This week on NetGalley Friday, we have Since Forever Ago by Olivia Besse. Thank you to NetGalley and Wunderland Press for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Isn’t the cover cute? I kinda love it.
Rating: 3 Stars
Published: May 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance
“You know what they say,” Max began with a laugh. “Alcohol might not fix a broken heart, but it’ll help you forget the asshole who broke it.”
Riley has just discovered that her boyfriend of 6 years, Noah Cohen, has been cheating on her by finding girls on an that specializes in connecting hookups. Riley is devastated but determined to get back on the dating scene. The only problem is that she doesn’t exactly know HOW to date since the last time she did she was in high school. Enter Max, one of her long time best friends. They grew up together and unbeknownst to Riley, Max has been in love her long almost the entire time they’ve known each other. He’s just never had the guts to make a move but now’s his chance. When Riley goes to him for dating advice (self-proclaimed break up spirit guide), Max tells her the exact opposite of what will attract a guy. He hopes that she will feel so defeated after a series of bad dates that she’ll realize what a great and wonderful guy he is. Will Max ever be with Riley? Find out in this dual point of novel about almost college graduates.
Slightly awkwardly written. I don’t mind swearing at all, but I feel like swearing in your thoughts so casually doesn’t really happen. For instance, “I better check this shit quickly before he finishes.” Some of the dialogue is a bit off. College students just wouldn’t say certain things. But maybe that’s just me.
There are a bunch of funny moments. Some are cringeworthy and some are downright unbelievable. I think this was a fun attempt at capturing the upperclassmen college students. What I don’t like is that while the author was portraying some of the 21 -22 year olds correctly, I didn’t like reading about them. To me, I’d rather escape and read about people my age who aren’t actually acting their age. I don’t need to live with people like that then read about them. Again, maybe that’s just me.
It was kinda fun but I the premise of Max giving Riley bad advice and her actually falling for it is incredible unbelievable especially since she has an older sister and a couple of close friends. She’s 21 for crying out loud, even though she’s been in a committed relationship for 6 years doesn’t mean she’s been living under a rock. She would have known it’s bad advice unless she’s completely dumb and clueless. And while reading sometimes requires suspension of disbelief, this is a contemporary novel and that inherently shouldn’t.
Overall, it’s a quick and easy read. If you want to read about a whiny 20something, then this is your book. I do have to say, it does have some great one-liners and I did laugh a lot while reading it. These characters may not be entirely my cup of tea, but maybe they’re someone else’s. I think it would have been fun to write this book especially if the author was nothing like these characters. Though, I have to say, I hope people reading this don’t think this is what all 20somethings are like. I think the ages of the characters should be been more 18-19 ish. In my opinion, they were acting more like sophomores not seniors in college. Even though I am often critical of people my age, I know for a fact that this isn’t how we all act. I enjoyed Max’s POV much better than Riley’s. He was less whiny and more relatable to me than Riley was. Though, Riley finally kinda got her shit together and stood up for herself at the end. So, go Riley!
In Besse’s defense, she comments on the Goodreads page and says, “Hey everyone! I’m not trying to make any excuses, but I DID want to provide an explanation in regards to the manner in which I approached this project. My ultimate goal was to write a NA novel with characters who were relatable and realistic, and early reviews have [hopefully] confirmed this!
Unfortunately, many reviewers have provided feedback that they could not stand the characters in this story due to their being whiny, immature and a little bit clueless. In my opinion, however, all of these attributes define a large PROPORTION of the current 20-something AMERICAN population, and I wanted the characters in my book to portray what [some] new adults are actually like.
There are no bouts of instalove, no soul-crushing plot twists and definitely no hot-blooded/obsessive Alphas (sorry!) in this novel. There are, however, plenty of insecure spiels, crippling moments of self-doubt and overwhelming feelings of hopelessness to keep you busy! This isn’t a typical NA romance, and I hope that you can keep an open mind should you choose to take a look at it!
TL;DR – I just wanted to add the disclaimer that the characters in this story are irritating, melodramatic and annoying as hell. They swear, they drink and they make bad decisions. They are 21-year-olds. Have you met a 21-year-old lately? Comes with the territory :)”
While I don’t agree that this novel portrays a LARGE portion of 21 year olds, I agree that it would portray SOME. I swear like crazy so none of the cursing bothered me and I could relate to the confusing, hopeless, and self-doubting feelings however, I hope to god, that I am NOT that whiny or annoying. Riley slowly grew on me over the course of the book but the real knock-out was Max. He was a very well written character.
I would recommend for people to test the waters by checking this out from the library first. Some people are going to hate it while others may thoroughly enjoy it. Just go in knowing that you and this book may not get along, especially at first, but that it does have some downright hilarious, sexy & romantic moments in store. You might even find something relatable.