Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ever (Ever # 1) by Jessa Russo

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious. Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible. Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer. Some girls lose their hearts to love. Some girls lose their minds. Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.

Release Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: YA, PNR
Pages: 295 
Purchase at: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

ARC provided by Curiosity Quills Press via NetGalley

Review:  3 1/2 stars - Ever is a well written, interesting book that deals with death, first loves and teenagers who must grow up quicker than necessary.  This book does include the dreaded love triangle, along with a very intriguing villain.  The cover is gorgeous and the premise behind this book is excellent.  The cliff hanger ending will have you screaming, "WHHHAAAATTT?"  I think this book was a tad lacking in action, but I also think that it is a great set up for a future series.

Ever is a 17-year-old girl who has a ghost living in her house.  A couple of years ago, she was in a car accident with her best friend and love of her life, Frankie.  Frankie was killed, but his ghost followed her home, and everyone who enters Ever's home is able to interact with Frankie.  Although she knows it is unhealthy, Ever is still in love with Frankie.  She is home schooled since the fatal accident, and she doesn't date other boys or go out very much with her friends.  That is until a mysterious and hot bad boy moves into Frankie's old house next door.

Toby is in his early twenties, but he makes Ever believe that she can have a relationship with someone besides a ghost.  He wears a lot of black, is hella hot, has sexy hair, listens to similar music as Ever, and seems to be a perfect match for her.  Although she still feels guilty, Ever gives in and finally agrees to date Toby, and this is where the book really takes off.

My first kiss was something I knew I'd never forget - that's a given.  But somehow I couldn't imagine anyone's first kiss being like what I'd just shared with Toby.  A kiss a girl waited for her whole life.  I just knew it.  I was determined to bask in it, and I was determined to get over whatever impossible feelings I'd been holding onto for Frankie.  Loving Frankie was holding me back.  I'd just never really known it.

Ever begins to fully understand that her "relationship" with Frankie isn't healthy.  However, Toby confuses Ever and makes her feel like any teenage girl when dating for the first time.  She doesn't always know what he's doing or where he's going, what secrets he's keeping from her, or why his father seems to hate her.  Adding to this confusion are the nightmares she continually has about Frankie.  When she wakes up in the middle of the night shaking and frightened, Frankie is there to lull her back to sleep.  In my opinion, Ever at this point is still walking down a very unhealthy path.  

One thing I really liked about Ever is her spunky attitude.  Although she is by no means an expert on relationships, she is fully capable of questioning Toby about his actions.  Toby seems to really like Ever but then begins to suddenly pull away from her at a really awful time in her life.  There are some dramatic teenage scenes, but Ever puts on her big girl pants and confronts the older boy.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Save the bullshit Toby.  Just because I haven't had a lot of boyfriends before doesn't mean I'm a complete moron.  I've seen the movies.  Read the books.  You're just as textbook as the rest of them.  I ask you a question that you won't answer, and you run.  Well, I'll save you the trouble of letting me down easily.  Get the hell out of my house, Toby.  Run away."

 While Toby and Ever are broken up, we meet Toby's ex-girlfriend, who happens to be a bit psycho.  Ariadne is a villain that I love to hate.  She's sexy and smart, ruthless and a bit off.  She follows Ever around to do some surveillance on her and plans as much chaos as she possibly can.  See, Toby doesn't want Ariadne, which makes Ariadne even more determined to make Ever's life a living hell.  Ever doesn't back down to Ariadne, though.  Ever's a fighter!

It took everything I had in me not to grab her by her hair and pull her right out of that chair and out the front door.  I didn't care if she was taller than me.  I had body mass on her skinny ass, and I wasn't afraid to use it.
Another thing I liked about this book was Ever's best friend, Jessie.  Jessie comes from a bad background - her mother is an alcoholic that parades men through her house that don't always treat Jessie appropriately.  Jessie is pretty and loves to wear pink and be girlie.  Jessie has some great lines in this book and serves as Ever's backbone from time-to-time.

One thing I wasn't as happy with in this book was the love triangle.  Yes, Toby is hiding something from Ever.  Yes, they have some very dramatic moments.  But to me, Toby represents Ever's first "real" relationship.  Toby is her grown-up love, not the boy she has been infatuated with since she was wearing pig tails.  There is a game changer towards the end of this book regarding Toby and Frankie, but I still regard Frankie as a more immature type of crush for Ever.  

Another thing I had a slight issue with was the writing in this book.  It's very well-written - don't get me wrong.  However, there were times where it seemed like this was a book that couldn't decide if it was a straight YA read or if it was a New YA/Mature YA book.  I hope that the author picks one of these sub genres and sticks with it.  There were times where Ever and Jessie were written as more innocent types of teenage girls, but then there were some heavier emotional scenes and some hot scenes that I think definitely fit in with a more mature YA audience.

The big reveal at the end was a shocker.  I had somewhat figured out Toby's big secret.  What I didn't account for was what Ariadne was capable of and what she set into motion for the next book in this series.  Ariadne is evil and selfish, and it is apparent in full detail at the end of this book.  The last line, to be precise.  The cliff hanger of an ending was a shocker for me, and will definitely keep me coming back for the next installment of this series!


Courtney Diles said...

Oh my goodness. I'm excited to discover this blog. I've been on something of a quest to find more strong female characters to read about, and I didn't realize blogging would help me so much - your blog is now another reason why. So here's my question - and excuse me for being too lazy to comb through the posts for this - what are a few of the best female narrative voices you've discovered? I'm determined to cultivate one of my own.

Jamie said...

Hmmm...let me see...strong female characters. Here's what I have off the top of my head.

Sirantha Jax from Ann Aguirre's series by the same name

Gin from Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassins series

Cat from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series

Chess from Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series (weak in some ways - she's an addict - but able to make smart decisions and pick herself up and do her job when the going gets tough)

Mac from Karen Marie Moning's Fever series (starts out on the weaker side but ends up kick ass)

Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews' series by the same name

Katie and Jenni from Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies series

Those are a few just off the top of my head. Hope that was what you were looking for!

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