I went into this with high hopes but I was not able to connect to any part of the story. I expected more of a mystery story than hardcore ambition. The synopsis promised one thing but the actual story delivered something else. It took a lot of willpower to not DNF.
The main characters, Kate and Marine, were underdeveloped, flat, lifeless, and dull. All of their POV chapters sounded the same so it was difficult to tell who was actually speaking. That went hand in hand with the plot being weak. and full of holes. It all tied together to create one story that was tough to get through. I didn’t care what was going on with anyone so it was hard to pay attention. I’m not sure I could recommend this to anyone as it needed serious reediting and proofing.
**I received an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review**
I was thrilled to receive a copy of this debut novel in my mailbox and immediately started it. It was a fun contemp romance read with culture, race, and religion themes. Do not be fooled, there is also a serious tone to the story. I cannot speak to the the representation of the Muslim culture/religion/race, but I can speak to the overall description of the main characters. That being said, I did not enjoy how the MC was described as being so good looking but not the smartest. It gave the impression that really attractive people are not smart. That did not jive well with me. Honestly, there was not much about Danyal that I liked. He was portrayed as an incredibly conceited character and I don’t like that at all. He had a somewhat believable character arc and I disliked him less by the end of the story. I did enjoy Bisma’s character and felt like I wanted to be friends with her in real life. I enjoyed reading the interaction between her and Danyal. Their innocent romance was fun to read.
The writing itself was well done. This was a quick read with a good pace but I did find that I was truly involved in what was happening until over halfway through. It should not take that long for a story to hook me as a reader. I didn’t ever feel like stopping and putting this one down, but it stood out how long it took me to really become engaged with this.
Do I recommend this? Yes, I do. I believe a lot of readers will love this. Sadly it was just an okay read for me. Maybe I wasn’t the right reader for this story but I’m happy I gave it a chance.
In the wake of the real life Admission scandal, I was so excited to read this. I went into this story with the expectation of a edge of my seat thriller about scandal, bribery, lies, cheating, and more. What I read was flat, dull, and uneventful. I have nobody to blame but myself as I set my expectations far too high.
The MC, Chloe, wants nothing more than to get into her dream college but as a mediocre student, she doesn’t realistically have a chance of getting into the highly competitive and prestigious school. She was doing everything her parents told her, all the time believing it will be enough. She has no idea that behind the scenes they are paying the right people to fake applications, tests, papers, and more to make her dreams come true.
Sounds compelling, right? I thought the same thing until I started the story. To put it bluntly: it was boring. I was bored the entire read. Nothing of interest happens. Nothing made me gasp in shock or clutch my pearls. It was cut and dry: parents pay someone to get their daughter into school because she cannot do it on her own. I just hoped there would have been something a wee bit more exciting that had happened.
The characters were not that interesting either. Sure, I felt bad for Chloe because she had no idea what was happening. Now her parents? I couldn’t stand them, especially her mom. Her mom was more concerned about reminding everyone about the TV shows and B-movies she was in than admitting she messed up big time. She was so self-involved that it was starting to make me really mad. I had several thoughts of quitting the story but it wasn’t very long so I stuck it out. That was my fault.
I want to mention there is a hint of a romance in the story but it took a back seat to the rest of the story. I kind of think it would have helped the story but I’ll never know because it was never developed. I believe it was added to the story for the sake of adding to the story. Did it serve a purpose? No, not one.
I do wish I could put my finger on what would have made this better but I can’t. Maybe adding Chloe’s sister’s POV? Maybe tone down the clueless mom? Or perhaps develop the romance? No matter what, if you read about this scandal in the papers then skip this book. You will not be entertained.
**I received an ARC from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review**
I have been struggling with my review for this one. I had high hopes but I walked away disappointed. Stories that circle around Muslim characters are either hit or miss for me, mostly miss as the last few I’ve read were bad representations of the culture.
The main reason I did not enjoy this as much as I wanted was because of the main character, Danyal. I did not like how many times he would make fun of Muslim culture/traditions. I’m not Muslim but it made me uncomfortable when he made fun of the religion. He would do this a lot when he was trying too hard to impress others at school or act like he was too cool for school. He had his moments when he was funny and charming, but I’m not a fan of people or characters that are “charming”.
Enter Bisma, Danyal’s love interest. She was such a great character but she came into the story far too late and their relationship developed way too late to save the story. It was not given enough time to properly develop, which was very sad. I would have liked to see more grow there.
I did want more from this story so that’s on me. I did not read any reviews before I started this so I went into blind, which I prefer to do. I am grateful that the publisher trusted me with a copy but this was just not for me for the above reasons.
This was powerful, raw, necessary, and tough to get through. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to properly express myself when it comes to this one. It hit me in such a way that I still stumble with all of the emotions I have for it. Jackson won me over many years ago with her powerhouse Allegedly and she’s only gotten better with every book she writes.
I’m sure you’ve heard there are Trigger Warnings for this and I’m here to testify that is true. I mentioned this was tough to get through and I mean it. It deals with several forms of abuse, sexual assault, violence (both verbal and physical), neglect, underage drinking, drug use, and much more. While those are very serious topics, they are all handled with the care and grace they deserve. Jackson did not throw them into the story just for the sake of it. They served a purpose and they were also discussed/addressed as they should have been. It was brilliantly done and my hats off to Jackson.
I have said this on numerous occasions but I connected with this story on a deep level as I am a survivor of domestic violence. Now I can only speak to my personal experiences but the abuse/neglect/violent scenes in this story felt believable. I had many, many similar situations/events in my life so I believed what Enchanted was going through.
There were other times when I felt like I was Enchanted. This tugged at all of the right emotions, feelings, thoughts, wants, hopes, and dreams. What little girl hasn’t had dreams of being in the spotlight or being more than her upbringing? I know I had big dreams of getting out of my small town, sadly I had to take some seriously rocky detours to get there but I made it.
The world building, the characters, the story lines are all magnificent. The characters are brilliantly flawed, the worlds are lush, and the story lines are captivating. I will always recommend Jackson books to readers. She writes the stories that need to be published. She writes real, relatable, believable, and relevant stories. She writes with magic in her veins because her stories are so fluid.