Reading this book was like taking a cold bubble bath: pointless, frustrating and completely disappointing. Because I really wanted to read something that would relax me but in the end it just completely wound me up.
Straight off the bat, let me just say the main character is one of the most unlikeable heroines I have ever read. I pretty much wanted to punch her from page one. I mean, she’s not terribly sympathetic to begin with having slept with her ex-boyfriend’s brother– for some miniscule reason that the author builds up to for the whole book only for it to let you down like a whoopee cushion. But then, *spoiler alert*, if that wasn’t bad enough, she spends the whole book trying to earn forgiveness from everyone she’s hurt, only to do it again with the other brother. Only this time she also does it behind his new girlfriend’s back- a girl who was kind enough to befriend her when no one else would talk to her. So yeah, she’s a major cow. Seriously, this was pretty much my thoughts on the matter:
If all that doesn’t make you hate her, she’s also a massive whiner. Ninety nine percent of the book consists of her whining about how hard her life is, how she feels so isolated, how her mother betrayed her by publishing her secret in a book (okay that one sucked), how she can’t figure out what to major in at college, how she always wants the other brother. But how am I supposed to sympathise with that when she pretty much brings everything on herself? And while I get that the author wants to justify her actions, the way she does it never seems to add up.
I mean, she decides to neatly tie things up by having everyone pretty much forgive her at the end of the book. For instance, even though it makes no sense, the girl whose boyfriend she practically stole comes up to her and pretty much says that not everyone should be after her, cos “it takes two to tango”. I mean, I’m all for girl-power, but is this really the time? It’s not like the main character is terrible loyal to the “sisterhood”- she broke the girl code! – which another character points out (and mysteriously forgives). It was also completely illogical to have the mother of the guys she’s screwed around go “oh I still see you as a daughter, let’s not let it get between us”. Say what??
The whole thing just felt wayyy too convenient. Clearly the author just wanted to tie up loose ends and give her main character a happy(ish) ending- regardless of how little she deserved it. By having this weird ending, Cotugno was clearly trying to shoehorn in some messages about societal norms- except this backfired somewhat cos the heroine’s a selfish witch and didn’t really deserve any forgiveness. (Clearly she never got the memo that an apology means nothing if you plan to do the same thing over and over again).
Apart from that, most of the other characters in the book were awful. I mean, clearly the two-timing brothers were both tools (I mean apart from sleeping with the brother’s girlfriend, they also have some kind of weird challenge between them- which the author threw in to alleviate the main character’s guilt). The aforementioned mother, who uses her daughter’s complete lack of morality to turn a profit, comes across as pretty heartless. There’s also the usual cast of mean girls (I won’t bore you with the details). All the other characters are barely significant and are terribly flat.
Honestly, now I’ve come to write this review, I’m really struggling to come up with anything good to say about this book. I guess I could say that it’s readable and a page-turner (in the sense that you can physically turn the pages, not that it’s gripping)… But that really isn’t enough to save this book.
Rating: 1/5 bananas