**I was sent an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
The premise of this story sounded amazing and I could not wait to start reading! Once I started, I quickly discovered that this was not going to be my cup of tea. Weak plot and flimsy characters kept me from connecting to the story or caring what happened.
Short recap: Natalie lost her boyfriend in a terrible accident almost a year ago. Her parents believe she needs to finally get on with her life so they take her and her friends on a cruise for her birthday. Natalie had no idea what mysteries were waiting for her on that boat.
See, that blurb sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I found this story to be far less mystery and a metric ton more confusion. The plot itself had holes so large you could drive a truck through them. The author attempted to connected everything but in doing so with events/things that were just too convenient. You want me to believe that this girl that lost her boyfriend and has been moping for 10 months (a fact that she constantly repeats so it is never lost on the read exactly how long since she lost her boyfriend) was suddenly ready to move on because a cute mystery boy starting talking to her? Break out the crayons and color me Confused. The mystery boy disappears and she was the one who had to find him based on “clues”? Peddle that somewhere else because I’m not not buying.
On top of that unbelievable plot, other little details sprinkled throughout the story did not sit right with me. Natalie’s family talked early on about how they were making just enough to get by living in Florida but suddenly they have enough money to buy cruise passes for their family of four AND Natalie’s friends? <ERROR> DOES NOT COMPUTE. <ErrOr> I know that is such a small thing but I’m the type of reader that pays attention to details because they all add up in the end.
Now let’s talk about the characters and the severe lack of development. Natalie lacked any type of personality. I get that she was devastated at the loss of her boyfriend, but I just cannot get on board with her magically coming out of her coma-like-trance because a cute boy talked to her. She never came across boy-crazed until she got on the boat. Maybe this was a magic boat that we were never told about… Hmmm… someone write a story about THAT. *cough* Sorry, got distracted with my idea for a new story. Natalie’s friends felt forgettable and interchangeable. I don’t remember any of their names but it doesn’t matter. They could have been replaced with cardboard cutouts and the story would have read the same. Her parents were absent as well. Sure, they are on the boat but who cares since conveniently one of Natalie’s friends turned 18 and they don’t need no stinking parent!
I cannot stress enough how not mysterious or thrilling this story was for me. I found myself skimming the story just wanting it to be over. I can tell you that the “big shocking twist” happened on the last few pages. When that happens, it feels like a huge cop out because there is no resolution nor does the story properly wrap up. I walked away disappointed.