ARC Review: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here

Amelia Westlake Was Never Here

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review**

I’m not sure where to begin with my review on this one… The premise sounded amazing! Two girls at a school make up a character so they can get away with certain activities while outing people that were doing wrong? Pretty clever! Sadly, the delivery was not what it needed to be. I found myself struggling to find the want to pick up this book and finish it. While it is a super quick read, it was not an engaging read.

The two main characters in this story – Harriet and Will – were just ho-hum at best. Harriet was the stereotypical protagonist character that was prim and proper in every way possible. She got the best grades in school, she was in nearly every school group, she was trusted without fail by students and adults alike. Basically she was a butt-kisser in the worst way. Will was the exact polar opposite. She was loud, outspoken, stubborn, would never follow the rules, and a trouble maker. Both girls are students at a private, elite school. Their paths cross when they both witness the girl’s swim coach harassing a female student. Will wants to out the coach but knows the facility won’t do anything but Harriet believed they would. They team up to bring awareness. Well, that’s fine and all but how it was handled was awful.

Now let me pause right there. These two girls are in a school full of other kids but they are all completely forgettable. Sure, a lot of them talk and have dialogue but they could be cardboard cutouts for all I knew. They were interchangeable as none had any type of personality other than the troupe from a high school. That was a bummer for me because I could have used another couple of characters to focus on besides Harriet and Will.

I think there were parts of this story that were supposed to be witty, funny, and comical but I did not laugh at any of it. I was more focused on the way the serious topics were swept under the rug. What topics am I referring to? Fat shaming, slut shaming, and sexual harassment to name the few big ones. I cannot think of a time when any of those topics would be considered humorous. The way they were used merely for talking/selling points felt insulting.

Once I finished the book, I had wished I had DNFd. It did not get better at the end. Instead, it took a complete 180 from the start and it turned into the wild heart Will becoming completely head over heels smitten with Harriet and that was all she thought/talked about. Uh… what happened to the crusade to get adults/people to take notice of the bad stuff happening at the school? What happened to the girls that were being fat-shamed by the swim coach? All of that was not that big of a deal anymore because one character developed a crush on the other? Give me a break.

Overall, I was disappointed by what I read. I expected something that would fire me up and make me feel empowered. This, my dear readers, was not that book. I still hold true that not ever book is for ever reader so maybe you or your friend will read this and love it. I hope that is the case! This was not the right book for me.

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