Hopeless/Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

I’ve resisted reading these books for a long time now – for a lot of reasons. One, I don’t read too much NA. Over time and from what I’ve garnered from reading books from this genre, they all follow the same blueprint. So regardless of the characters’ past and problems, it will all be the same to me. Also, the sex gets too descriptive for my taste. I have a problem with some authors who couldn’t write the scenes without being too explicit. If you’re not at all opposed to writing c**k, p***y and whatever sexual exploits that can be found in Erotica, then maybe you should be writing Erotica and not New Adult. I’m just sayin’. I’m just not a fan of this new revolution.

I have seen someone’s NA books shelved in YA over at my bookstore and it drives me nuts. The writer is way too explicit in the sex department and I have seriously fought off the urge countless of times to mention it. If I’m sounding like a conservative or a stuffy old bat, then so be it. Don’t get me wrong. I read Erotica. Tons of them, actually. So I know when a book, packaged as NA, crossed over the line.

Hopeless and Losing Hope is a couple of books had me thinking were just another saran-wrapped product in a long assembly line of New Adult factory. The characters muddle through their lives marred with disturbing pasts. And while they look verily adjusted on the surface, on the inside, they’re a mess of anger and desperate need to find themselves.

The thing is I see Colleen Hoover’s books shelved in Adult Fiction when hers could really still be considered Young Adult. Sure she talks about serious realities of life but then most of the contemporary books in YA do anyway. Her sex scenes are very well done. They’re poetic, beautiful and full of emotions that can teach burgeoning adults a thing or two about the right kind of sex – making love – if the phrase doesn’t make you cringe.

 
Sky has been homeschooled all her life, protected and loved by a single mom who adopted her when her biological father gave her up. She’s a bit of a contradiction, if you ask me. She’s gained a reputation for being promiscuous by association with her best friend who loves playing the field. She’s never had sex but she keeps her bedroom window open for ‘business’. Frankly, this drove me nuts. I don’t know how a person would be considered a slut when she’s never had sex with anyone. And I’m also tired of slut-shaming in books and the double standard that if a guy sleeps around, he’s considered a player. But when a girl decides to do the same thing, she’s called a slut and all the other negativity that word alludes to. Regardless of this issue, which would’ve normally gained a rant review from me, I just…I have an overwhelming love for these books.
Colleen Hoover shoved her hand in my chest, pulled my heart out with her bare hands and minced it in a blender set on high speed. The issues that these characters have are simply unfathomable. I can’t even grasp it, can’t understand it. I can only wallow in it.
A lot of the not-so-nice reviews on Hopeless touched on Holder’s stalking tendencies. I’m sorry. I don’t get it. It’s creepy, yes. But I understood why. Imagine if you were a child and you witnessed your best friend being abducted right in front of you. Years and years later, you thought you found her. But this girl doesn’t know who you are – doesn’t remember you. It was driving you nuts. So you ask around about her. You can’t stop thinking about her – not because she’s pretty but because deep down, you know it’s her. This curiosity quickly grew to inexplicable attraction. There is a part of you that thinks you’re connected on some level no one would understand. You know you already love this version of the girl that you used to know. But you deny it; you deny it because if she was the girl from your past – the broken one who was always sad – you will be taking her back to that nightmare. So try your best to hide that from her while trying to fight off your attraction. You’re sure that being around her would only break her even more; so you treat her with the fickleness of a stormy weather. You’re angry and sweet and angry again. No one could make hands and tails of your emotions. Such is Dean Holder’s dilemma.
Why is it so hard to understand a certain kind of attraction that disables our ability of clear thought? Is it so hard to fathom that I could forgive my husband by distracting me with a kiss when just mere seconds ago, I was so angry at him? Sky suffered from this a whole lot. I don’t blame her. It happens between couples. That’s life.
I have been known to question the characters’ thought processes from time to time. And sometimes, this leads to a whole slew of ranting. But as I sit here and think about how stupid it was of Sky to forgive Holder’s aggressive tendencies, I wonder if we readers are just so quick to judge or if writers fail to express exactly what it was their characters were feeling at the time. When I first met my husband, I was literally tongue-tied. All blushes and all thumbs while tries to talk me into playing cards. Is that not life? Is that not how a person clearly reacts when faced with someone they’re attracted to? Colleen is not teaching young kids it’s acceptable to feel like they’ve lost the ability to think when their crush is standing right in front of them. The truth is, she doesn’t have to. It’s been happening.  You can’t sit there and tell me she’s preaching the wrong message. There is no message. There is no agenda. There is however, a whole lot of reality in this book.
 I chose to review these books together because Losing Hope is pretty much Hopeless but in Holder’s POV. There’s not much you can glean off Losing Hope except for a few glimpses of Daniel West and Breckin. Oh and the suicide letter. God. That destroyed me. Completely.
Hopeless: 5 out of 5 Stars
Losing Hope: 4 out of 5 Stars

  • I'm one of the reviewers who thought Holder's behavior was stalking. This book horrified me, to be honest. I was stalked by an ex when I was in college, and I have no doubt that that experience affected me while reading this book. Whether or not I would have had the same reaction to this book if I didn't have that experience – I don't know. But I hate, I mean HATE when violence, aggression, and possessiveness are portrayed as love, especially when those books are geared towards young women/girls.

    OK – rant over. 🙂
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

  • OMG, Joy! Okay, I am right with you for the first part of your post, and then the rest made me feel so much better about actually giving Hopeless a chance. I bought the book awhile back, but had major trepidations about reading it for reasons you mentioned. But now, I fully WANT to read it!

  • I loved Hopeless, I have Losing Hope, I haven't read it yet. I am hoping I like it as much as Hopeless. I am glad you enjoyed it 😀

    Mich

  • I want to frame that first paragraph of yours and hang it up everywhere. Well said. I think I may check these two out because I really want to find some NA that isn't like what you mentioned and these sound great. Especially since we both dislike the sex thing.

  • I totally agree with you about the sex thing. I'm actually not a fan of actual erotica, especially when certain words are used to describe anatomy – somehow to me, that's crossed a line – so it bugs me when I read it in a book that's not described as erotica. I haven't read these books yet, but I definitely want to. This just gives me that little extra push to move them up on my TBR list!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • Amazing review and I agree I like seeing characters react this way because I myself can identify. Maybe not everyone is like this or it's naive but that is the way I would and I actually understand when some characters act this way.

  • This is a beautiful review, Joy. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed these books. I personally loved her Slammed series more because this one had a bit too much angst but nevertheless I love Colleen's writing. She's just amazing with her characters.
    And I totally understand why you might be against explicit sex scenes in NA too. I hate when they use words used in erotica as well. I prefer sex scenes like the ones Colleen writes, not overly descriptive, but enough to make you feel butterflies.
    Great review, Joy!

  • I loved your review! It was great. I loved Hopeless and I like Losing Hope but I don't really like when authors write a second book in the main guys point of view. Only because it's often the same story and I feel its repetitive. I did like reading it from Holders POV though. Like you said that suicide letter hit me right in the feels!

  • I totally get what you mean about NA. I read a lot, but only love a select few because the others are wayy too explicit!
    I love this review of yours 😀 And it makes me want to start this series ASAP, which I've been meaning to do for a while.

  • I really think that Colleen writes great NA novels, I´ve read and loved all her books so far. And I´m planning in reading her next book. So I´m glad you enjoy them.
    Adriana @ Reading Fictional

  • Yay, I have Losing Hope to read and I'm glad you really enjoyed both of the books! I thought Hopeless was freaking amazing and can't wait to get into Losing Hope. Great review Joy!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  • I think I said this to you on GR, but your stars are giving me agita. I wasn't a huge fan of her book SLAMMED but here you come with your positive ratings and glowing reviews and now I just…don't know? Thanks for confusing me, Joy!

    Agreed on NA, btw. I've lucked out with a few awesome titles here and there, but overall the “genre” is still one I'm highly suspicious of.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  • NA seems to follow the same pattern quite a bit, so it's nice to find ones that stand out, and Colleen Hoover manages to do that in most of her novels.

    I just think NA should be labeled adult, technically that's what they are and you're right, the scenes are suited to that age range. Not for the YA crowd. I enjoyed Hopeless but I doubt I'd read Losing Hope since it's just a rehash of Hopeless.

    Wonderful reviews, Joy.

  • Oh, these books sounds beautiful. <3 I need to read them soon. I'm so glad you loved them 😀 And oh, I loved your review. It's awesome. I don't read New Adult, and, thing is, I kind of want to read about young people having sex (A) since I don't get that in YA books, and I don't read Adult because I want my characters to be young. But yeah, I think I'm not reading NA yet because I'm not that into the whole real-world-school thing. I would love an epic NA fantasy book. <3 That would be for me, I think. ANYWAY. Thank you for sharing this awesome post. <3 You are the best.

  • So agree with you with sex scenes in NA books. Some are just plain gross. UGH. I do love Colleen's books. She's amazing. Beautiful review BTW.

  • Gorgeous post, Joy, and you're spot-on with everything you said – from the way NA books are shelved to the way some authors can't decide whether it's Erotica or Young Adult they're writing adn who their target audience is, so they just throw it all in one bag and label it New Adult. And yes, I agree with you, for the most part all the NA books seem to follow the same old pattern which some people are fine with, but to me it's just redundant and a waste of time.

    Anyhoo~! That being said, I am glad that you loved Colleen Hoover's books. I haven't read them yet, but some of my friends did and they all agree that these are some quality books here. I am very curious to read them myself. I don't like stalkerish characters but I agree with you, in this case it all seems well motivated and not so much being a creepy stalker, but a concerned friend.

    Loved reading your thoughts, luv! 🙂

  • I've stayed away from the NA genre too a lot because some of the reasons you mentioned. But you know me, I love to get my heard ripped out and stomped on. There has been so much praise for Hoover's books, but I never know where to begin, but I think you have me convinced that Hopeless is definitely the best place to start! Beautiful review Joy!

  • Wow, this sounds powerful, and I need to read these soon

  • What a great review! I heard so many great things about Colleen Hoover's books, especially Hopeless, I'm dying to pick it up and read it! I love how you said it can be a YA book!

    Happy Reading!
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  • I've had this book in the Kindle shelf for quite sometime now… I'm not sure if i'll pick this up on the local store because I keep seeing this on the shelves. I'm a big fan of NA and I agree with everything that you said about it. Have I told you that every time I read your review you make me want to read the book you just reviewed? I just am getting this on my to-read list soon! Nice review 🙂

    ~Jay
    We Fancy Books

  • I wonder if I have tried NA, but I'll buy one next month to see it. I don't think I've ever seen a review about this series but the story sounds intense.

  • Like you, I'm resisting these to the best of my ability. I get like that when there's too much hype around an author. And like you, I don't read that much NA at all, for pretty much the same reason. But seeing how this worked for you and touched your heart like it did, I am now forced to reconsider. You always do that! *glares*
    I'm glad you so unexpectedly enjoyed these. Lovely post.