No one could accuse Colleen Hoover for not being creative with every single thing she’s released thus far. She always has a knack of infusing something unique to her books from poetry, to songs, to plot twist. In this book, it was art. They were beautiful. The way she used the confessions with the art was very unique. They were the best part of the book for me.
Owen Gentry is a semi-famous Dallas artist whose paintings are inspired by real life confessions. Some of these confessions were brutally heart-wrenching and the art that goes along with it reflects that. Apart from his art, Owen also has secrets of his own along with a tragic family history.
Auburn Reed is a young woman came to Dallas for a reason. Like Owen, she also suffers tragedy in her life. She’s the epitome of a lost soul. She’s not really living but simply existing. That is until she met Owen. But here’s the catch — Owen already knows long before she met him at his gallery. This was Owen’s secret which was later on revealed at the end of book.
Like I said, the way Hoover used the confessions along with the art was simply genius. Unfortunately, the rest left me underwhelmed.
I have no problem with clichés or whatever as long as I am able to relate to the characters. Sadly, Owen and Auburn left me cold. I couldn’t find anything remotely interesting about them. Sure their lives are fucked up and they suffered tremendous tragedies in their young lives…but most characters in this genre often have tragic pasts so they don’t automatically make me feel sympathetic anymore. What keeps me interested is how the characters deal with their tragedies.
In this book, it was a big fail. At least for me. I feel for Auburn somewhat. Her situation wasn’t an easy one for sure. But I wasn’t impressed with the fact that she only grew a backbone AFTER she met Owen. Prior to that, she just moved with the flow. It was as if her life didn’t start until she met Owen. She wasn’t sure what she wants to do or even what she likes. She’s only doing the hair thing because of her son but even then, her attitude was all, “Poor me, I have no talent and I suck at being a hairdresser. Poor me.” I do understand. Her choices were fairly limited but her whole attitude was off putting.
“I suck at cutting hair. I hate listening to everyone’s problems while they sit in the salon chair. I swear, people take so many things for granted, and hearing all their whiny stories puts me in such a bad mood.”
Oh, the irony.
“There are a few really good clients. People I look forward to. I think it’s not so much the people that I don’t like, but the fact that I had to choose something I didn’t want to do.”
And when Owen told her about how his art chose him, she thought…
I love that answer. I’m also jealous of it, because I wish I could have been born with a natural talent. Something that would have chosen me, so that I wouldn’t have to cut hair all day.
Owen gave me the heebei jeebeis- …and he didn’t get better. It only got better after I realized ‘Gosh, he’s the hero! Of course, it’s perfectly fine to act possessive towards a girl he just met. Silly me.’
I wanted him to disappear. The fact that he’s everywhere annoyed me. The fact that he and Auburn seems to have more page time together was disappointing. Trey is someone who exerts influence over Auburn’s life. His control over her left me uncomfortable, even more so because Auburn keeps defending his actions.
TRIGGER WARNING: There’s a part in the book where Trey tries to rape Auburn after finding out that she slept with Owen. He would have succeeded had it not been for Auburn’s roommate who stopped it. Auburn then proceeded to excuse Trey’s actions. This was written in a way that the reason Auburn defended Trey and didn’t pursue legal action against him was because of her son.
It didn’t help that I didn’t feel any connection between Owen and Auburn. They saw each other and boom–a day later they are obsessed, in love or whatever. I couldn’t handle it. There was no build up to their romance whatsoever. I kept being told ‘This happened’ and ‘I felt this for her/him’ but I wasn’t shown. Of course, the last 2% of the book ‘explained’ how they’re connected but even then, it still didn’t make sense to me.
Maybe I’m getting too old for these types of “fated to be together” stories…because I didn’t find anything remotely romantic about their connection. When I got to that part, I was like…
It was anti-climactic. A secret that shouldn’t have been a secret at all. It was cute. Very cute. But my cynical heart wasn’t a bit persuaded.
Sorry, CoHo. I still love you but this one wasn’t my cuppa.