Blurb from Goodreads
Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school.
But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realise that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded.
Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard.
This is not a review. It is a nonsensical angry rant. Filled with spoilers!!!
Read at your peril!!!!
Mallory and Rider grew up together akin to brother and sister. From toddler / young child age to approx 14 years old.
And now they are in to each other….
Yeah I’m unnerved by that.
Okay they’re not technically related but as we all know family ain’t always about blood. Just… If they’d been in the home together from the age of 10 maybe??? Like it’s just a little ick. And I feel creeped out. Maybe that’s my deal but yeah… To me it just smacked of a Stockholm syndrome style love affair with a side of pseudo incest
The character of Mallory:
Took me about 3/4 of the book to remember her name… She kept being referred to as Mouse and I dunno… I was like who’s this Mallory chick??
Really don’t have many feelings about her. I like that she wasn’t instantly cured by love and we were told about how she had therapy and stuff…
So yeah. I guess you’re not entirely badly written Mallory….
The character of Rider:
I mean where do I start….
Yes he had an arc and problematic stuff got focused on in the end but I really did want to smack his face for how he treated Mallory in the beginning.
The whole Mouse nickname. Great. Way to reinforce her negative coping mechanisms with her abusive past!!!!
Also. You did treat Paige like a dick. Don’t care that you felt bad later. Don’t care that you think you didn’t deserve love. You were self-entitled around her and if you thought you didn’t deserve love then why were you with her at all leading her on????
Mallory and Rider’s romantic relationship
I don’t think that Mallory and Rider’s relationship is okay. I think it is problematic and I wish to explain why.
Mallory and Rider are not blood-related, and I do not know the specifics surrounding the laws of step-sibling relationships around the globe, but it is definitely frowned upon to have sex or be sexually attracted to someone you were brought up with from early childhood.
And that is the important factor here.
They were brought up together as siblings in their formative years. It is not as if they met as young adults with raging hormones and were suddenly attracted to abs and curves. Young adults who would already have had adequate emotional development and would therefore not see each other as ‘true’ brother and sister.
They were instead reared as foster brother and sister from the earliest of ages. And therefore I think that the book did not look at the psychological impact of how two little children living together in a house where they suffered immense physical and emotional abuse could suddenly be sexually attracted to each other as young adults.
It was simply ignored and that to me is incredibly problematic.
The book romanticises their childhood connection into a romantic and subsequent sexual connection without the therapist, Mallory’s step parents, the teachers at the school, or the old lady who was Rider’s guardian questioning it? With their friends never batting an eyelid???
Instead their friends, in particular Ainsley, actively encouraging it!!!!
Without any people close to either Mallory or Rider suggesting to maybe pause their romantic relationship?
Or at least slow it down and not perform sexual acts with each other before thoroughly discussing it.
Before confirming that their sexual love was not based on their craving of emotional love from the only other person in their childhood who gave them stability.
That is highly problematic and the biggest example of an emotional or personal issue that was under-developed in this novel… there are more!
So to me their relationship is what I term pseudo-incestual because these issues are swept under the carpet by a writer who did not give enough gravitas to that situation.
This type of step-sibling relationship is usually the remit of hardcore taboo erotica that comes with strict warnings on the cover that it should not be read by minors.
Whereas this is a young adult book that is read by minors.
Not cool JLA. Not cool.
The character of Paige:
Can we talk about the representation of the character Paige??? Like please….. It’s immediate hot mean girl who is just put in the book to keep our lovebirds apart and I’m like no.
EYE FREAKING ROLL
Could she be more freaking one dimensional. Like please JLA!!! For one brief moment could you not give into yet another negative female stereotype?????
And even when we do learn about Paige’s background it’s used not to make us empathise with her but to empathise with Mallory and it’s just such manipulative BS.
LAZY ASSED WRITING 101!!!!!
And about 85% or whatever. I can’t remember exactly but when there’s more ridiculous drama with her TO TRY TO BREAK OUR LOVE BIRDS UP ……
I am tired JLA. Paige’s purpose in the plot, however craply you plotted it, was done. DONE!!! You did not need to reintroduce her as predictable, time old #conflict *rolls eyes AGAIN*
No instead you should have blimmin focused on Mallory and Rider figuring out who they were as individuals, as a couple, how they were both dealing with their abusive pasts instead of being oh you needed her and not me in your time of crisis, let me run away dramatically and find solace with my soon to be blind bestie who is teaching me about living for the now because she’s totes *inspirational* STOP USING DISABLED CHARACTERS TO INSPIRE THE ABLE BODIED!!!! THAT TROPE IS HORRIBLE AND OFFENSIVE AND OMG JUST STOP ALREADY!!!!!
Also that epilogue:
The neatness of it all made me want to rip my eyes out (sorry Ainsley)
Like one thing was that the book didn’t show that Mallory was cured of her issues over night but certainly more time needed to be shown to have elapsed for the happy ever after, snuggled up on Rider’s hot abs post SAT ridiculousness.
But the major problem with this book is that we have too many underdeveloped characters with personal problems and issues.
STOP THROWING EVERY FREAKING ISSUE YOU CAN THINK OF INTO ONE BOOK!!!
The characters of the Step-parents
Clearly have issues surrounding grief and the death of their daughter. They haven’t fully accepted it and definitely are viewing Mallory in some sort of replacement aspect.
- Was this fully explored?
- Did we get inside their heads?
The character of the Step-daddy
I have a dead troubled brother???? Well that’s convenient isn’t it. NO! I need more. I need to get inside his thinking processes more. He needs to feature in the novel more.
The character of the Step-mum
Okay I like the step-mum. Can’t remember her name but kudos for finally having some positive female adult role model parental rep in a ya.
The character of Ainsley
I AM A FABULOUS BEST FRIEND WHO WILL GO BLIND AND TEACH YOU TO VALUE EACH DAY AS IF ITS YOUR LAST
Always love the inspirational sick/disabled character…
It’s alluded to that she ain’t dealing so well but no. LETS MAKE IT ALL ABOUT YOU MALLORY….. God she’s a crap bestie
The character of the dead teenage younger brother of hector.
Like that’s great. I finished this book 24 hours ago and I don’t even remember his name ONLY THAT HE TEACHES RIDER THE SAME THING THAT AINSLEY TEACHES MALLORY if you can’t have an inspiring sick friend then a dead one will do just the sam…
The character of Hector.
What even was your point as a character? You worked in MaccyDs. Literally the only thing I remember about you.
The character of Keira
Yet another under-developed female side character. Like okay it’s nice to see a nice cheerleader but her anxiety issues were just…. I can’t. I NEED MORE. STOP TELLING ME STUFF ABOUT CHARACTERS AND MAKE ME FEEL IT INSTEAD!!!!!
Honestly I could have written this book. My friend Gabby and I read it at the same time and were messaging each other and we knew every plot twist that was coming. I hesitate to use the words plot twist as there was nothing twisty about this book.
I am so done with this style of book.
The book says the problem with forever is that forever doesn’t exist or some such crap. Sadly reading this felt like it took forever so I would have to disagree with that. It’s a no from me.