“Welcome to Conti’s. I’m Lia and I’ll nguhhhhhhhhhhhhh”.
I froze. Directly facing me was Olympic swimmer, Jay Morningstar… and I just made an idiot of myself.
The rest of the table looked up to see me standing there with my mouth practically gaping. His coach, who I recognized from TV interviews, and even two other swimmers from the Olympic team… they didn’t say anything, they didn’t even blink.
“Uh… I mean…”
I couldn’t even put together my words and Jay Morningstar was just staring at me with that Wheaties box smile and those icy blue eyes.
What was I supposed to say? “Sorry I just made a weird noise, it’s just that I have a poster of you on my wall where you are wearing nothing more than your gold medals, a smile, and a pair of man panties?”
I read this book with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, as buddy read, so check her blog soon to read her review of this book.
I honestly don’t even know hot to start this review. When I read the blurb, I was super excited, I mean, it sounds super fun, and an olympic swimmer? Sign me up. Unfortunately this book didn’t live up to my expectations… it didn’t even came close to it, and it actually pains me to be writing this review, and I don’t want to insult the author, not even for a second. But I’m a fair reviewer, and I don’t shy away from bad reviews, so here we go…
I thought the writing in this book was OK… the story is told in Lia’s POV, on the first person, and it somewhat works. I think it would have been somewhat better if Jay’s POV would have been part of the story too, because there are some points of the plot that are still a bit muddied in my head.
I had huge problems with all the characters of this book. All of them. Honestly I didn’t like anyone, and that’s never good.
Lia, our main character, is a weak person. That could be super ok, because not everyone at 19/20 is a strong person, but she shows no growth whatsoever during this book. She let’s her future be decided entirely by her parents, she chooses a path that she’s not even sure she likes, she moons over a boy that she doesn’t truly know. She makes ONE decision for herself during the book, and she retracts it the very next morning when she apologizes for something she shouldn’t. She also can’t take a joke and she’s always doubting herself and putting herself down. It’s annoying and sad! Take a look:
Dana smiled, pushing me toward the girl. “My sister-in-law is looking for a dress to wear to a wedding in California.”
“Oh, California! Awesome. Anything in particular you’re looking for?” The girl asked.
I shrugged. “Something that doesn’t make me look like a whale?”
The girl laughed nervously. “What size? Any color? Style?”
Jay is not much better, though I liked him a bit better. He does know what he wants out of life, so a point for him, but still, he did some things so wrong during this book, that I didn’t even know where that was coming from.
The supporting characters are caricatures and clichés, and mostly annoying and pointless.
My biggest problem with this book, by miles, was the representation of the patriarchy and chauvinism. I know there are a lot of controlling families, where the men sit at the table while the women do all the work. I know it exists, it’s sad, but that’s not what bothered me. What irked me what how the main characters went along with this. I will tell you before hand, Lia is 19 and Jay is 20!!!! Lia goes to university, works, owns a car, and while she still lives with her parents, she shouldn’t be treated like a 13 yo. She shouldn’t allow them to treat her as one. Instead, things like this happen all the time during the book:
“What I was telling your dad is that Jay meant no disrespect by taking you out without his permission,” Jay’s coach said. “I didn’t even know that your father didn’t know about this relationship until Jay told me at practice this morning. I figured it’s why he’s messing up his sets. Since I have a daughter of my own, I sympathized with your father and told him that he had to come clean.”
I will say again how she’s a grown woman, because that looks like a teen thing, right? Then there’s this:
“Mr. Conti…” Jay turned his attention toward my dad. “I’m sorry for thinking that Rosalia had your permission to go out with me and my friends and I promise it won’t happen again.”
Then to make matters worse (in my opinion), this is her brother’s argument, so their dad will “allow” his grown up daughter to date an olympic swimmer:
“That’s right. Business has been great. People from Dallas are coming into the restaurant now. And come on, Pops.” Sonny slid his arm around my dad, shooting a wink in my direction. “It’s not like guys are really banging down our door to get to Lia.”
I have so many problems with that whole exchange. SO MANY! But then Jay goes and does something as chauvinist as her father and brother:
Slowly he peeled his shirt off, revealing his sweaty and very toned torso, then he handed me his shirt. “You wouldn’t mind washing my clothes too, would you? I didn’t expect a workout when I got here.”
I honestly can’t deal with this shit. She puts herself down, and let’s everyone around her do the same. Even when Jay tries to tell her she should relax and not think too much, she can’t. She doubts and thinks the most stupid things:
He reached into his pocket and I sucked in a breath. Was he going to pull out a joint? Even worse, what if it was a condom?
I should mention that they were on a private plane… the likelihood of Jay taking out either of those items was very very small…
I’ve mentioned that she felt too young, right? She did, not only didn’t she stick up for herself, but her knowledge of guys, relationships, sex or her own body was beyond limited. I’ve read a lot of books where the MC was a virgin, and had very little experience with guys, but none as clueless and stupid as this one. There’s a particular moment in this book where I wanted to chuck my phone to the wall, because I couldn’t believe her stupidity. I mean, I’m pretty sure that for a moment there she might have thought that she could get pregnant from stray semen on the swimming pool… and then there’s the fact that she thought she was bleeding because of a finger, and not because of her period… yeah… bright girl, this one.
The romance was the biggest case of instalove that I ever read about. She saw him and was struck, I kind of get that because she had been fantasising about him for a long time, but then he sees her and is basically in love himself. Within very little time they are boyfriend and girlfriend, he’s meeting her family, she’s cooking for him and his friends. Is this all bad? No. I can deal with insta-whatever, but the relationship has to make sense, and the couple needs to have chemistry. These two didn’t make sense and had 0 chemistry!
Then there are just weird things in this book, like his family’s reality show, his ex-girlfriend, and the conflict that comes between them. It was beyond weird. I didn’t like the conflict or the resolution. Or the second conflict. Or the fact that Lia “fought” her battles through hashtags on instagram…
In the end I was livid by the way that things came together to her. She gets to go study far from home, but not because she stuck to her dreams and wants and convinced her parents that it was the right things for her. Oh no. She manages to do it, because her mother says that she can go do whatever and she’ll support her. But Lia NEVER stood her ground. Not for a single second, and ultimately that’s what bothered me the most. Because by the way this family is presented, it would be the perfect situation for her to assert herself, and she never did.
I honestly can’t recommend this book at all. But I have to say that I seem to be the only one, because goodreads is full of 5 and 4 stars reviews for this book. So, I’ll urge you to check them out and decide for yourself if this book might be for you or not.