Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Title: Love Story
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Release date: July 19th 2011
Pages: 243
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
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For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book. I read Jennifer Echols's Going Too Far a while ago, but have since then failed to connect with her other books. Love Story is an okay book, but it didn't have the magic I've been looking for ever since I fell in love with Going Too Far.

Let's start with the positive. I did love the set-up of Love Story. The whole idea to have these two connect by writing about each other is so unique and intriguing! And I did enjoy that aspect. I loved reading the stories Erin and Hunter write for their creative writing class, and I wish even more of them had been included in the book, since I connected with the characters' writing a lot more than with the characters themselves. It's great how Love Story focuses on bookish topics, on how Erin wants to be a novelist or at least work in publishing, since, well, that's what I'm interested in, too.

I also love that Love Story is set at college. I love new adult books, and I wish there were more of them. As a soon-to-be college student, I loved reading about what college is like for Erin! The scenes set at their dorm are awesome and really let me get a feel for what college life is like, and I can only hope I'll get roommates as awesome as Erin's. I liked reading about the Creative Writing class, even though it is a bit strange how much of Erin's life is centered around that class. Of course it's important for the story, but I thought it was weird how basically all of her friends were in that class as well.

Jennifer Echols' writing is great. Her writing is easy to read and sounds very realistic. The word 'mature' comes to mind when I think of her style - I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I just love how her books are aimed at the older set of YA readers, and how every scene reflects that. Her style is the reason I keep giving Jennifer Echols's books another chance, and will continue to do so, even if I don't connect with all of her books.

In theory, I should have loved this book, since I did like the original premise and the college setting. But a lot of it just didn't work for me, and I think the main reason is that I couldn't connect with the characters. Erin has a unique background, and what she's going through is interesting to read about. I also loved her writerly ambitions. But Erin, just Erin as a person, I didn't love. She's a pretty flat character, and I don't feel like we got to know her that well, aside form the obvious, like her family history and her career goals. And what we do get to know, I didn't like - she's very whiny and keeps complaining about every little thing. I mean, I get it - it can't be easy, suddenly being cut off from her family and money. But I just couldn't get myself to feel for her because of her stubborn and whiny attitude.

Then there's Hunter. I know Jennifer Echols can write a hell of a love interest, because she did so in Going Too Far - John After (*insert major swooning here*) is one of my favorite male leads ever. But in Love Story, I just didn't feel it. Hunter is a pretty average character - again, he has an interesting background and history with Erin, but just him, as a person, I never really got to know. I was expecting amazing sexual chemistry, because Jennifer Echols is the master of sexual tension - even in Forget You, a book that frustrated me to no end, we at least got some swoonworthy chemistry. But in Love Story, I felt... nothing. Hunter and Erin annoyed me with their attitude, how they kept going back and forth between loving and hating each other for no apparent reason, and how they just couldn't get over their stubbornness and try to work it out. The drama between these two is so over-done. I usually love when characters take some time to get together, if the author first develops the characters fully and takes her time to build up chemistry between her characters. But in Love Story, I just didn't care whether Erin and Hunter got together or not because they annoyed me so much. Erin and Hunter have none of Meg and John's amazing chemistry, and I just couldn't get myself to care about them.

An important part of Love Story is Erin's family history and the family's horse farm. And I personally was just very bored by everything about that horse farm. I know I'm breaking some kind of all-girls-need-to-love-horses rule, but I just... don't. The only thing I feel for horses is fear. I'm not interested in horses, horse riding, horse racing, horse breeding, or anything related to horses, so that whole storyline didn't really do anything for me.

Even though I loved everything about the set-up, I didn't love this book because I found both main characters flat and not very likeable, and I just couldn't connect with the story. Love Story is a pretty enjoyable read, but I didn't love it like I'd hoped I would. But even though Love Story didn't end up being the book for me, I know I'll keep reading Jennifer Echols's romantic dramas. Maybe her newest novel, Such a Rush, will be the one to take me back to how much I loved Going Too Far.

Do you have any authors you keep coming back to, even if you didn't love all of their books?


  1. I really liked this one! I like how things were complicated between them and how they each had to grow past prejudices they had towards each other:)

  2. A good story is not enough if you don't connect with the characters. Pity!!


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