Hi, yes, I am fully aware of how long and aggressive the title of this post is. But this lovely bout of cleverness came to me just as I was transfering my review from Google Docs to WordPress, and I simply couldn’t pass up the comedic oppurtunity. What can I say, I’m a woman in comedy at heart *shrug*
How do you say, in the most diplomatic way possible, that this book was SO not for me. On so many levels.
To preface this review, I knew I was not a fan of Dugan’s previous book “Some Girls Do.” Conceptually? Cute. Execution? Underbaked. Even still, the promise of a sapphic romance with forced proximity and an ice cream-centric roadtrip allured me to the dark side and convinced me to give Dugan’s books another chance.
Y’all. I should have trusted my instincts on this one. But alas, I could not resist a good ice cream pun on the cover (rocky road hehe), so multiple hours spent reading and a hoarse voice from ranting to the Notes App on my phone later, here we are. Sigh.
I think the main character, Fallon, captured my thoughts on this book best at the 61% point: “God. So much drama. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m normally a drama girl. I have absolutely no interest in being a part of drama or creating it, but I really don’t mind a few spatterings of it in my ya contemporary or watching it unfold in all of its dramatic glory from afar. But even for me, this was too much.
The only semblance of a plot — save for the road trip aspect – was the miscommunication, senseless anger, and merry-go-round of endless drama mounded on top of every. single. interaction. the main characters had.
To keep the spirit of the ice cream alive, let me offer you a metaphor: If the plot of this book was vanilla ice cream, the miscommunication, petty bickering (not even fun banter bickering arg), and, of course, drama, is the borderline illegal amount of toppings a three-year-old with free reign to toppings will put on.
The hot fudge that is miscommunication? Yeah, let’s just drown the ice cream in a whole river of it. Please, let’s also dump a bucketful of drama filled sprinkles on top so you can choke on those anytime you think you get to a mildly entertaining plot point. Caramel. Breaking the fourth wall. Maraschino cherries. More fighting around the actual argument. I swear, there was no plot (or ice cream) left under all, which made for a read that was equivalent to that of melted ice cream soup with suspect chunks of topping residue floating on top.
Ok. Maybe I strayed away from the whole diplomatic part of this review. Taking that as my cue to pivot (PIVOT!!!) and focus on a new point: the characters.
I know their names. They existed. They fought. They were (supposedly?) best friends before they hooked up and burnt their entire relationship to the ground. Beyond those key details, I really don’t think I could say much else.
Maybe this is because everything about the characters felt really 2-D and really in need of the show-not-tell-esque mentality. I mean, we were told that Fallon likes movies. We were told Chloe likes animal crackers. That’s really it, though.
The real kicker of the overdose of telling is the need for a complex tapestry of history when it comes to second chance romance. There’s gotta be history, complications, and a reason things didn’t work out. That is all part of the trope’s package dealio, but there also has to be a reason why the characters are willing to give it another shot. There has to be some sort of underlying chemistry, some level of pining, literally anything that sets off alarm bells to the reader saying hm maybe take two on this relationship is a good idea after all.
No such luck. There was nothing but hate and bickering between Fallon and Chloe; I really don’t think I could tell you why they were friends in the first place, let alone why they wanted to date each other. Their entire relationship seemed like those types of orchestrated playdates your parents set up when you’re young so you can go be a kid and make friends or whatever. Expect they were 18 and 19 and were apparently still friends? Idk y’all, it was weird.
Maybe this would have worked better if the pacing wasn’t so majorly out of whack. Had Fallon and Chloe had their all-feelings-on-the-table-lets-get-through-this-WAIT!!!-we-like-each-other-still?? confrontation way sooner, maybe there would have been more time to gain a vested interest in the romance that was unfolding. Instead, getting that confrontation in the third act made the first two drag tremendously and deprived me of the sugary sweet moments you’d expect in an ice cream-centric romance.
All of this yelling slash rambling is to say this book really didn’t work for me. But who knows, if you are a Jennifer Dugan stan or a sucker for a second chance romance, this may be your vibe. I just hope it is less of a rocky road to get through for you than it was for me.
Fave ice cream flavor? Have you read this one? What did you think?