Because I screwed up my log-in on the library's digital site, Chapter Nine of this dumb book opened up this afternoon when I tried to read something else. It was like a train wreck that I couldn't pull my eyes way from.
I guess what bothered me the most about this book was how it upended my trust in readers. As of today, it has another review, 4-stars, and the consensus seems to be that it's a light, fun summer read, nothing heavy, nothing that would require the reader to actually think.
But reading requires the reader to think, doesn't it? I mean, isn't that the point of reading? You look at the little symbols called letters that make up the words and the sentences and the paragraphs, and you turn that into something inside your mind so you can "see" what's going on. Unlike television or movies, where all the action and all the voices and all the sights are put in front of you for passive enjoyment, books require you to activate your imagination at least a little bit.
This book didn't provide the necessary detail to prompt the imagination. At the 25% mark, I had no idea what Rosy looked like, or Matt, or any of the other people. I didn't know what Rosy's house looked like, or Matt's. Or the school.
Those were just the visual cues. What about sounds? Smells? Textures? Virtually all of that was missing, along with stage directions and even speech tags.
Also missing was consistent, coherent motivation. Rosy behaved out of character without sufficient reason. She tossed over her Rule about dating locals without hardly a thought. She proved to be absolutely spineless in the face of a confrontation with a student's parent and with a school official.
She even ignored basic better judgment more than once by engaging with Matt while still believing he was in a relationship with Angelina.
So after I had skimmed through two or three more eye-rollingly horrible chapters, I shook my head in frustrated dismay and returned the book to the library, prepared to move on to something else.
This is one of those bad books that's going to stick with me for a long time. It's one thing for an author to self-publish a book that reads like a rough draft. It's another for a publishing company to put out something so poorly written. But it's an entirely different thing when readers don't -- or can't -- recognize even the more basic flaws. I guess I expected more from readers.