Alex has known from a very young age that she wanted to be with Will. Will has always been a friend and as they grew into teenagers, the attraction grew until they gave in and started secretly dating. Just before it’s time to leave for college, their relationship is discovered by their parents. They insist that Alex go to a separate college than Will. If their love is strong and meant to be, it’ll survive the separation. Can it really survive it or will the time apart be too much stress on the relationship.
Okay, I wanted to love this. I really did. I’m usually a sucker for a good YA/NA love story about friendship blossoming into more. I typically love the friends turn into more troupe. But from minute one, both Will and Alex irritated me. I never felt like either one was fully fleshed out. They both felt like the idea of a person rather than an actual person. If that was too subtle, then let me say they were both very flat. I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm or concern for them. And it was very predictable. I mean, it’s romance, so we know from the start that the boy and girl are going to ride off into the sunset together. On a horseback in a classic manner in this case as it’s a story about two Texans whose families run a horse farm.
The only time this novel really made me feel anything were the wrong things at the wrong moments. I felt very irritated at every male character in this book. Alex’s dad especially infuriated me. Every time Alex mentions wanting something different or wanting to go to a different school or anything her father insists she follow the path he has set for her, but her brother can do whatever he wants. Why? Because that’s different.
Why exactly is that different? I’ll tell you why, because he has a penis, that’s why! I consider myself a feminist, but I’ve never been overly vocal about that fact. I don’t feel the need to argue with the world about it because I don’t feel it would change anything, but this novel had me wanted to shout it to the world for all the wrong reasons. At least once every chapter, these male characters would do or say something chauvinistic that my temper would flair.
I’m sorry, but a teenage girl is just as capable of making a life-decisions as a teenage boy. There are arguments to suggest a teenage girl would be BETTER suited to that task than a boy, so why the fuck is everyone running around like Alex (and her female friends) is/are too awe-struck to know what she wants. I mean, I don’t necessarily disagree that Alex and Will should go to separate universities and experience different things, but it was the way the subject was presented. If the situation was flipped and Will announced that he wanted to go to Alex’s school, no one would have kicked up a fuss.
And then there was the way they treated sex. One, there was just too much of it. I get it, romance will have sex scenes, that’s fine. I enjoy smut as much as the next romance reader, but come on! (PUN INTENDED). There is so much more to a relationship than spending every other chapter going at it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m the only person on the planet who wants a love story with a little more intellectual intimacy than physical intimacy, but I doubt it. Besides the fact that after Will & Alex got it on for the first time, they had to sleep together every other chapter, there was another issue. It was the way ALL the males treated the idea of the women having sex. If the boys go out and sleep with a girl, great!
But it’s hinted that one of the girls has consensual sex with a guy and they all start throwing punches. I’m fine with protectiveness, but that was too much. It’s every individual’s decision to do whatever they desire and no one else gets a say. Olive Penderghast said it best in Easy A when she said it’s nobody’s goddamn business.
It’s not even slut-shaming here, it’s just the general idea that the chick’s can’t be trusted to make such a decision.
If I look beyond the things that irritated me, try to find some positivity, I’m still not in good company. The story is pretty cliched and extremely predictable. It was decently-written, so there is that. In all honesty, some of the blame probably lies on me. Maybe I’ve been burned myself out on contemporaries….or maybe the anti-feminism was as apparent as it felt to me. But if you enjoy the college-aged contemporaries, you might give this a try anyway. I’m pretty sure the ebook is free on Amazon right now.
Okay, so the narrators might also be the blame for my irritation. I know this book is the first in a series called Love Wanted In Texas series. I know it’s set in Texas. Logically, I should have been prepared for the accent. I, however, was not. I’m sure both narrators do a fine job, but that accent irritate me the entire way through. There is no logical explanation for why, but it did. Beyond that, they did have decent pacing and variations in voice for different characters. Was a I blown away by their abilities? No, but they weren’t terrible and that says about all there is to say!
****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****