Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Review: Boys Like You by Juliana Stone
Author: Juliana Stone
Release Date: May 6, 2014 by Sourcebooks
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Source: Received for review from NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads: One mistake.
And everything changes.
For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart –leaving her empty and broken. There’s a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her Grandma isn’t going to change that…
Nathan Everets knows heartache first-hand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it’s his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn’t going to change that…
Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt – looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.
Boys Like You was an enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable, young adult romance that relied a little too much on the "two broken people help each other through their issues" trope. The characters were interesting and the plot was intriguing, but I would have liked to see a lot more character development.
Monroe and Nathan are two teenagers trying to get through some difficult things from their past. Monroe goes to Louisiana to stay with her grandmother for the summer, because she can't seem to get better at home. Nathan is court-appointed to work during the summer, and it just so happens to be at the bed and breakfast Monroe's grandmother owns. Throughout the summer, Nathan slowly brings down Monroe's skyscraper high walls, and Monroe helps Nathan truly forgive himself.
What I liked most about Boys Like You was the chemistry between Monroe and Nathan. It was practically coming off the page. They worked so well together that I wanted to smoosh their heads together and say "now kiss." There was so much tension that I couldn't help but anticipate the moment they finally would realize they were meant to be, a moment that did not disappoint my rather high expectations.
Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of the duel narrative structure of this novel. I don't think it left enough room for the character development these two deserved. I felt like I was always playing catch-up to see how the character had progressed since the last time I saw him or her, instead of seeing that development for myself. Nathan and Monroe make a lot of leaps in this novel, and I was happy with the final result, but I wish I could have focused on one of them and seen it through the entire thing.
I have mixed feelings about the secondary characters. Though I liked Grandma's personality, her dialogue felt stiff to me. Nathan's friends and ex-girlfriend were very two dimensional. The author tried to make them more dynamic, but I didn't feel any real connection to them at all, nor did I particularly understand some of their actions. I wish the secondary characters could have been more developed, because there was some real potential for them to be a great asset to the novel.
Ultimately, I enjoyed reading Boys Like You because of the chemistry and tension between Nathan and Monroe, but I didn't like the duel narration or feel a connection to the secondary characters. I recommend it if you're looking for a love story with some heavier elements and has a great ending.