Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on June 6, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic
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Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.
I’ve heard many great things about Sarah Dessen over the years. When I saw her latest novel available at my public library, I decided to give it a shot. While her writing is oh-so-charming, I have many issues with the plot and characterization of the novel. Let’s talk plot first. Based on the cover and blurb, I thought this would be a fun, lighthearted read. It’s not. It’s dealing with heavy issues, such as mass shootings, death, and grief. While it ends with a hopeful message, I honestly felt depressed reading it. Don’t read this novel if you are looking for a lighthearted read.
My other issue is with the main characters. This is very much Louna’s story, a story about a young woman coming to accept and overcome her grief from a past tragedy. If this novel had been promoted as a “women’s fiction” read, I think I would have walked away happy. But this is a romance. Amrbose’s characterization and story has to be strong too. He never develops past the charming playboy persona. While I enjoyed their friendship, I never felt any chemistry between the two. Sadly, we get a better romance between Louna and her first love than between her and Ambrose. Don’t read this novel if you are looking for a sweet romance.
Overall I’m just super disappointed. It’s obvious the author is an engaging writer, but I want more from my contemporary romances. I want connection and growth from both main characters. It’s just not here.
tl;dr A disappointing romance with poor character development and a surprisingly sobering plot.
Have you read anything lately that disappointed you?