Sunshine Black had soft brown hair to her waist, and dimples in her elbows and knees.
Uuugh. Sunshine Black? Really? You couldn’t come up with a better name?
We were the same age, and while we weren’t really friends, we were each other’s only neighbors. And I guess that amounted to the same thing.
No it doesn’t. You don’t have to be friends with your neighbor just because you’re the same age. In fact, from what you tell us later on, she’s much more qualified to be Luke’s friend than yours. There is no rule that says you have to be friends with your neighbor.
Violet has come to talk to Sunshine and tell her about River. But first we must shit on Luke.
“ Luke is pestering Maddy. He knows how much I hate that he’s kissing her.”
Why? It’s not like you love him or anything. I mean just because Cersei and Jamie Lannister indulge in that sort of behavior, it doesn’t mean you are required to.
“She’s too stupid to say no to him. He’s being manipulative. I once said that she seemed sweet and innocent like a girl in a fairy tale, and he had to go corrupt her.”
Um…I was joking about the incest thing Violet.
This paragraph is truly bizarre because it doesn’t read like Violet is uncomfortable with PDA. I understand that. My sister-in-law has always been uncomfortable with PDA. But this reads like Violet is jealous.
From future interactions we see with Maddy, I highly doubt Luke started dating her only to spite his sister. Luke is a seventeen year old boy, and she vilifies him for having any sexual desire at all.
She starts to tell Sunshine about River, but instead of cutting right to that we get a lot of exposition on how pretty Sunshine is, and how Luke calls Violet’s stare “penetrating.” Make of that what you will.
“Is he old? Is he a pervert? Is he a serial killer? Is he going to rape you in the middle of the night? I told you not to get a renter, you know. I can’t see why you don’t just get a job if you need money.”
Finally! Reason in this book. It won’t last, but I will value it while it is here.
While the dialogue is a bit clunky here, it at least gets across some of the major problems I’ve been having thus far. Violet knows ass all about River. She’s had all of one conversation with him, doesn’t know anything about his background or how someone so young happens to have that much cash on him.
Sunshine is exactly right. If Luke and Violet needed money, why didn’t either of them get a job? It’s not as if they couldn’t get a job at minimum wage in order to pay the bills.
“I can’t get a job. If you come from old money, you have to run through it all and then drink yourself to death in the gutter. Getting a job isn’t allowed.”
Says who? I know this is the author’s stereotype on how rich people act, but it just doesn’t make any sense at all. She didn’t have any money for food! How was she supposed to afford drinking herself to death? Was she planning to do it with bleach?
Oh right. I doubt Violet even knows where the laundry room is in her house. I guess rubbing alcohol it is.
Sunshine expresses reasonable doubt that River West is an actual name. Even though the author tries to paint Sunshine as a ditz and something of a mean girl, she’s actually the most reasonable person in the book thus far.
“Maybe he did make it up. I never asked to see any identification.”
Whyyyy? Why on earth would you let someone in such close proximity to you without checking to see if they’re not a maniac first?
Sunshine suggests that she steal his wallet after getting him drunk on wine, and convincing him to kiss her. Violet automatically thinks Sunshine is a skanky ho for even suggesting it.
I didn’t like the thought of Sunshine kissing River. Or doing anything else with him. At all. An entire summer of the two of them sweating and moaning in my guesthouse filled me with a cold kind of horror. Besides, River was mine. And by mine, I mean I saw him first.
So…all the boys belong to Violet?
Really, she gets so upset of the thought of any boys being with anyone besides her. Including her own brother.
We finally get to meet Luke for the first time. Luke lifts weights and likes to wear tight shirts to show it off. Violet likes to call Luke’s muscles “stupid” quite a bit. Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping in shape.
Sunshine asks about Luke’s visit to Maddy.
“Maddy smells like coffee. And that’s good, because I like coffee. Violet, why don’t you go on home and make me some.”
Because….I guess smelling like coffee is a good reason for dating someone? Also, I see what you’re doing there. Your thinly veiled “get me a sandwich” cliché won’t slip by me.
Luke does this quite a lot. Prime asshole, for your enjoyment, with a side order of misogyny.
Despite having a girlfriend, Luke puts his hand on Sunshine’s thigh. Violet knocks it off, instead of just walking away.
If Sunshine had been a boy, she and my brother would have been best friends. But Luke would never be friends with a girl, even if they were into the same things—like locking me in closets with brutish boys from school, or setting the books I was reading on fire.
First off, why the hell can’t Luke and Sunshine be friends? Like you said, they have the same interests and hobbies. Is it just your perception that they can’t be? Or is he so sexist that anything with boobs is only fit to make his sandwiches and be handy for a good grope?
Now if they were vandalizing your property, it would be one thing, but considering Violet’s penchant to over exaggerate things, I’m going to put that down to her whining.
Violet tells Sunshine and Luke to stop teasing her, which of course makes them tease her all the more. Violet informs Luke that she’s not letting him anywhere near the money until after she’s gone grocery shopping.
Luke asks about the person saying in the guest house.
“His name is River West.” Sunshine slipped in. “And Violet’s decided she’s going to be mad as a hatter in love with him.”
Forget Violet’s supposedly “odd” way of talking. Sunshine’s the one spouting weird metaphors and vocabulary.
“That’s not remotely true.” I said, looking at her with my penetrating, know-it-all gaze. “That couldn’t be less true.”
But Sunshine was dead right, and we both knew it.
Remember how I said this was the worst case of insta-love I’ve read yet? I’m not kidding. The insta-love is worse than Twilight. Think about that. Worse than Twilight! Violet knows next to nothing about River, has only had one conversation with him, and only likes him for the way he looks. She overlooks the fact that he was evasive and insulted her within minutes of their first meeting.
The only thing Violet has to go on is the way he dresses, and that she likes the way he looks. Which is pretty shallow, if you ask me. I mean even Luke has more reasons to like Maddy than Violet does to like River. And yet she condemns her brother for his relationship and never once does any self-examination about her own feelings for River.
I’m not a huge fan of romance (ironic, since its most of what I seem to review). The only thing that makes romance novels intriguing are the relationships between the characters. When your characters feel organic and realistic, your romance is more likely to appeal to readers. Violet is about as interesting as a board. A board who likes to talk about how rich it is.
The most interesting thing about a romance novel is watching characters fall in love. When your characters are professing love for one another from the very first page, you’ve lost all momentum in your story.
Insta-love is a plot killer.
Blerg. We’re only twenty-five pages in, and already I want to smack my head into a wall. See you guys in the next chapter.