deal?  Well...I felt like it was two different stories; two different books.  The first half is laden with googley eyes about each other when you're in high school.  Don't get me wrong - I usually enjoy the sappy first love stuff...but it's a slippery slope.  You can overdo it and end up rubbing your readers the wrong way.  (Pun intended; nice grinding scene!  Wow.)  I liked the angst when it came to things like Holder getting upset over the bracelet...or leaving her house and not coming back...etc etc...but then things would seem to draw out a bit too long and I'd start losing interest until the next crisis.

One absolute joy in this book?  Breckin.  More, more, give me more.  I'd like a series just about him.  I totally want to go back to high school and look for the guy wearing bright pink shoes.  Only I went to Catholic school and you got demerits for that sort of thing.  I should know, I once got demerits for wearing a yellow sweater in homeroom.  But I digress.

OK - so - on to the 2nd half (or last third, I should say).  All the sudden you find yourself on this roller coaster ride and it's truly compelling...but you're thinking "Wait - wasn't I reading a lovely little story about young love?  How does child rape fit into this?"  And don't get me wrong - the last 3rd is truly interesting and riveting and upsetting...all at once.  All things that make for an outstanding story.  But I felt like I was a bit shell shocked and had a hard time switching gears.

Now...please don't misunderstand me.  I think Colleen Hoover is a damn good writer in that she's perfectly worded (no bad comparisons of someone's eyes to a rooftop...lordddddd) and her words flow exceptionally well.  I am looking forward to reading her New York Times Bestsellers, "Slammed " and "Point of Retreat " (aka girlfriend knows what she's doing.)

So - my overall synopsis?  I wish Hopeless were two books.  That way, I could recommend the first to my nieces in high school...and the 2nd to my book club.  If I had a book club, that is.  I used to, but I left because they only read horribly sad stories about things like child rape.  So you get my drift.  Maybe I just didn't like the subject matter of the last third of the story - even though it was thoroughly engaging and told with an abundance of tact and grace.

Really looking forward to a (friendly) discussion on this...so by all means, comment away!!

14 comments:

Hildy said...

Great blog, Carol. Lots to think about. You know I have many of the same thoughts about this book. Let's talk reviews first.

I understand that a lot of people love this book. I understand why. I do. I'm just really surprised that no one gave it a less than perfect review. I went searching through Goodreads and I saw some ratings of 3 stars but I didn't see any reviews attached to them. I felt compelled to write one because of this. I do wonder if many bloggers feel that they need to give a positive review. I don't deny that they probably really enjoy the books but I rarely see even a suggestion for improvement or even a little thing that bothered them. Now you know I love Kristen Ashley and I've read about 25 of her books but that doesn't mean that I'm not honest about some of them not being exactly right up my alley. Sometimes I feel terrible writing my reviews cause I just love KA so much and I'd ditch all of you and go for cosmos with her if she'd invite me, but I feel like I need to be honest. When I first wrote my review for On the Island, I didn't 'know' Tracey Garvis Graves and I really liked the book but I did mention a few things that I thought were weak. She responded and was great and said that she was a first time author and is still learning (or something like that). Afterwards, I almost felt bad and considered going back and changing my review but I didn't. It was hard, though.

Tonya and Menatra both have been approached by authors with a free book for their reviews. They were both worried that they couldn't be honest after they were given the book.

I think it's an interesting thing to think about.

MoniMo said...

I must confess I loved this book. HOWEVER... the only book (ok..series) I've given 5 goodreads stars to is Outlander. Seriously ...what can compare to that?
But I was hooked into Sky and Holder. I knew early on that her father abused her...but I didn't realize the extent of Karen's involvement until she told her side of the story. I was thrilled Sky was able to see the intent behind her actions rather than having the singular viewpoint of being stolen away for no reason.

P.s. I've read both Slammed and Point Of Retreat..... Very Very Good.

Carol said...

Yey! Claps hands! I'm glad to hear good comments about her other books. I will say this - I thought about Holder and Sky today. I even found a song that reminded me of them and may post it.

I pretty much figured out that Karen was Sky's aunt. I was surprised Sky was as upset with her as she was...once she found out about her father's abuse. I guess I figured she should have figured out hat Karen took her to get her away from the abuse...since Karen was so good to her all those years.

Carol said...

I definitely thing there is an ethical conflict of interest if people expect a good review for a free book. I'd agree to read it - and review it - but I'd tell them up front that I would have to be honest. That's why I don't even post reviews on Goodreads. I know the authors read them and lordddddddddd I don't want to piss anyone off. Hell - I was walking on major eggshells with this review above. Hildy, you can attest to that after some of the email you received from me this AM. LOL I definitely nice niced it up for the masses on the interwebs.

Carol said...

PS - On the Island ROCKED. I want to read it again just so I can blog.

Hildy said...

I figured out most of the story early on but I did NOT see Karen as her abused aunt. That shocked me! I thought maybe she was a work colleague of the dad's who got wind of the horrible situation somehow.

Monimo, have you read The Bronze Horseman?

Hildy said...

GAH!!! MoniMo, I just figured out who you are so scrap that last question. LOL. I'm such a doofus.

Julia said...

I think your review Carol was right on the money. Like two different books; not only did the last third seem somewhat disconnected from the first 2/3 of the book - but I really didn't get Holden's character. For the first half of the book, he's a badass kind of guy; terrible reputation in the school, etc. And in the last half he's Mr. Good Guy; very different from the beginning. And I agree about Breckin - I felt his character should have been developed more; he didn't serve much purpose in the story really.

I did like Slammed & Point of No Retreat, but not as much as some others have. Colleen's a very good writer, but the plots need some work, I think. Those two are definitely considered YA, and it's difficult to write a YA book that can also appeal to a grown woman or man (especially someone in my age bracket - I'm 54)- Colleen does a pretty good job with this.

And as to what Hildy said about Kristen Ashley books - I totally agree with her statements too. I haven't read them all, but definitely many of them, and some weren't as good as others. And one I downright disliked (Creed) despite the mostly glowing reviews; but feel kind of bad to publicly say that in a review for fear of hurting her feelings. I'd never make it as a reviewer; not comfortable publicly criticizing.

Hildy said...

Julia,
I totally agree about Holder's character. Carol and I were having a chat about it this morning. He was intriguing when he was a badass but then he got sooooo sweet that I didn't buy it. I much preferred when he was beating the shit out of people. ;)

I haven't read Creed but I was not loving Knight. JJ didn't love it either but when she read it the second time she changed her mind. I'm currently reading Heaven and Hell and I really like it.

Julia said...

Hmm, if you didn't like Knight (which I loved; I'd literally at that point never encountered a guy as crazy as him in a "romance" book), maybe you will like Creed. Most people seemed to; I just thought the story was badly developed; jumping back and forth between present and past, and absolutely didn't see Creed as a badass guy; certainly not an unfinished hero. I'll be curious to see what you think. Haven't done Heaven and Hell yet; just finished the third in her 'Burg series.

Hildy said...

I'll read Creed but I'm a little nervous about it. I really loved The Burg series. I loved Joe but I also really loved book 4! Great couple!

MoniMo said...

HAHA! The answer is not yet. ;-)

Carol said...

Holder - while adorable - was too nice toward the end. I didn't buy him at that point. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more when I was 17, though...I will say that. Very angsty. I think I'm not thrilled with YA in general these days...maybe I need to stay with the grown-up books. What's funny is that Twilight pulled me into the YA genre - after months of refusing to read it because it was YA. Come to find out that Stephenie Meyer said it was never meant to be a YA book and that the publishers insisted on that.

Carol said...

PS - Starting Rock Chick this weekend - I PROMISE. :)