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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review - She Laughs In Pink by Jessica Calla

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: She Laughs in Pink
(Sheridan Hall Series #1)
Author: Jessica Calla
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: BookFish Books

Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben's heart. 

Then she meets Ben's roommate, Chase. 

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he's ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he's never been more inspired in his life. 

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

Buy Links: Amazon 

2 “I wanted to like Sexy Train Man” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Warning: negative review.

Waning 2:

**I mean it. SPOILERS ahead**

From the cool title, the intriguing blurb and the positive reviews, I went into this book believing I’d love it as much as everyone else. I’m sad to say that did not happen at all.

“She Laughs In Pink” (again, such a cool title) is the story of Juliet and Chase, two messed up people who find each other and try to stay sane together, but (and here’s my biggest problem with this story) end up doing a lot of irresponsible and hurtful things to get to their happy ending.

Juliet and Chase meet at the train station as they head to their first day at NJU. For Chase, this is supposed to be the beginning of a new life. He even has a New Life Plan (NLP) – no fooling around, no drugs, no alcohol, basically become a responsible person… Except Chase is already leaning toward breaking rule number one, because the moment he sees Juliet he’s flirting with her so hard I doubt he’d ever intended on taking his plan seriously in the first place. His lack of commitment to a new life is reinforced by pretty much all his decisions from that moment on.

So…Chase is immediately attracted to Juliet (from the way she flirts back, she feels the same about him), so he’s more than happy when they meet again and he learns they’re living in the same dorm. In fact, Chase is sharing a room with Juliet’s BFF, Ben. Looks like destiny wants them together, right? Except Ben is the reason Juliet is at NJU. She’s been in love (and obsessed) with her best friend since high school and she followed him to NJU because she believes he’ll finally fall in love with her. Juliet isn’t even hiding her intentions at all – everyone, including Ben, knows what (who) she wants.

To make matters worse, Ben is one of those people impossible to hate. He’s way too nice. Sometimes too nice to even be believable.

So, you see, the logical choice would be for Chase to get his shit together, focus on his NLP and leave Juliet alone so she can go after the boy she’s been obsessed with for years. Of course that’s not what he does.

And that’s fine. Really. Especially because Ben made it very clear he was only interested in Juliet as friends. Sure that didn’t stop Juliet from hoping he’d change his mind, but I understood Chase’s insistence. Juliet was single, he was extremely attracted to her and it wasn’t like she was telling him to stop chasing her, either. She liked it. She flirted back. She wanted Chase to like her.

Besides, Juliet was an interesting character. Not a very likable one, but interesting. While she made it hard for me to connect with her because of her little games (I like Ben, but Ben doesn’t like me. Chase likes me, but I want Ben, but I also want Chase to like me), I initially had fun reading about Juliet because of how crazy she was. I actually admire the author for writing a crazy main character. It kept things interesting for a while.

Too bad that feeling didn’t last.

I have to say my first problems with the book started early on, but I ignored them because I thought Juliet was entertaining to watch and Chase’s attempts to make her forget Ben and notice him were actually pretty good. But from time to time I had to take a deep breath so I wouldn’t get too annoyed by the insta-love going on. I’m not normally one to complain about insta-love. Unlike some people, I believe in love at first sight (see my review of Wicked Heart and you’ll understand my point), but the chemistry between the characters has to be extremely strong for that to work in a book. While Chase and Juliet had some sweet, fun and even sexy scenes in the beginning of the story, those weren’t enough to make me believe Chase had fallen for her that quickly. By the end of chapter one, dude was already saying Juliet would change his life. I mean, come on, this is obviously too soon.

As the story progressed, though, more and more problems appeared and it got to a point where I really couldn’t enjoy it anymore.

For example, something that started as a positive, but lost me later on was the “supernatural” aspect of the story. As Chase grew closer to Juliet he started to see colors around her. At first I thought it was just a reflection of his passion for painting (Chase’s an artist), but later I realized it was something else – it was almost like he could read her aura or her mood. That was when I thought… okay, this is going to be interesting. Right? It could add another layer to the story. It initially sounded like a fun idea to explore, but I felt like nothing really important came of it (except for the cool title). Even with the introduction of another character with this “gift” (the eccentric Poja), Chase’s abilities didn’t really have a big impact in the story. I honestly think if handled differently, this supernatural aspect could’ve made the story better.

Another problem I had was that instead of growing on me, Juliet became even more unlikable. Her attitude toward Chase (“If I can’t be with Ben, I’ll take Chase’s attention”), her stubbornness with the whole Ben situation, her insta-friendship with Poja, her lack of awareness of how her actions impacted other people…. Everything about her was highly disappointing. I don’t even understand why she did or acted that way. With a history like hers (the thing involving her twin sister), she should’ve been more conscious of her actions. Juliet knew first hand that when she made bad calls, other people paid for her mistakes. But she didn’t seem to care about it at all, because she kept making bad decisions after bad decisions.

I didn’t get her. I didn’t get her obsession with Ben – a boy she called her best friend but kept major secrets from; a boy she claimed countless times to love but didn’t think twice before betraying; a boy who deserved much better than her, to be honest.

I also didn’t get Chase’s obsession with Juliet. At first I thought he liked her because she was kind of crazy, which supposedly made her different from other girls. But then his ex-girlfriend came back to his life and it seemed like she was even crazier than Juliet, so that couldn’t have been the reason he fell for Juliet in a matter of a few days. After having finished the book, I’m still not sure why he thought Juliet was so perfect or why he thought he’d love her forever when she kept telling him she loved Ben while kissing him.

Oh, yeah, that… we finally get to the heart of my problem with this book. The cheating. The inexcusable cheating. The cheating that made Juliet look even worse than when she was “just” playing with those two guys. I’m sorry, but how am I supposed to care for this girl when, as she approaches the guy she just cheated on to break up with him, she thinks:

“What if he thinks I’m crazy? Or, worst of all, what if he has no reaction and lets me go without a fight?”

I mean… Come on! You cheated. You’re breaking up with him. You’re choosing the other guy! Now you want him to hurt? Wouldn’t it be a little BETTER if he actually didn’t like you at all, so he wouldn’t be destroyed by your actions? Wouldn’t you feel less shitty about your shitty behavior?

I can’t even.

I don’t understand that plot choice, to be honest. It made Juliet extremely unlikable. It made Chase, a character I’d liked a little better up to that moment, seem like a huge asshole. It made Ben look bad (no one is that nice. No one!). It tainted their relationship. Damn. I don’t see how that was a good idea at all.

So while I could’ve gotten over some of the problems I had with the book (some of which I didn't even mention in this review, like the kidnapping and shooting and stalker, Juliet's relationship with her parents, the amount of side characters with no importance to the plot, etc) and enjoyed it a lot more, the cheating – or better yet, the way it was handled – sealed the deal for me. It’s actually sad, because I had really believed I was going to like this story when I requested it.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.


Anonymous said...

You're review is spot on. I read this book at the beginning of the month, and I had HUGE problems with this book. It had so many tropes and chichés, and none of them were well handled. Some things were mentioned and dropped. It was too bad.

U.S. - Brazil Book Review said...

I wanted to like it... I truly did. Such a shame.