Title: Carpe Diem
Chapters: 4 posted, 4 read
I need to get this out there right away. The obvious consent issues in chapter four really bothered me. I mean, I get it, they're supposed to make out or whatever and then they're done, and Cole obviously doesn't force Riley to do anything, but let me break down what bothered me:
1. The fact that everyone else was intent on Riley and Cole doing something that obviously made Riley incredibly comfortable, even Katelyn. Katelyn. The girl who's supposedly Riley's friend.
2. The fact that when Riley raises questions, she is brushed off and forced into a locked room with a guy she barely knows.
3. The fact that in order to get out of said situation, Cole coerces Riley into fake dating in a set-up that is obviously meant to get them to be an actual couple by the end of the book.
4. The fact that this situation is obviously related to some actual trauma in the past that Riley experienced.
5. THE FACT THAT RILEY TRIED TO RUN AWAY BUT COULDN'T.
This part of the novel was just, not good. I didn't enjoy it at all, and it honestly ruined the book for me completely.
Which is sad because as far as characters went, I really was enjoying Riley, Cole, and Katelyn by the time chapter three and four rolled around. They all have very distinct personalities, and I loved how larger-than-life you made Katelyn without it being too out there or unbelievable. She was just a huge welcome wagon and I loved it. I especially love the line "Katelyn happened".
I wasn't so much of a fan of the romance being pushed so incredibly early. The interaction between Riley and Cole was very insta-lovey. Like Cole is stand-offish in the first chapter, which is whatever, it's a personality trait and it works. But then they crash into each other, and boom, they're holding an embrace so long that a teacher thought they were doing something, which is kinda creepy in its own right. But either way, a stand-offish person wouldn't hold an embrace for that long, and it just felt very out of character for Cole.
I liked that we were thrown immediately into the story. Chapter one gets us going right away and the story doesn't slow down, and as far as pacing goes, it's fast but it is consistent. And I appreciate that. This story doesn't slow down.
However, as much as I liked the pacing of the first chapter, I don't remember most of the characters introduced in said chapter, and honestly the only ones that have made multiple appearances of any significance are Riley, Cole, and Katelyn. So honestly, that first chapter could have been just the three of them and it would have been a lot cleaner.
The writing was pretty good. It had a down to Earth quality that was strong enough that it could get philosophical without dragging, and it was flowery enough to not drag either. It had a clean quality to its sentence structure that helped keep the fast narrative straight. However, grammatically, the story is all-over the place. Tense switches were the thing I noticed the most, although sometimes you also formatted your dialogue incorrectly, either not closing your dialogue or closing it outside of the parenthesis (i.e: "blah blah blah". he said.).
Overall, there's a lot of good here, but the fourth chapter ruined it for me.