Hopeless – Colleen Hoover

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers

Writing: 2/5
Style 2/5
Overall: 2/5

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It’s no secret that I love a good romantic novel, so when I borrowed Hopeless from the library, I was excited to indulge in some cheesy guilty pleasures. For the first part of the book, Hopeless was everything I was expecting. You have your misunderstood bad boy with a troubled past, your emotionally cautious girl with a hard exterior and an equally troubled past, and enough sexual tension to cut through ice.

I wanted to like the book. I wanted to like the characters. Yet, there was something about Hoovers writing that made it all seem cheesy, cheap, and more like a Mills and Boons novel than what I like to refer to as ‘chick lit’. The plot was good and actually had potential but the issues that come up in the book — trust, pedophillia, sexual violence, suicide etc came off as if they were written by someone who had no idea about the complexities of these issues and more like they got their information from a made for TV movie. I don’t expect every writer to have experienced everything they write about, but I do expect more research and empathy.

There were so many problems I had with the book, I couldn’t form cohesive thoughts that flowed into each other and made sense. So to organize my thoughts I listed them out.

Sky’s Character

I started off liking Sky and Holder but I ended the book unimpressed and with the bitter realization that we need to reassess our definition of what we consider a strong independent female character. Sky is meant to be an edgy, strong, independent girl, who didn’t care what people thought of her. She’s homeschooled and all her socialization comes from her friend 6 and her adopted mother Karen. She’s surprisingly well adjusted and smooth with the boys even though she doesn’t have much opportunity for socialization. In the end she becomes the girl who needs saving, who doesn’t know how to function without Holder. I don’t understand why writers constantly use romance as a weapon to weaken their female characters as the plot develops. It’s called character development not character retrogression.

Holders character

Holder has anger issues. I like the bad boy character enough to wish for a “bad boy” in real life but Holder crosses the line between angry and scary. His intensity which is meant to be intriguing comes off as creepy at times. I just kept swinging between liking and not liking him. It also didn’t help that he seems to have some sort of hero complex and is constantly trying to protect sky like she’s a fragile damsel in distress. I think it’s hard for writers to write a strong female character who is loved by an equally strong male character without diluting either of the character’s strength (or maybe we really all just swoon at the site of abs and become incompetent).

Plot

That was one hell of a complicated plot that was treated like a trashy magazine story. Sky lost her mother, was sexually abused by her father, abducted by her aunt and told she was adopted. Holder had his best friend kidnapped, his sister was also sexually abused by Sky’s father, his sister then commits suicide, he is reunited with Sky and falls in love, lies to her about her past, then comes clean.

So much going on. So much potential.

Alas, such a disappointment.

Sky was kidnapped and grew up two towns over from where she was abducted. How did nobody catch this? Her adopted mom was the father’s family and she was never questioned? I forget how long Holder lived in that town but how did it take them so long to meet? I know she was home schooled, but she seems to have had no problem meeting other boys? Was her aunt ever gonna tell her or just lock her up in a basement when she turned 18?

Ugh. There were just so much going on and none of it was fleshed out very well. Everything that happened to Hope was traumatic. Yet, it takes her half a day to forgive her aunt and move on? I get that her aunt saved her, but she also lied and hid her away from the world. That has to play some kind of toll on a person. The story had potential, unfortunately Hoover couldn’t live up to the complexities the story necessitated. Definitely surprised because I loved Confessions and quite liked Maybe Someday.

 

PS: I tried to read Losing Hope, but I only made it 2 chapters in before I quit.

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