Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: Hopeless and Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

Purchased through Barnes and Noble
Reviewed via NetGalley

I'm going to go with the publisher's description on these - I've had a hard time coming up with my own while avoiding spoilers.  Basically both books have a similar description because they tell the same story.  One book is told from the female point of view, the other from the male.  I'm using the publisher's description of Hopeless as found on Goodreads for both:
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies… 
That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that     rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried. 
Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
Writing
I have to say that despite how much I enjoyed the reading experience, I found the writing to be problematic in both books, but particularly the second.  I think this is largely because I was so involved in the story during the first that I didn't pay as much attention to the writing.  When I read the second, just a few months later, I already knew the story and how it would turn out, so I was much more affected by the problems I had with the writing.

My main problem was that the characters aren't believable.  Holder, particularly, talks to Sky like he's a middle aged therapist, not a teenage boy.  I don't know many people who have the insight into human behavior the way Holder does, much less 18 year old boys.   It struck me in Hopeless, but I could look past it because of the entertainment the story was providing.  In Losing Hope is was a huge distraction.

The story line itself is also pretty far-fetched.  There are a TON of huge coincidences that lead the main characters throughout the plot.  I can typically suspend my disbelief pretty well, but, again, I found it much harder to do once I already knew where the story was going.

Entertainment Value
This is where the books shine.  I read Hopeless in a day and Losing Hope in two.  I found the story to be engrossing and, even though I found myself rolling my eyes at the characters' emotional maturity - especially given their back stories - I loved them both.  The plot is somewhat predictable, but not to the point that I guessed every twist and turn.  I had a great time reading Hopeless, and also enjoyed Losing Hope.  I think already knowing the story really affected my enjoyment of Losing Hope.  I probably wouldn't read another "series" that is the same book from two points of view.

Overall
The book does come with a trigger warning, which make be something of a spoiler, but I feel is necessary for a review.  Sexual abuse of a child plays a large role in the book and readers should be aware of that from the beginning. I highly recommend reading either book, but maybe not both.  I'd characterize both as Contemporary New Adult.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of Losing Hope.

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