Publisher: Berkley Penguin
Publication Date: 10/15/13
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 2.5 stars
Just when she had finally moved on…So..... I'm not exactly sure how to review (Never) Again without being fairly negative. I don't like being ranty or mean, but I have to be honest, this book just didn't work for me on most levels. Let me just do this the easy way, and list what I didn't and did like.
…He moved back.
When college freshman Liz Wagner hears her ex's voice for the first time since he moved clear across the freaking country, she does what any respectable girl would do: Dive into the girls' bathroom.
Zach Roberts—the Zach Roberts—is back. And he’s everywhere Liz looks—infiltrating her friend group, buddy-buddy with her brother. It’s enough to ruin college altogether. But what choice does she have but to put on a happy face and pretend he didn't leave her vulnerable and alone in a pile of emotional wreckage?
Pretending works, until tragedy strikes and the only person available for comfort is the one person she wants to stay away from. When Zach turns out not to be the jerk she convinced herself he was, but the boy she used to love, Liz needs to decide whether to open her heart again to the boy who tore it out.
- I did not connect with, or even really like, the main character Liz. She was wishy-washy to an extreme, completely blind to the reality of the two guys she feels torn between, and melodramatic. She was eighteen, but her maturity level read like a tween.
- (Never) Again does have a love triangle. I'm one of those rare birds not bothered by triangles, as long as I can buy it. Liz's old boyfriend Zach comes back to town, causing her tons of turmoil because she took their breakup hard. Her new boyfriend Joe is an ass. Her friends know it, her family knows it, even Zach knows it, but she constantly makes excuses for him. It's no love triangle when you're just waiting for the heroine to simply open her eyes.
- The V-card. Specifically, Liz's. I can handle a character saying it once or twice, but she used the term every time she referred to her virginity. She wants to finally lose hers, but acted so odd about it. I just found it annoying.
- The story felt repetitive, in plot and narrative. I only need to be told once or twice that Zach had changed in the past year or so. I don't need to constantly read about his newly bulging biceps. As far as the plot goes, the story slowly forward throughout, but to me it felt like "same story, different day".
- The big, unanswered question. Zach stopped calling Liz after he moved while they were dating. She never found out why. When he shows back up at college, she stays sulled up at him, and whines about how bad it hurt. I don't know, Liz why don't you ask him? You're only together all day, every day. I don't like when a story revolves around a problem that can be solved by simply asking a question.
Look, I truly don't have a problem with flawed characters. I'm a flawed person. But if I'm going to invest in a story, I need to not be so annoyed.
Here's what I liked about (Never) Again:
- I really liked Zach. Yeah, he hasn't handled everything ideally, but he was nice, seemed to have good intentions, and he didn't annoy me. I also liked Liz's brother Josh. He was basically the only person in the book that called her out on being a brat and her inability to open her eyes and see what's happening around her.
- There are some really sweet moments in (Never) Again. Baking cookies and visiting an ill grandparent might not seem like staples of New Adult romance, but these quiet moments gave Liz the opportunity to slow down and see outside of herself.
- I liked the ending. And no, this is not me having a cruel, Simon Cowell moment. I genuinely liked how the story wrapped up. It was sweet and showed growth on Liz's part.
Despite what I've said here, I didn't hate (Never) Again. If this had been one of my first New Adult reads with this, or a similar plot, I might have enjoyed it more.
For an alternate point of view, check out these reviews I found on GoodReads:
Cassie's Review | Christine's Review
Cassie's Review | Christine's Review
I've never been bitch slapped. Technically. But after the last few months I can imagine how it feels. If life had hands, its fingers would have imprinted on my cheek. ~eARC, 1%
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