I love CoHo and there is no question that she can write well. Confess was perfection in my eyes, and definitely one of the best books I’ve read all year. I normally don’t like to tell too much about myself online, but even my review for Confess was the most personal review I’ve ever done. After I read it, I vowed to read everything Colleen Hoover created. Even despite me not thinking Hopeless was five star worthy like everyone else on the planet. Even with this book and Maybe Someday not working for me, I will still read whatever she comes up with next, because she’s extremely talented and has so much potential to write five star books.
This is a book you should really go into not having any preconceived knowledge, so if you haven’t read this yet I strongly urge you to not read this review, because I will have spoilers laced throughout.
This book had so much potential. It started out amazing, with such a different plot, even though it was sort of unrealistic for eighteen year olds to be so mature. Basically, our star, Fallon, is badly scarred on 30% of her body from a house fire when she was sixteen. While having a fight She wants to be a Broadway actress, but her father is pretty negative because of the scars that run down the side of her face and her body (and lunch) with her father on the two year anniversary of the fire, November 9th, a mysterious stranger named Ben jumps in pretending to be her boyfriend while telling her father how wrong he is. Yeah, it’s for sure insta-love, which is ironic because they joke about it constantly. But Fallon doesn’t want to have a relationship, because she’s moving to New York from California, and wants to find herself. They spend all day together and really connect with one another, so they agree to meet each other once a year for five years, or until she is ready, but they will not contact each other in between visits. He’s an aspiring writer, so he tells her he will write their story each year they meet. Honestly, the book hooked me with the start. It had one unrealistic scene when Fallon let him undress her in her closet and see most of her scars. Even though it was obviously therapeutic for Fallon to see her worth and desirability despite her scars, it was a little fast for me, but it wasn’t horrible so I was able to overlook it.
Then the first year passed, and her flight was delayed so he though she wasn’t going to show, but she does. They pretty much just got to know each other better, and discussed the “homework” they gave each other the year before. She wanted him to read a few romance books, and he wanted her to audition for a lot things in New York. I was anticipating so much more, but nothing really happened but a few cute scenes that really showed they cared for one another despite not seeing each other for a year. Warm fuzzies all around.
Next we have the second year on November 9th, which happens to be my favorite year despite how morbid it’s going to sound. Ben has two brothers, one of which you’ll know if you’ve read Ugly Love. Oh yeah, there are cameos from Ugly Love in this book too! We get to see Ian, Miles and Tate in a few scenes. Since Ugly Love really worked for me, this made my little black heart happy, even though the reunion isn’t a happy one because Ian and Ben’s oldest brother, Kyle, has died from a car accident. This November 9th anniversary was supposed to be Ben meeting with Fallon in New York, but since the unexpected death, he has to call her at the restaurant they are supposed to meet at and tell her the bad news. She feels horrible, not just for the loss of his brother, but because she will have to wait another year to see him so she flies back to California to surprise him. She’s there for him at his weakest, and her unconditional love and support make him fall completely in love with her. He even says he is moving to New York with her, because there is nothing left for him in California. Oh, you know the brother that just passed away? He has a wife and a baby on the way. Oh, and they all lived together. Fallon doesn’t think it is right of him to move away with her once she finds out no one will be able to help the widow and her baby. So they have a dramatic parting where he’s begging her not to go and she claims she’s setting him free.
Then the third year comes, which happens to be my least favorite year. They meet at this same diner in California, but this time Ben brings his Nephew and this is where the story goes right in the shitter. He is now dating his dead brother’s wife, because her and the baby formed a bond that help ease his pain of Fallon leaving him. Please unrealistic plot twist, get the fuck out of here. After a big dramatic scene, Fallon drives away, but not before Ben finding out she moved back to California for him. *cue dramatic music*
Finally we arrive at the fourth year, and Fallon refuses to go to the diner, but her friend convinces her to go out to the club. You know, because just having a sleepover and eating junk food while trying to get over the love of your life and the anniversary of being scarred is just too much to ask for. Her friend’s boyfriend ends up telling Ben where they are, and he kind of just gropes her a lot in a really awkward manner. I know for a fact that CoHo can write a good sex scene. Why is this awkward scene happening in the storage room of a club? Basically, since he kisses a twelve out of ten (and he left his brother’s widow after realizing he had a chance with Fallon and he could only love her), she ends up going back home with him Where, again, the mediocre sex scenes play out. She can’t sleep, but she finds his manuscript of “their” book, so she goes into the kitchen to read it. Shit hits the fan, because it turns out that Ben started the fire that burned her so severally when she was only sixteen. His mom killed herself and he thought it was because of her father, so the only explanation was for him to go set her father’s car on fire. I don’t think I’ve read a more forced plot twist than this. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see it coming, but only because it was so unbelievably unrealistic. This is when I knew there was no redemption for this story that started out so beautifully.
We finally approach the last year in their agreement; the fifth year. Well, Fallon got a restraining order against Ben when she left his home the previous year, but that doesn’t stop Ben from arriving at her house and dropping off his finished manuscript. She leaves it on the counter and decides to sleep the day away. When she wakes up, her mother surprised her and was going to make breakfast, but ended up just reading the book that was on the counter. Fallon tries to throw it away, but her mother tells her to read it, and Fallon always does what her mother asks of her, despite being twenty three now The whole reason she made herself wait five years was because her mother told her only after twenty three are you able to fall in love and know yourself enough to not get lost in another person. She finds out what happened to his mother and feels empathy and understanding. He’s still waiting at the diner, even though almost midnight. He decided he’s going to leave before it hits midnight, because it will be too emotional on him, knowing that she stood him up (even though she got a freaking restraining order the year before). She’s in the parking lot waiting for him, and he gives her one of his twelve out of ten kisses and they live happily ever after.
Hoover can write such a good love story that it makes me overlook some things I normally wouldn’t overlook with other authors. This, though, was a train wreck. So much unnecessary drama, it became way too unbelievable. Don’t write twists if you’re just doing it for shock value. It’s insulating and actually ruined the beautiful story that was unfolding at the beginning.
Nereyda’s Review is so perfect and spot on. Anything that I missed, she’s covered. We need more book reviewers to be honest with their reviews. Don’t give a book five stars just because you love their previous work, or because you’re friends with the author, or because they give you an ARC. I will never accept an ARC and not be honest with how I feel. We need more reviewers like Nereyda, Navessa and Khanh in this community. Reviewers that I know are not going to feed me lines of bullshit, but truly tell me what they thought of a book and why. Don’t sell out; be true to yourself. You’re worth a lot more than that.
Now excuse me while I jump off my soapbox.