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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith

What Leah did--only she really shouldn't have--one hot night at a country club party.
What Leah has--only she really shouldn't have--on the guy with the green eyes, the guy who is not her perfect boyfriend, the guy who does not fit in her picture-perfect life, the guy her sisters will only mock and her mother will never approve of. Not in a million years.
What happens when everything you always thought you wanted--having cool friends, being class valedictorian and homecoming queen--runs smack into everything it turns out you really do want.
Kiss. Crush. Collide.
For Leah and Porter, summer is only the beginning.

 My reasons for reading this book were very skewed. Almost like the book itself. I had zero plans to read this novel; most of my friends disliked the book and I don't enjoy reading romance, which the book is centered around. Then a librarian friend of mine asked me if I would read and review the book for our public library. I agreed, because she's my friend and I love reviewing books. But from the beginning I had a feeling this book just would....suck. And I'm sad to say that my prediction -- which I wholeheartedly hoped was wrong -- came true. 

The book is essentially a "pretty rich girl" story. We've all seen those, whether it be in a novel, on TV, a movie, or elsewhere in the media. The stories are similar: pretty rich girl is super rich and super super selfish, everyone hates her but she thinks she's all that. Then something comes along, whether it be a *hot* guy or some major life-changing event like losing all her money or having both of her rich mogul parents die. With the help of said *hot guy* or some other person who helps her get over the major event in her life, pretty rich girl learns that she doesn't need to be so selfish, that she really can just be normal and not have to follow the rules of society, and she changes into a better, more interesting person. 

Kiss Crush Collide follows this stock formula almost perfectly. There's a hot guy, Porter; an overprotective mother; "perfect" sisters; and a mean girl turned friend. 

But it strays away from the stock plot designed by Hollywood in one aspect: the main character never changes. Leah begins the novel as a spoiled, rich girl and ends the story barely changed. She still thinks of herself as goregous; she still thinks that she's better than her sisters. I can understand if the author wanted to show that she never changed, that she was so selfish that she was unchangable; but with the many events that happen to her throughout the story, it seems ridicolous for Leah to not change. Shouldn't every character have an arc? Does it need to be a good arc, or even a positive arc? No. But a character should change in some way, whether it's for the better or for the worse. 

It makes it hard to relate to Leah, as she's so superficial. She goes to the pool and comments on "how hard" it is to have everyone staring at her, how she'll "never get used to it" and how some people are "lesser than I am, and they'll never get better". The entire book is populated with selfish quotes. And those selfish quotes last from the first to the last page. It makes it extremely hard to read and enjoy this book. I didn't care for Leah. She was stupid and vapid and lame, and frankly, someone I'd stay far far away from. 

And Porter/John Duffy/JD/Duffy-- what the heck was up with him? First, I could never keep his name straight. He introduces himself to Leah as "Porter", but then tells her about a hundred pages later that that's not his real name; no, he's lied to her, it only says "Porter" on the back because that's his job: porting cars at a fancy club that Leah's family belongs to. He tells her she can call him John Duffy, JD, Duffy, the works -- and Leah chooses Duffy. Then, at the end of the novel, he buys a coat that says "Porter" on it and Leah remarks how AMAZING! and WONDERFUL! it is that he has that coat. He was essentially a stock character, with the programmed "guy from the wrong side of the tracks" and the sweet, smoldering looks and beautifulness. 

So Porter and Leah kiss in a country club and BAM sparks I never really felt their romance; Porter seemed like a nice guy but I never really connected with their love. I never really felt that passion, those sparks Leah kept commenting on. I wanted to see the love and the passion. I wanted to grin and smirk when they had cute moments. But I never felt the passion. It seemed so flat and boring to me. The steamy cover seemed to suggest a steamy romance; instead the romance fell flat. 

The rest of the characters -- hmm. They, too, fell for the same stock characters as Leah and Porter-whatshisface. The mother was a stock character, a strong woman who never changed but only was uber harsh and mean. The sisters were almost identical; they never seemed to have any differing personality traits that made me seperate them from each other. Valerie the mean girl's plot was predictable, Shane's plot didn't surprise me either. 

Also speaking on the plot, it was....strange. Porter leaves halfway through the book due to a misunderstanding, and then just disappears. So much for the love interest. Yorke (I had to go look up her name, seriously), one of the sisters, was mentioned being pregnant at the end of chapter sixteen. No one mentions the pregnancy again until chapter thirty. Yes, that's fourteen chapters. The plot seemed to meander and just be boring the entire time. 

Now, it might seem like I hated this entire book. I didn't. There were two redeeming factors for me, personally: the writing and the strength of the family dynamics that made me up this from one star to one point five stars. 

I thought the author handled the family dynamics well. I don't mean that she portrayed the family in a caring way; this family is essentially dysfunctional. She didn't necessarily portray them in a unique way, either; like I mentioned before the family characters seemed stock and boring. But she really portrayed the dysfunctionality well, with Leah's mother's expectations and her sister's relationships and her father's misunderstanding. I really felt trapped, as her mother made horrible decisions (yelling at her daughters, ignoring them, threatening to disown them) and her father made a blind eye. These situations were hard to read at times but they really seemed realistic to the kind of dystfunctional nature Leah lived in. And the truth? At the end, the dysfunctionality hasn't changed. But that's realistic; situations won't change that fast. 

The other thing I liked was the author's writing. I mentioned this recently in my review of If I Die : the writing was very fluid and easy to read. It makes for a quick read, if a hard and difficult one to plod through. 

I would really only recommend this to people who really enjoy romance or *hot guys*. Otherwise I'd recommend skipping this and picking up other, better romance novels. Also, in case anyone is wondering: I won't be recommending this to my librarian. :) (I am recommending a couple of the other ARCs she got me though -- no worries :D). 

One point five stars. 

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