The Low Down: College girl is still a virgin; sexually active roommates decide she needs to lose her virginity. Girl doesn’t know of plan; girl falls for boy, gets under his skin, blah blah blah.
Here’s the Thang: I read this book not too long ago, and it’s called Beautiful Disaster. Look. I don’t mind a good nice girl meets bad boy and their getting together causes one to loosen up and the other to let down his guard. Really. There just wasn’t anything new here; plus, the writing was immature and underdeveloped. Many of the descriptions had me shaking my head. I felt like I was sneaking a peek at the journal of a high schooler who was trying really hard to be mature and worldly because she’d read about being mature and worldly in another Young Adult/New Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance. It was sloppy in its repetition (humiliation flooding over the protagonist barely six sentences away from fear flooding her mouth).
There seems to be a popular contrivance in Young Adult writing: unusual descriptions of an act or (more commonly) a feeling. Maybe I’ve just noticed a spike, but, tbh (as the middle schoolers say), some authors handle this so much better than others. Sometimes it is such a perfect description that there is no way that any reader can not understand it. It’s vivid and visual; the reader feels it, too. Other times, it seems lazy and unneeded and, well, strange. This makes the effort seem forced. In this case, the thought of fear flooding someone’s mouth looks more like a kaleidoscope of vomit than anything more concrete. Is that what the reader is supposed to see? It doesn’t make any sense and the picture is no clearer than if the protagonist had been paralyzed with fear or any number of other descriptions.
The Bottom Line: I hate to say it, but ever since the appearance of Housewife Porn (50 Shades of Grey and its ilk), sex and sexual situations and sexual descriptions are quickly overtaking the actual skill of developing a good plot, writing wonderful dialog, and creating interesting, real characters. The New Adult label, which is a recent classification for books featuring people from the age of consent through their 20s, shouldn’t just be about getting to write sex scenes. It should also be about that time when kids are leaving home for the first time, either going to college or moving out into their first apartment; learning how to manage their own lives without a mommy to tell them when to get up, what the schedule is that day or what time is curfew. While sex can be a big part of it, don’t bail on the rest of the story because of it. If done badly, it becomes too much like real porn without the benefit of a cheesy boomchickawowwow soundtrack.
True by Erin McCarthy was published today by Penguin Group. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley/the Publisher/the Author.
Genre: New Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: This book is categorized as New Adult which can contain descriptions of drinking, drug use, profanity and sexual situations.