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