Book Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Title: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Published: 2012
Genre: New Adult Romance

Synopsis: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies… That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried. Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Rating: Red-StarRed-Star

Two stars means I didn’t like it and that’s as simple as it gets. For me this was a combination of a few things. First of all, of this book is marketed as a new adult novel, however upon embarking into the world of strange names that is this book I quickly realized that this was not an adult novel this was a teen book. I have no problem with the young adult contemporaries however I would like to know I’m going to read them before reading them so I can be in the mood. That was the first problem with this novel, I thought I was reading an adult book, I was wanting an adult book and that is not what this book is about despite addressing adult issues.

Secondly, this book is about 75 pages too long and suffers from horrible unbalance. We have 246 pages of a typical YA contemporary. There’s a boy sending mixed signals, a girl that is different from the rest, high school drama etc. However, at page 246 this books COMPLETELY shifts gears and turns into a book that attempts to tackle some serious issues and I’m not sure it is successful. Quite frankly I was bored three days after I started the book, when we finally get to the big twist, it almost felt like a cheap way to bring about a backstory and a serious topic. I felt it was poor execution and I was neither amused nor enticed by it. I heard a book reviewer once describe manipulative tactics from writers that want you to feel something when it has not come about organically. This progression in this novel did not feel organic,  it felt like sticking a devastating topic into a lighthearted contemporary without interweaving and setting up the story along the way. I hope people put trigger warnings for this novel because they should, sexual abuse should not be a plot twist, sexual abuse can trigger certain people and I think they need to know what they’re getting into before finding themselves smack in the middle of such a book.

The third problem I had with this book was this insta-lovey of characters whom I felt lacked chemistry. A lot of things were basically ignored as the book went by (like Six and Breckin) and the thematic bullying was handled badly. In this book all these High School kids continue to call our protagonist a slut – the slut shaming is real. The book STARTS by the protagonist telling us she’s not a slut which should’ve been my warning. However, no adult is EVER even notified of this, no adult even notices that a student’s locker is filled with slut-bashing messages. I don’t like when writers do this because for a teen that is reading it, it becomes a norm to say nothing and hold it in or not let it bother them.

What is this book about, you’re wondering. This book is about Sky, an adopted, homeschooled teen sheltered from technological modernity. She decides to go to high school to attempt normality, is bullyied, but no big deal, meets a boy who gives her mixed signals, then falls in love, finds out horrible things about her past, we deal with them and that’s a wrap. I’m pretty upset that I disliked this book after falling in love with Hoover’s Ugly Love. I noticed it’s her first book so it makes sense that she was still learning her voice. Ugly Love is far more elegantly executed and I admire her growth as a writer because there’s been definite improvement. I will pick up more Hoover books, I currently own 2 more unread and I hope that I enjoy them far more than Hopeless.


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