Starting a DNF review is never easy. I want to express my thoughts, concerns, feelings, and disappointments in the most constructive way possible. Sadly, the first things that go through my mind are never pleasant when I have to quit a book. What reader quits a book and says, “I cannot wait to write this positive review on why I stopped this awful story!” Nobody ever, that’s who says that. This is how I felt right before I made my decision to DNF:
Short recap: Sydney embarks on the trip of a lifetime to Europe with her best friend, Leela.
Whew. That was direct and to the point, right? That is actually the basis of the entire story. I won’t say, “OMG! Hilarity ensues and crazy adventures are had!” because that isn’t true and that isn’t how I read this story. The number one thing that made me quit this story at 30% was the characters. There is no gentle way to say that – the characters made me strongly dislike this story. The protagonist, Syndey, needed to grow a backbone like the entire story needed to be revamped. She is a 19 year old girl who is put in the worst family situation because her mother refuses to leave the house and Sydney enables her. She gives in to her demands and gives up her life to take care of her. I’m not say she shouldn’t take care of her mother, I’m saying she needed to ask for help. Sydney’s best friend, Leela, was an all around awful friend. I think in my GR short review I called her a bitch. I don’t feel that is a strong enough word but it will work. Leela basically guilted Sydney into going on the 4.5 week trip. She had zero care for what Sydney had going on in her life, she just wanted her to “loosen up and have fun”. Sweetheart, the girl is living paycheck to paycheck and is the soul support for her family. You know nothing about that because your parents pay for everything. GROW UP. Leela actually gets worse as the story continues. She is only concerned about hooking up with her ex-boyfriend and following him around Europe. (That’s called stalking, btw. There are laws against it.) It felt like Leela’s character took over the story with her vapid comments on needing to own every shade of lipstick and taking a billion selfies. She didn’t care about Sydney or what she wanted to do during the trip. It had to be all about Leela. What a bitch. I wish someone had just dropped a house on her and been done with it.
It was difficult to figure out what the overall plot was supposed to be about because it focused on Leela and her needs/wants. I knew Sydney was supposed to be having a memorable trip but it was hard to see that with the way she kept focusing on what was going on back home at the same time she was caving in to whatever temper tantrum Leela was having. I just wish the author would have spent more time discussing the mental illness Sydney’s mom suffered from – severe agoraphobia. That never happened and it felt like an afterthought for the story to be classified as dealing with mental illness. I know that sound harsh but it was brushed over when it was mentioned. Also, it felt like Sydney simply used her mom’s condition as a scapegoat to get out of whatever situation she wanted. What a letdown.
I know there are a ton of positive reviews and feedback for this story and for that I say yay! I wish I could have read it with your eyes and enjoyed it like you did. Sadly, I just did not read it that way. I did not enjoy this and I opted to listen to music instead of finishing this story. I am now upset at myself that I had this book on hold with my library for so long because I had high hopes for it. What a disappointment it turned out to be. I’m also floored to hear there is a sequel to this book. Bet your last dollar I won’t be picking that up.