Shirley Temple’s got nothing on ~ ‘Bright Side’ by Kim Holden #Review #COYER

Bright Side by Kim HoldenIt’s never a good sign when I have multiple pages of notes about a book I am reading. Let’s just say I heard about this book from a friend and decided to check it out for myself. Other than fulfilling a scavenger hunt item in a summer book challenge, the only thing this story did was made my teeth ache so hard that I had to brush after every chapter.

Kate has left San Diego and moved to Grant, Minnesota for college. She was accepted before, but was unable to attend. She’s decided at the last minute that it’s time. Luckily, she gets a full scholarship and room and board! Her best friend of almost 20 years, Gus, is about to hit the big time with the band he fronts. Kate just knows big things are in store for Rook. Things get off to a rocky start with her new roommate, the bitchy/sex fiend-y Sugar Starr LaRue, so Kate spends a lot of her time hanging out with her across-the-hall roommates Clayton (gay) and Pete (chubby/nerdy). She met Clayton (never “Clay”) when he was sitting alone (yet impeccably well-dressed) at orientation. Kate befriends him immediately.
 
A lover of coffee (black!) and not paying for Starbucks, Kate finds a coffee place in town call Grounds on Main. She befriends the owner, Romero, who does her a solid and tells her about a job opening at the florist down the street. Even though she has never worked around flowers, curses during the “interview” and the owner is pretty chilly, she gets the job and starts right away. Count her new boss, Shelly, as befriended, too. (I couldn’t tell if there was a Frankenstein joke there, since the Shelly is the daughter of owner Mary, but there you go). Then she meets Keller. Not only does he work at Grounds, he is the roommate of Shelly’s boyfriend, Duncan! She’s so attracted to him, and she can tell that he wants to tell her all sorts of things because she can really read people. All of them.
 
Keller isn’t sure he can go there, but goddamn, she’s perfect. And wonderful. And great. Can he? But doesn’t he have a girlfriend in Chicago? That he flies home to see every other weekend? Kate knows she can’t get attached (for reasons), but she can be his great friend and be there for him – ’cause that’s what she does. So she does. Everything is awesome. Isn’t it?

I know most of this stuff will be repetitious for those of you who have read my reviews before, but the book had many of the elements that drive me to not be very nice in reviews. Here are the general things that happened throughout that made me sigh with displeasure:

  • Tell, tell, tell. There are huge paragraphs that are devoted to telling the reader all about everything. The amount of showing is limited. I wish that I had written down everything that bothered me, but I really didn’t until the end of the book. Like, for example: “Sometimes I test people.” then she tests them. This happened over and over, which makes everything unbelievable. Or boring.
  • The “first time” theme: This is an overused (I want to use the word “trope” so bad, but I am not sure if that’s correct) that I practically roll my eyes when it happens. “I’ve never beat up anyone before!” “I never knew I had such courage!” “I’ve never had such confidence!” “This is my first time at a gay bar!” Well, maybe that last one doesn’t count, but it was in there. And Kate helped. ‘Cause that’s what she does.
  • Sh*t, the fricking cursing: there is a time and a place for profanity. Maybe, even though I fully embrace Cuss Culture, I am out of touch with its use in today’s writing. But I have always had my own code of conduct when it comes to unleashing my baser vocabulary. Number 1: I don’t cuss in front of people I don’t know/I just met. It shows zero respect for people. Number 2: I don’t say bad words in front of my mother (and others) because I know they abhor it. Again, it’s a respect thing. Number 3: I can’t print my bluer material here because it gets rejected when I try to post on Amazon. (I just threw in that last one for fun.) Suffice it to say, I don’t need to read that some food gives you the “meat sh*ts” or something is a “sh*t sandwich.” It just doesn’t take much effort to say something “tastes like ass,” you know? The easy way out. It seems to me that it compares to trying to use slang when talking to middle schoolers. It sounds forced, like you’re trying to fit in.

Kate calls everyone “dude.” Isn’t that cute/funny? She even curses like a sailor in her thoughts (which, I guess, makes sense since most of her dialogue is in her thoughts). She and her BEST FRIEND Gus (short for Gustav, so I pronounced his name “Goose” every time I saw it) are both so perfect and hot and deep and musical (except for Goose’s Gus’ smoking [he needs one vice, amirite?]) that even though they’ve known each other 20 years, he’s never made a move on her (well, except for the sex they had the night before she left for college, but that doesn’t count ’cause they’re BEST FRIENDS).

I mean, I want to date this girl! She’s omniscient, fixes EVERYTHING, breaks up fights, brings people together, solves problems, loves everyone, sees under tough exteriors, gives everyone the benefit of the doubt (except one guy – but he doesn’t deserve it), can sing like an angel (thought she doesn’t know it), drinks her coffee black, is super good-looking (though she doesn’t know it) and, though she’s not religious, she talks to God like he’s her “homie.” Even though her parents didn’t care about her and her sister, she still sees the Bright Side of life. Even though…even though you are waiting for the “but,” for the other shoe to drop, blah blah blah. There are two secrets (for her) and one for her new friend boy (hints of which are scattered throughout like coffee beans), that are not uncovered until just about the very end. It feels calculated and overwrought and I feel like I should have liked these people much, much more in order to be subjected to that ending.

So even if I take all of that ^^^ and pull, shove, tug, drag and plow that demi-mountain aside, this book still bothers me. Kate is the most selfish of unselfish people. On a scale from “Toddler Says Mine Mine Mine” to “Scrooge (Pre-Christmas Day),” she eclipses Ebeneezer. In case you want to read this story, I can’t tell you the three secrets. So let’s just say she should have stayed home in San Diego, alone, lying on a surfboard in the ocean, floating through her days. Because the number of people she slays (figuratively speaking, maybe [maybe not]) at the end is what Godzilla does throughout his entire series of movies.

Bright Side by Kim Holden was published July 4, 2014 by Do Epic LLC. I bought this.

Rating: 1

Genre: New Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance Series
Ages: 15 and up

COYER Scavenger Hunt #35: Read a book with no pictures, only words, on the cover. (3 points)

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