01 May 2016


Synopsis from back cover: Sky, a senior in high school, meets Dean Holder, a guy with a promiscuous reputation that rivals her own. From their very first encounter, he terrifies and captivates her. Something about him sparks memories of her deeply troubled past, a time she's tried so hard to bury. Though Sky is determined to stay far away from him, his unwavering pursuit and enigmatic smile break down her defenses and the intensity of the bond between them grows. But the mysterious Holder has been keeping secrets of his own, and once they are revealed, Sky is changed forever and her ability to trust may be a casualty of the truth.

Only by courageously facing the stark revelations can Sky and Holder hope to heal their emotional scars and find a way to live and love without boundaries.

Stats for my copy: Trade paperback, Atria Books, 2013.

How acquired: Loaned to me by my daughter.

First line: I stand up and look down at the bed, holding my breath in fear of the sounds that are escalating from deep within my throat.

My thoughts: I see references to Colleen Hoover and her books constantly, on blogs, and on Instagram, where it seems the majority of the book-related accounts belong to teenagers and twenty-somethings. So much hype about this author and her books. I've gotten away from the YA genre in the last few years, so I didn't really have any interest in reading her.

My daughter, who will be twenty-three in a couple of weeks, loved books as a child, but once past elementary school she didn't spend much time reading. In fact, she hardly read at all, other than at work (a daycare) during nap time, and then she mostly read Joyce Meyer or similar, or self-help books related to relationships and nutrition and healthy eating. But one of her co-workers convinced her to try a Colleen Hoover book, and suddenly she's reading like crazy, wanting more Hoover books, and then she read Nicholas Sparks and wanted more of his books, and then she just wanted me to find anything similar that I thought she might also like. So I am forever grateful to Ms. Hoover for helping my daughter rediscover her love of books and reading. And when my daughter texted me and said I should read this Colleen Hover book she just finished and would I want to borrow it, I said yes, because I owe it to Ms. Hoover to give her books a chance.

So, I read HOPELESS. It took me awhile to get through the first half. Partly because of work and life and being so tired at night that I sometimes could only read for ten or fifteen minutes before I had to go to sleep. Partly because it just did not quite captivate me the way it did my daughter and all those other Hoover fan girls out there. To begin with, I'm not a big fan of present tense narration, so that put me off just a little, but I got to used to it fairly quickly and it didn't bother me too much in the long run. I just found the story kind of blah in the beginning. Sky tells us early on that Karen, her mother, adopted her when she was three. And yet all throughout the book she always refers to her mother by her name. When speaking to her mother she calls her mom, but when telling us about her mother she calls her Karen. I just didn't like the connotation that gave, as if since Karen is not her biological mother she's not entitled to be referred to a her mother. Even though she is.

And then there's just all the angst of being the new girl in school. Of having the reputation of being the loose girl in school who sleeps with everybody even though she's not actually had sex with anybody. Of the one person becoming her friend being the weird gay kid. And then of meeting Holder, who is a little disturbing with his violent outbursts.

And then the big secret comes out, and from that point on I was suddenly reading faster and was much more invested and it was intense and at times a little nerve-wracking, and I can't really say much more about it without giving away too much plot, but the ending was fantastic and I even cried a little bit. So while I don't necessarily want to run out and buy every Colleen Hoover book I can find, I understand why she's so popular and beloved, and she deserves to be. 

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