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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Review - Bryce by Natalie Decker

Title: Bryce (Scandalous Boys #1) 
Author: Natalie Decker
Swoon Romance

About the book:

Bryce Matthews doesn’t do the whole nice boyfriend thing. Chocolates and flowers—girls can forget all that. And he certainly doesn’t care about the gossip and rumors that follow him at school and around town. If anything, the talk amuses him. Bryce isn’t lacking in confidence. He knows himself and he knows his limits.

One of those hard limits is Madison Issac. Bryce can never have her, and he’s perfectly fine with that. Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality anyway.

Madison Issac thought she was a pretty good judge of character. But she’s surprised at how gentle and comforting resident bad-boy and next-door neighbor Bryce Matthews is when we finds her crying in the park.

Maybe there’s more to Bryce than people think? So Madison begins to wonder.

Can a guy like Bryce ever change his ways?

Can a girl like Madison really be into a guy like Bryce?

With hearts and reputations on the line, this kind of love can be scandalous.

Goodreads |  Amazon

My thoughts:

3 "Lots of drama & good girl meets bad boy" STARS

A couple of weeks before I received a digital copy of this book, I was part of the cover reveal tour, and that’s when I first read the blurb. I have to say that sometimes I go through book phases, like one week all I want to read is steamy contemporary romances; the next I’m searching for every sweet YA contemporary out there; or craving forbidden romance stories.

The week I read about BRYCE for the first time, I was going through my “good girl meets bad boy” phase. That’s exactly what the blurb was selling.

The book delivered on that aspect. Bryce (the MC/LI) is a bad boy – maybe a little too much. Bryce has spent time in juvenile detention centers (he’s on probation), he swears like a drunken sailor, he smokes and drinks, and he’s ready to kick anyone’s ass when needed (and even when not needed). But he has a soft spot for Madison – the neighbor that is way out of his league.

Madison is trying to be a good daughter. She’s keeping her grades up, exercising, staying away from bad boys. But her parents (honestly, I despised them both) don’t seem to really notice her efforts. After her mother’s sister and brother-in-law are sent to jail, Madison is forced by her parents to share her room and her life with her annoying cousin, Sarah. Except Sarah isn’t just annoying. The girl is evil. She walks into Madison’s life and takes everything she can get her hands on: Madison’s bed, closet, future-boyfriend and parents. While Sarah is making Madison’s life insuferable, her parents are yelling at their poor daughter for trying to stand her ground. Every time Madison even attempts to put Sarah back in her place, her parents turn on her. No wonder I despised them. They’re seriously lacking parenting skills.

The only thing Sarah leaves untouched is Bryce, the only one who’s on Madison’s side. And as Bryce and Madison spend more time together, they realize they didn’t know the truth about each other’s lives, although they’ve known each other since they were kids. Friendship and romance follows, which is the normal course in books like this, but they come surrounded by a lot of drama.

I mean, a lot!

And that’s when the book loses me. To be perfect honest, I think the biggest problem here is that the book goes on for too long. Way too long. So to keep it going, the writer inserted loads of drama. Madison has problems with her evil cousin Sarah; then her ex-future-boyfriend Graham; then her parents; then a secret her parents kept from her; then Bryce; then her choice of university. Same goes for Bryce, who’s in trouble with the law; then his parents are doing something nasty to each other; then he’s fighting with his best friend; then there’s Madison and how he feels about her; and there’s his cousin and her abusive boyfriend. There’s just too much.

So much and yet everything ends up feeling superficial.

At first, I believed the major plot (aside from the romance, obviously) would be Madison’s problems with Sarah, but it gets lost in the middle of everything else. Then there’s this secret involving them that comes to light and when I think the author will explore that, she drops it like it’s nothing special, leaving me with a huge question mark. This also happened with Bryce and the dynamic between his parents.

It’s kind of funny to say that since I’ve just said the book was way too long, but somehow it also managed to feel rushed. Topics that could’ve been explored and developed were introduced and dropped within pages. It also didn’t help that I couldn’t connect with the writing style.

I can’t say if this was a result of the plot choices or if it was the other way around.

While I liked the bad boy x good girl thing going on between Madison and Bryce, I wished they had been a little less bickering and yelling. And slapping on Madison’s part. Again, it made me feel like there was more drama than needed.

So if you like your romances heavy on the drama department, this book might be a good choice for you.

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