Hopeless (Hopeless, #1) - Colleen Hoover Full review also posted here on TotalTeenFiction

I bought this book a while ago when it was on sale for Kindle, and when I decided to take part in the NA readathon this was the book that was top of my list! Hopeless follows Sky as she starts public school for the first time. There she must deal with her dubious reputation and the attentions of Dean Holder.

So here we go*sigh*. I didn't like this book. This review is going to be hard to write because Hopeless got me really fired up, but for all the wrong reasons. I'd heard really good things and the Goodreads ratings I'd seen were great, but even within a few chapters of this book it was really starting to go wrong for me.

The problem was the love story between Sky and Holder. They first meet in a supermarket where they then have a thirty second interaction in a car park. This is the spark of things and, for me, it was ridiculous. It was already hard enough for me to believe in this instant attraction Sky has to Holder, but it's pointed out repeatedly that Sky has real problems when it comes to liking guys. In the past she's always felt "numb" when making out with guys and apparently even questioned her sexuality because of it. But then apparently thirty seconds with Holder is enough to cure of her of that?! I didn't buy it. It wasn't until a third of the way into the book when the two of them actually sit down and have a conversation to get to know each other. It needed to be wayyy earlier for me to be able to buy into their relationship.

Then there's Holder himself. I did not like him. One bit. Sky quickly finds out he has a bad reputation, something which doesn't appear to but her off. But what really killed it for me was how much time Holder spends stalking Sky. He reads her ID and then shows up her house, then asks to go running with her in a situation where she can't really say no. Oh and he goes from bunking off school to turning up just to see Sky. This is all when the two of them barely know each other and when Sky is clearly uncomfortable around him.

That wasn't the only thing about Holder that rang major alarm bells for me. At one point Sky admits to being scared of him which is just a no-no. Why is she still with him?! It's not a good example and it's not the type of relationship that should be glamourised in books. Hopeless makes it seem like it's a perfectly acceptable way to be treated, when in fact Sky should be running in the opposite direction to Holder as fast as she possibly can.

There's all these flashbacks throughout Hopeless that hint at some things in Sky's past that she can't fully remember. Even when this information was revealed, it wasn't enough to win me around. I actually disliked large parts of these plot twists. The stuff from Sky's past is pretty dark, and she's been through a lot of abusive situations. I don't have a problem generally with books that tackle abuse and it's not a subject matter that puts me off, but there were parts I just could not take seriously because of all the other stuff going on in the book that was making me rage. The problem for me was that the book has been set out as this intense romance from the beginning and the bits in the second half could probably have potential if the romance with Holder hadn't taken centre stage. I could probably have gotten on board if the story solely focused on the relationship between Sky and her adoptive mother Karen. There's a good story there but it's clouded by everything else.

I also had issues with the twists and the way information was revealed, because Holder ends up with all this knowledge about certain things and then uses it to hold power over Sky - another thing I found horribly unhealthy about their relationship. As the relationship continues there were more red flags. Holder becomes jealous and possessive and then Sky starts becoming completely dependent on him. He's making her miserable yet she's convinced herself that he is the only good thing and he's the one thing that makes her happy etc. It worried me and made Sky come across as this weak little thing who will do anything Holder wishes. I wanted to scream.

The only character I really liked - Sky's new friend Breckin - barely got any notice or development. And Sky's best friend Six spends practically the whole book out of the country so we don't get much from that friendship. (What we did get bugged me because the two girls spend the whole time calling each other slut, and then complain when they get taunted at school for being called sluts.)

What I can say about Hopeless is that the writing wasn't bad. If the author wrote a book that wasn't romance based I might consider reading it. The way the book was set out with flashbacks from Sky's past would have worked if I wasn't so enraged by everything else. It's not often a book makes me angry and sadly Hopeless did just that. It wasn't for me.

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