Author: Sheena Hutchinson
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
April Landau thinks she has everything she’s ever wanted. Her high school sweetheart, a house she can’t afford, her bipolar tabby cat, and she’s all set to begin her junior year of college.
Just when she least expects it, her life gets thrown for a loop. When things between her and her long time boyfriend unravel, she becomes stuck in a downward spiral of emotion.
Finally, opening her eyes to the fact that she may have given up more than she ever could have imagined in this relationship. She finds herself struggling to keep her head above water.
Enter April’s next door neighbor—Jared Hoffman. He’s her complete opposite. A high school drop out who was forced to take over his parent’s business after their untimely death. It’s no surprise this tragedy affected him greatly, causing him to recede almost completely from society.
But he has one secret. A secret he’s been carrying around for years. What happens when their worlds collide? Can an old friendship be the one thing that brings these two back to life?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I received a copy of this book through a GoodReads Giveaway, with no obligation to review.
To be honest, Discovering April by Sheena Hutchinson was a case of an interesting plot crippled by poor execution. Though this was written as a new adult contemporary romance, the writing was subpar, and the narrative came across as juvenile, rushed, and unbelievable at best.
Though this was an ARC and I feel I should give it a bit of a pass, there were several dozen typos and spelling mistakes, and at least once a character completely misquoted an important historical figure. (For future reference, Caesar didn’t say “Et tu, Judas”, he said “Et tu, Brute”—Thank you two years of Latin studies.
The characters, to put it kindly, were a mess. April was melodramatic, and in my opinion, kind of incomplete as a real person. Her life was completely devoted to her first boyfriend in the story, and when he left her she fell apart… even though she knew it was coming and didn’t really love him anymore. It made my skin crawl to see her constantly being manipulated by her former boyfriend (who, let’s face it, was a total asshat)—to the point that she contemplated suicide and quit eating for weeks at a time. It seemed like too much given the slow degradation of their relationship. To make matters worse, she immediately launches herself at her next door neighbor, who in my opinion, was a bit of a stalker… and they live HEA.
Combined with odd love quadrangle moments between April and the most blandly named cop ever (John Smith)… the romance throughout the book seemed forced, tangled, and, unfortunately, unbelievable.
Jared, the main male lead and love interest, didn’t fair much better. Here was this kid who fell madly in love with his next door neighbor at a very young age, but when tragedy struck and she offered to help, instead of keeping her close, he basically stopped talking to her for the next seven years. He worshiped her from afar—to the point that even his friends knew how obsessed with her he was. It was borderline stalker behavior, and he constantly watched her undress through her bedroom window. I don’t understand how their relationship was supposed to be anything but doomed for disaster.
Though the theme of the book seemed to rely heavily on the idea that April was supposed to be rediscovering herself, it didn’t feel like that was the case. April had a nasty habit of transforming herself to fit her boyfriend’s tastes, and that’s exactly what she did as soon as she entered into a new relationship with Jared. Under the premise of going back to how she was originally, she basically let him push her into all kinds of activities that she wasn’t interested in and didn’t even like so that she could be included in his friend circle. From an outside perspective, it felt like she was once again molding herself to be what Jared was looking for, instead of just figuring out who this new April was.
Obviously, the book wasn’t all bad. I gave it three stars. Despite the juvenile narrative and the poor choices of the characters, it was entertaining. I got through it pretty quickly, and I didn’t hate it… I just don’t know that I liked it very much. I am glad that I read the book… but would I read it again? Probably not. Would I recommend it? No. The book was sloppily written and not well constructed. It could have been executed better.