I tried. I really tried to get into this book but I made it 75 pages before I gave up. I know when a book and I aren’t meant to be and I picked up within a couple of pages that this would not work out. Sorry, book, it’s not you, it’s me. Or maybe it’s you.
The story opens with the protagonist, Zoe, babysitting her younger brother while their mother braves a terrible winter storm to get them food from the store. Zoe knows she isn’t supposed to let her brother play outside but she does. And then he disappears. Knowing it is freezing outside and the worst part of the snow storm is about to hit, Zoe bundles up to search for her brother. While heading to where she thinks her brother would be, Zoe is brutally attacked by a horrible man. Just when Zoe thinks this is the end for her, a mysterious ‘bounty hunter’ named X saves both of them.
That is as much as I can tell you about the synopsis of the book because I stopped shortly after I read that far. The biggest reason: instalove. That’s right. Zoe has instalove with X. *insert eye roll here* X’s character does not feel like he fits into the story at all. It read like Giles forced these two story types together to form one bigger story. End result: it did not work for me. X is supposed to be powerful and magical but why put that type of character into a story that is set in backwoods Montana? Zoe was not magical or powerful, why interrupt her life? I did not have the energy in me to stick around to find out the whys. I just did not care enough. I did not like Zoe’s character or X’s character, but granted, I didn’t stay long enough to find out more about him. I just did not have the strength to stick it out.
What almost truly forced me to stop reading sooner than 75 pages was the animal abuse described. I have zero tolerance for animal abuse, even in stories. The way the bad guy at the beginning hurt those poor dogs was almost too much to stand. Yes, they were fine in the end (spoiler) but it was too much for me to read. I don’t believe that level of detail was necessary to the overall story. It would have been just fine without that.
The other thing that really turned me off to finishing the story were the heavy references to current social media- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat. Nothing will date a story faster than current social media references. Zoe’s character seemed to be heavily tied to her phone and constantly updating her life on social media. This is even more evident when she … brace yourself … posts a picture of X on Instagram. Zoe is later questioned by the police about that specific photo. How does she not realize that anything she did online would be available for everyone and anyone to see? She claimed ignorance and said it was a joke. Uh… right. You have to go through steps to post a photo on social media so that just felt stupid.
Overall… no, I did not like this story. No, I will not give it another chance. The entire premise of the story did not jive with me and I could not get into it. I made it 75 pages and called it quits. My hard limit for DNFing a book is 100 pages but I could not push to finish the last 25 pages. I did not think the story would redeem itself in that short amount of time. I’m not sorry I tried to read this but I am sorry that it did not work out. I had far, far too many issues with this story. Maybe… ONLY MAYBE… will I give this another chance if my library carries the audio version. Maybe I’ll be able to get through it that way. No promises.