|For Real by Chelsea M. Cameron|
November 14, 2013
Genre: New Adult (18+)
(contains: strong language, sexual situations, alcohol)
Source: eARC for Honest review
Two people. One fake relationship. What could go wrong?My Review:
When virgin Shannon Travers gets fed up with her friends demanding that she find a boyfriend, she enlists the help of tattooed, mohawk-rocking graphic design student Jett. He’s more than happy to play along with their Fake Relationship, including the Ten Rules of Fake Dating that control-freak Shannon comes up with. Even if he likes to violate them. Repeatedly.
But what happens when Fake Dating starts to feel… not fake anymore? Will Shannon be willing to let go and embrace the first thing in her life that’s ever felt REAL?
Sigh. I wanted to like this one. I really did. It had several elements that I thought could really work: quirky girl, quirky boy, origami cranes, dragon tattoos, virgin twist. The storyline had potential. But there were things that just didn't work for me. So overall it was a short, sweet story, that just fell flat for me. So to be fair, I'll give 5 pros and 5 cons of the book. Warning: the following contains a few spoilers.
What did I like?
1. Jett. I liked Jett. A lot. He is a great character and the saving grace of this book. I wish he could have a new book with new characters and I could read a new story about him. Because he was just sweet and cool and sweet and a gentleman. He was a nice break from the bad boys. Plus, he sported some awesome tattoos and hair and was Asian.
2. I liked that Shannon finally stood up for herself, though even when she did it was quickly glossed over and resolved. But at least she finally spoke up. Yeah for some character growth.
3. Javier's friendship with Jett. Javier may not be perfect (far from), but I loved his loyalty to Jett, and vice versa. The glimpse we get into their past together and their loyal friendship was special.
4. Shannon and Jett were really cute together, as both a fake couple and as a real couple. Their quirks and uniquenesses and insecurities and cutesiness were... quite cute.
5. The twist with Jett, although I spotted it a mile away, but I was still glad it was in there. It was a goods twist and part of the reason I kept reading.
What didn't work for me?
1. Honestly, I'm tired of "friends" trying to force other friends to lose their virginity to strangers or "just get it over with." Since when did virginity become leprosy or tuberculosis or some other contagious disease that you need to immediately rid yourself of before you can become accepted into normal adult society? Shannon's "friends" were awful. I was horrified by the lengths they went to in the beginning to practically force Shannon out of her virginity. I'm sure that they had other decent qualities, but the author did not expand and develop their characters beyond the superficial, thus we're only left with their negative qualities, and some vague sense that Hazel had been good to Shannon at other time in the past.
2. Shannon herself seemed like a contradiction. For someone who looks down on her family and her upbringing, and has left for college to live a much more prosperous life once she gets her degree, for all the strength she used to get out of the mediocrity of her family, she has minimal backbone when it comes to her "friends." So Shannon has supposed great insight into her own family and her personal goals, some insight into her "friends" and their motives even though she won't confront them about anything, but zero insight into the obviousness about how Jett felt about her. I found this all very distracting for me to fully bond with Shannon and her story.
3. The one-dimensional secondary characters. All the girls blended together into one friend-blob. And most of the characters lacked depth and description. We don't get a great picture of anyone, outside of Jett's awesome tattoos.
4. There was also some extreme stereotyping that didn't work for me. The evil Christian homeschoolers for one, was just a little much for me. Maybe the author knows people like this, but in my homeschool experience, I think she could have chosen a family a little less obvious and made the story a bit more credible. I'm sure there is an extremely small percentage of people like this, but because of this extreme this just made the book a little silly for me. I know its fiction, but still.
5. Also, Shannon's frequent use and discussion of her B.O.B. was also a bit much. This seemed particularly out of place when she finally does lose her virginity and complains of and describes such extreme pain with it. But here's the thing, she was pretty well prepped beforehand by the guy, plus her body is very familiar with B.O.B., so I don't get, once again, why she has such an extreme reaction. I realize there is discomfort, and each person has their own experience, but from personal experience I just wasn't buying such extremity.
Bottomline: This is a quick read, with a cute couple and a sweet romance, in the New Adult genre. Overall, it didn't completely work for me, but it may work great for you.
2-1/2 to 3 STARS