Publication Date: January 13th, 2011
Worldpainting Unlimited Inc.
Format: Kindle copy
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He’s been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren’t going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He’s harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he’s trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love.
Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.
Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother. A task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie’s life into a tale-spin.
While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly.
Seth and Maggie’s romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery.
Here’s my major beef with this book: I could not, for the life of me, reconcile Maggie’s voice with the chaos and heartbreak and angst that was going on her life. There’s a certain flippancy about her that was definitively off-putting. I mean, serious issues were tackled here including, but not limited to: parental neglect, malnourishment, drugs peddling, alcohol, murder, sexual assault, torture…etc and yet her musings sounded light hearted and sometimes even blithe. She lacked the dark undertones better suited for the themes of this book. And I certainly couldn’t agree that the author’s intent was to give this book some lightness due to the severity of subjects at hand because if that was true then I can only give her credit for trying. I, for one, wasn’t convinced.
I found myself frustrated with Maggie’s character, period. She was very strong in her conviction to stay away from Seth and yet she couldn’t say no to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Zach called her Maggot quite a few times, stupid in some occasions, belittled her principles about no sex before marriage and yet she was unable to voice out her protests when he came and forced her to help him make the queen bee of the school jealous.
Maggie was such a contradiction in all the ways possible. She’s painted as the saddest looking girl you could ever imagine – physically and emotionally but for some odd reason, boys and creepy old men found her attractive. I don’t discount her self-esteem issues but you’d have to work doubly hard to convince me either way. There was a certain disconnection between a character who’d had to endure what she had and the actual character drawn in this novel.
As for Seth, well, he can’t do anything wrong. He’s perfect; too perfect that he’s yawn inspiring, instead of awe-inspiring.
The attempts to add in some humour to this book felt forced and out of place. I also had a difficult time accepting that her mother didn’t really mean every single ugly words she’d ever thrown her way. Honestly, it’s like every character in this book was suffering from an identity crisis. The entire novel was focused on Maggie having to live with an alcoholic mother. This woman spent the whole time drunk, passed out and verbally abusive to Maggie on the odd times that she was sober. Toward the end of the book, Maggie found some letters that her mother had apparently written to her in the midst of her drunkenness. The mother in the letter and the mother on the couch were, I swear upon anything that’s holy, two different characters. I had a hard time believing that it was the same woman.
Truthfully, I stopped quite a few times and debated whether or not to continue but I’m so tired of having to quit on books because of exasperating characters. The plot had so much potential – a romance between an undercover cop and a student at a high school – not original by a mile but still has its allure. Unfortunately, the flaws in character development distracted me relentlessly. I remained angry from the first quarter of the book until the bitter end. There were some editing mistakes as well (leach instead of leech pg. 37, master chief instead of master chef pg. 242).
I wish I could say something favourable about my reading experience. But I’m at a loss. Others would enjoy this story very much. I just didn’t…couldn’t.