by Penelope Douglas
Do you ever read a book that you kind of love, but you hate that you love it? This was one of those books for me.Summary: “We were perfect together. Until we met.”
I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.
In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever... And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us. Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.
We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?
Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances? I need to meet her. I just don’t expect to hate what I find.
He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch. Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something. He could be gone forever. Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.
What I loved about it was purely that it had me completely hooked. It was addictive and had a lot of tropes that simultaneously bug me and thoroughly entertain me. I loved the idea of the story from the moment I read the summary, and had the same concept been written differently, it could've easily become one of my favourite books.
The problem I had, and the reason I'm so torn, is because even though it had me hooked and I read it in one sitting, it also pulled a lot of crap I really, really, really hate in books. It was slut shame-y, there was a lot of that awful catty girl hate going on and there was literally no positive female friendships/relationships until almost the very end (and even then, it was so insignificant to the story that it barely registered).
Through most of the story, the main female character was a bully at worst and someone who stood there doing nothing while others were being hurt at best -- and while she did have a sort of redemption arc going on, something about the way it was done bugged me. I can't put my finger on why.
And the romance? I admit, that was one of the parts that hooked me. I love those opposites attract, love-hate type relationships. They're addictive, and I find it hard not to root for those couples. My issue with this one was that the dude was such a judgemental asshat and could be so manipulative and borderline emotionally abusive (sometimes even toeing the line of physical abuse too). And there was a lot of "you're not like other girls" kind of attitude thrown in there. There were definitely good parts to it too, but there was a lot that bothered me about it.
Basically, the book was kind of an extremely problematic fave. There is so much about the story and the characters that wasn't okay with me, but a book that can make me feel for the characters and has me so gripped that I read it in one sitting obviously did something right. I'd rate it 4 stars for how entertaining it was, 2 for subject matter, so overall I'd say it gets 3 stars out of 5.