There’s a fine line between love and hate, so fine that you don’t know you’ve lost balance until it’s too late.I’m not sure exactly when I lost my balance, all I know is that he was to blame.Dane Winters.The boy who’d spent most of his life hating me for reasons I never understood.
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It was no secret that I hated her, but only I knew why.She was off-limits.And then our separate worlds collided with one tragedy.It wasn’t her fault, I knew that, but I wanted her to hurt the way I did, and I needed someone to blame. She was an easy target.Kennedy Monroe.The girl I’d picked on all our lives.And the woman I barely tolerated.Until the line between love and hate was no longer visible…

Before you read my review I MUST say this: I have never, ever posted a DNF (did-not-finish) review before on my blog. Quite frankly, I consider it to be unprofessional to do so as I didn’t finish the book, I have no right to blabber about it to you all, let alone rate it. I guess there’s a first for everything because this review is a DNF review. I stopped at the 91% mark – you’ll see my reasons – and honestly, after considering the amount of time I’ve put into reading this book and getting so close to the end, I rated and reviewed it. There is no bashing involved, just my blunt, honest thoughts that led me to DNF this book. I felt it was necessary to post this review on my blog after I squeeeed about it to you guys multiple times before it released and I feel like I owe you guys an explanation. If I didn’t post this review, I would torment myself and feel guilty for not being honest and forthcoming. But like they say, one man’s trash may be another’s treasure. You may very well love this book while I disliked it immensely.
DNF (did-not-finish) at 91%
I know what you’re thinking: 1) why am I rating a DNF but more importantly, 2) why did I not finish the book when I only have 9% left. Just hear me out okay?
I have finally reached my limits with this book. Judging from the high ratings from most readers though, I’m in the minority who feels this way, so before I even say anything else, please don’t let my upcoming negative thoughts about this book discourage you from reading it if you were interested before.
With that being said, this book didn’t work for me. Actually, that is really putting it mildly. I had so many problems with the characters, with the storyline, with the romance, with everything I don’t even know where to begin.
Going into this book, I was pretty sure it’d be a winner for several reasons: I’ve read and enjoyed a book from this author in the past so I shouldn’t have difficulties with her writing style, the love/hate dynamic is something I was in the mood for and I was ready for the angst to hit me hard, and I was really in the mood for a NA read. But from the very beginning, I started to struggle with the story. I’ll just walk you through my thought process all the way up to the 91% mark where I just could NOT go on.
My first issue was that this book is way too similar to Bully by Penelope Douglas. Having re-read Bully about 2 months ago, there were similarities that stood out so vividly I actually went back to Bully to re-read some parts to compare and the essence of some scenes were virtually identical. I’m not insinuating anything here though. Every book with a similar premise is going to have some overlap – it just can’t be helped. However, the following parallels I couldn’t get over and when I read them, I was instantly reminded of Bully and that just cut a lot of my connection to this particular book.
1. Dane has a best friend named Reid who’s a Madoc 2.0. They both have lighter personalities and are a source of comic relief in tense situations.
2. Kennedy leaves town only to return as a tough as nails girl. Tate leaves her town only to return as a tough as nails girl. Kennedy meets her bully Dane again at a party. Tate meets her bully Jared again at a party.
There were other little things like how in both books, the heroine stomped over to the hero’s party because the music was too loud etc…Once again, it may just be me being too picky but because Bully’s story is fresh in my mind, I really did feel like I was reading another version of it, at least in the beginning.
By then, another issue came up – forget the jerk hero, I didn’t even like the heroine. In the beginning, I truly sympathized for her because of the hero’s cruel antics that tortured her, but when the story is fast-forwarded to present day and she supposedly has grown a backbone, I was less than impressed with her character. It seemed like on every other page, she either giggled, stammered, or cried. Not to mention she was extremely clumsy and fell twice, both times effectively grabbing the hero’s attention that way. I mean…couldn’t there be something different? And then there was one scene (the one with the flowers) where she was going to get payback on the hero and it was so.very.dramatic. Like over the top dramatic and my eyes couldn’t stop rolling. It’s safe to say I wasn’t head over heels for this heroine.
By this time, the hero and heroine are already sleeping with each other, leaving me to wonder what the heck happened to the love/hate dynamic. You know, the kind that’s ‘I–hate-you-but-I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-of-you-either’ type of relationship. There was no build up: it went from rude remarks to instant banging. Dane got jealous from the very beginning and Kennedy couldn’t stop thinking about how hot Dane was from the start either. Thus, the whole enemies to lovers premise wasn’t really strong and the lack of buildup was disappointing.
Another thing that bothered me was the focus on all the side character drama!!! It’s great to have a strong side character cast and in this book that was the case, but there was too much focus on Dane’s best friend, Kennedy’s two best friends, guys on the football team, both of their siblings, etc…and not enough focus on Dane and Kennedy.
And then, there was a little issue I had with the timeline of the story. First, it was very choppy. I go from the beginning (3 years into the past), then the present, and then from there, every other chapter seemed to do a small time jump ranging from a few weeks to months. For example, the first time Kennedy and her best friend meet their new roommate before college starts, right after that chapter it’s already a month later and fast forward to when all three become best friends already and go out to celebrate Kennedy’s birthday. I want the details too – what happened in that time lapse? What happened in the other time lapses?
And here we are, at the dreaded 91% mark. I honestly don’t know what else to say about this scene other than it seriously pissed me off, it made me throw my iPad at the wall, and it made me feel stabby for hours. But most importantly, it made me believe that there was NOTHING redeeming about the hero. At this far in the book, the hero and heroine aren’t even together. What does that even say about the romance and their relationship? Their messes are far from sorted out and then they get into this fight where the hero says:
“You don’t get to cry. It should have been you in that car, not Jewel [hero’s sister]. Your brother should have taken your life with his, and not hers.”
Seriously. WTF!
For him to say this it would take a lot – A LOT – of groveling and such to make it up to the heroine (and me, the reader!!!) but if you noticed, this is at the 91% mark. I don’t even need to read the last 9% of the book to know that it’ll be rushed to tie up all the loose ends and give these characters a happy ending, especially since they weren’t even a couple at this point. So I thought to myself – why bother continuing? It’s obvious that the last 9% isn’t going to change my opinion for the rest of the book. My reading time is already limited and I can’t afford to waste any more. One thing this book did accomplish was make me so angry I can’t even think about reading another book, at least for a few hours or so. As I will never discourage anyone from reading a book, I’m going to end with read at your own risk.
ARC provided by Patchwork Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.