Author: Jennifer Echols
Genre: YA Contemporary, NA, Romance
Publication Date: July 9, 2011
Synposis: She’s writing about him. he’s writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..
For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions–it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter. . . . except this story could come true.
☆: 1.5/5 stars – I love the story play/wordplay in this novel, but there’s so much wrong with it. So much.
Well, I suppose this was going to happen. I’ve read two of Echols’s previous novels and hated them, but this sounded like it could have been so good and I’m a little too willing to give books chances they don’t deserve. I should have hardened my heart and moved on because this is just another novel romanticizing a creepy liar of a hero. It may actually be a little worse for disrespecting the written word and turning the very real idea of racial privilege into a strawman.
What attracted me to this novel in the first place and made me disregard past experiences with this author’s work was the way in which the two leads used their stories to say everything they need to but can’t say out loud. Their stories aren’t particularly well-written, but they’re college freshmen in their first creative writing class, so they get a pass. Were the characters themselves better and Hunter not a creep who describes women’s bodies in scientific terms, it would have been more entertaining and bumped this book’s rating up to two stars.
Yes, Erin and Hunter are about as tolerable as sewing needles sticking out of my flesh–which isn’t tolerable at all. Erin’s choices often lack logic and the way she takes criticism but is rarely seen giving any has me convinced she’s a future (fictional) Badly Behaving Author. As previously stated, Hunter’s creepy way of describing a woman in a story with scientific terms for all her body parts ruined him for me. Had it been a straight retelling of the beach party scene and not an exaggerated account meant to mess with Erin’s head (isn’t he a gem?), he would be a rapist because in-story, he got a girl drunk so he could have sex with her. That’s quickly becoming another definition for rape due to consent issues.
Then Hunter said this and my dislike of the story became a borderline-violent hatred:
“I’m a white male, so I need all the help I can get for admission to med school. The assumption is that if you’re a while male, you’ve had every advantage (67%, Kindle edition).”
A THOUSAND KINDS OF NO. First off, racial privilege, especially his racial privilege as a white male, is a fact, NOT an assumption. The privilege that might keep him out of med school? That would be his lack of class privilege because he comes from a poor background. Yet what’s this? His wording clearly shows us he thinks it’s his status as a white man that will make getting into med school difficult for him. As a white male, he’s had pretty much every possible advantage over a white woman, a black man, etc.
So he doesn’t have class privilege. Poor him. He still has a much higher chance of getting into med school than a Native American woman from the same background as him because of his racial privilege–and that’s WITH affirmative action on the Native American woman’s side to give her a little more of a chance in a society dominated by white men. Screw Hunter and his strawman argument. He rightfully called out Erin’s class privilege multiple times, but this one screw-up is important enough to cancel out all that.
The only two reasons this didn’t get dropped and DNFed in a hurry is because it’s a short book at 256 pages and reviews said it managed to get even worse. As a professional rubbernecker, I had to see what they meant and good God, they were right. Erin’s response to lies Hunter tells her is unbelievable! Where normal people would flip out about it and have a perfectly good reason to, Erin does the complete opposite and it leads to a happy ending with her creepy liar of a beau and no resolution in sight to any of the major issues, like Erin’s relationship with her grandmother.
This is the last straw for Echols. No matter how awesome any of her other books sound, I will stay away from them. I’ll even make Usagi slap me if I tell her I’m considering another Echols book.