Since I named my blog Coffee and Literary Rage, I figured it was about time for me to actually add some literary rage. Last night I was browsing the online library (for those of you who don’t know what that is, see if your library has an e-media option–it’s wonderful) and I came across a book called Taking Chances by Molly McAdams. I read the back, and it seemed innocuous enough. Sheltered girl goes to college, boys fall in love with her, she falls in love back; new experiences, love triangle, teenage drama. It sounded like just the light read I was looking for before bed. Boy, was I wrong.
It started out pretty good. It wasn’t the best written (the online version was missing a plethora of commas; I hope the actual book isn’t like that), but it was interesting and kept my attention. Sheltered girl with daddy issues goes to college and falls in love with two different boys. Simple enough. It took a turn for the weird when she decided to sleep with the one she wasn’t dating, and got pregnant. I mean, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. He says, “oh, I don’t have a condom,” she says, “I don’t care,” and since there was a good two-thirds of the book still to go, obviously she would get pregnant.
So she makes her peace with that, breaks up with the guy she’s dating (who she hasn’t slept with), tells her “adoptive parents” (who also happened to be the parents of the baby daddy) who of course are super supportive, and eventually gets in a relationship with the baby daddy. It’s all going beautifully. But then he (the baby daddy) goes to a party, supposedly sleeps with another girl, gets in a fight with the pregnant main character, gets in a car wreck, and freaking DIES.
After that, I skipped to the end and then returned the book. I couldn’t finish it. There were so many problems with it. We can start with the main problem: killing off the baby daddy was a cheap shot by the author. It, in my opinion, was a lazy way to make the love triangle work out. “Oh, she can’t have both of them, just kill one.” That is not okay, especially outside of a fantasy world where people are dying left and right. It’s one thing when George R.R. Martin kills off a favorite character–you expect it from him. Westeros is a dangerous place. It’s another when everybody is relatively happy in the real world, so to create drama, you wrap your main character around a semi-truck. I’m also just mad that she killed my favorite character–the only one who showed any serious character development. I know I didn’t finish the book, so I can’t say that that’s the only character development in the book; I’m sure they all developed a lot after he died. HOWEVER, it was the only character development up to that point, other than the initial (and somewhat predictable) sheltered girl to party girl transformation.
Okay, now back into the world of the book. I have a problem with the realistic-ness of the characters. First, and smallest, there is a very small chance that a girl who has never owned make-up is suddenly able to do her own well enough for every guy she sees to swoon over her. Second, it’s highly unlikely that so many guys would get so protective of her in such a short time. I can understand just wanting to sleep with her or date her or whatever, but for friends to physically fight each other over her the first week they know her? Not likely. Third, and skipping way ahead here, the fight between the pregnant main character and her boyfriend was totally unfounded. It’s rather contrary to her character, in my opinion. Now I know she’s whiny and hormonal, so I get that they would fight. But hear me out. Since her father was a general (or something along those lines), she was basically raised by a bunch of Marines who all viewed her as a little sister and taught her how to take care of herself. At her first party, her Marine best friend texted her warning her not to set her drink down or accept an open one. If I remember correctly, she responded something along the lines of “I know, you guys taught me well.” SO, when her boyfriend comes home claiming that he doesn’t remember anything about the night with the other girl and that he would never cheat, especially after the girl he supposedly spent the night with was known by the main character to be sketchy, she should have believed him. I have never been to a party, and I knew he was drugged. I mean, I know it’s a little different, since I’m just reading the story, but the main character knew him. They had been together for months. He was her roommate’s brother. She should have known better than to just dismiss him. And then he goes and dies. That was the main thing that made me stop reading. I could understand her actions and decisions up to that point. I didn’t agree with them, and I thought she was kind of dumb, but I understood. But when she just broke up with him without even listening to him, especially after having more street smarts than your average sheltered-turned-party girl, I couldn’t do it. I quit. I no longer liked her and didn’t really care what happened to her. I was curious about the ending, of course, so I read it and knew how it all turned out (I’m happy she made up with her father), but I didn’t really care how any of the characters got there.
Okay, after ranting all of that, I suppose I should say something good about the book. It held my interest, up to the halfway point when everything broke down, and I liked the characters. I especially liked the one who died. But even the ones I didn’t like, I liked how they were written. The emotions were there, so kudos, Molly, on that. Sorry I couldn’t finish it. Although after figuratively throwing the book across the room (the computer version of that–closing the tab violently and immediately returning it), I looked up some reviews. Apparently a significant number of other people quit in the same place I did. It generally either got one star or five. There were very few in between. Although, fun fact, it made it to number one on a list of ‘books that piss you off.’ Appropriate.
But don’t even get me started on the Divergent trilogy.