Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Title: Over You 
Author: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Genre: Young Adult, Chick Lit
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 304
Format: eBook 
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 13 - 25, 2012 
My Rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all. 

How is it that civilization evolved the ability to shuttle someone to the moon, but other than capturing its excruciating details in every medium, it hadn't come up with anything to guide women through heartbreak? 

This is a story about a 17-year-old girl, Max Scott, who runs a company of her own called Ex, Inc. With the help of Max's two friends, the company helps girls all over New York get over their exes. So far Max is the guru of heartbreak, until she sees Hugo Tillman, the guy who dumped her years ago, in the neighborhood. And then this proves to her that she isn't really as over him as she thinks she is.

I liked the idea of this book. I thought it was very promising and that it would be a fun read. And in a way, it is. I expected it to be a YA novel, but it turns out to be chick lit with YA characters. Now, my experience with chick lit novels in the past has told me that I don't tend to like them that much --there are only a few chick lit books that I have given the maximum of 4 stars to. And while I liked Over You enough, there are some things in the book that kept me from fully enjoying it.

In the very beginning, I had a problem getting into it. To begin with, I'm not really a big fan of third-person omniscient narration in chick lit, and this is exactly how the book is narrated. What's more, the run-on sentences (some are 7 lines long!) with lots of punctuation marks make me constantly lose track of what's being said. This wasn't fun. The progress was slow and I was annoyed more than anything. But after a quarter of the book, it became less difficult for me. I'm not sure if this was because I'd already got used to it or the writing really was better. Still, I wasn't impressed with the writing, to say the least.

There are many ways the book could have been better. Especially in the character department. While they're fun to read about, they don't have much depth. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Max is a good character, but I'm not sure if I liked her. She's portrayed as strong, confident, and someone who knows exactly what she's doing and doesn't let anyone mess with her. But years ago, she's been broken too. Max's breakup with Hugo, as revealed later in the book, is very miserable and involves goose shit. I liked how she thinks she's fine until Hugo comes back into her life again and she loses her cool. That's as realistic as  a relationship can get. But I don't like the way the book makes Hugo a jerk. I mean, Max is seriously not over him and she loves him so much still, and when they have another shot, the writers decide to make him the biggest asshole ever so that she realizes he's not for her and so she can easily make a decision to go back to her present love interest and easily get over Hugo. What I'm trying to say is, after all the crying and pining, if he's really that much of a jerk, how come she doesn't realize it until now? But that's not the point. The point is that I find it a very bad plot device -- one that weakens the conflict in the story and makes everything too easy. Hugo is an important character because he makes all that Max think she is come crashing down. Hugo could've had much more depth to his character and be used to make Max doubt herself even more before she finally gets over him, which would make the story much more powerful.

Bottom line: Over You has a very promising idea and is a light and fun read, but it could have been much better.


This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from Edelweiss and the publisher for review.

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