Originally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
I met Cora Carmack at RT Convention this year and she is one of the most intelligent, well-spoken, articulate women I've ever met. I immediately identified with her, felt like she was such a fantastic role model for writers. So to say I had BIG expectations for this novel is an understatement and unfortunately, I wish I could say I was happier with the end result.
The biggest thing I liked about this novel was the humor. Bliss had a few one-liners that had me laughing out loud. I also liked the setting for the novel--I'm a big fan of the New Adult genre but actually setting the story in college, with classes, is AWESOME! I think my favorite thing about this novel was the way Carmack described acting. When Bliss was getting into character or delivered a performance, it's like I felt it too. Makes me wonder what Carmack's background with acting is because it's hard to believe someone who doesn't have experience with stage managing or acting could describe it so accurately. I liked all the characters well enough, but I think my mental image of Garrick is probably my favorite :) Sexy and british. Yum. This was a pretty quick read and the writing was well done so I'm impressed with that in regards to it being self-published first.
Okay, here goes nothing. I was really hoping for a deep but sexy novel about a college girl's journey with her sexuality. But this fell so flat for me. It all felt very surface level with never daring to dip below the "I'm a virgin, oh-my-god, I'm so scared" type of thing. Carmack could have done brilliant things with novel but instead it felt very fluffy and unrealistic. It drove me nuts that in the first half of the book almost ALL the dialogue between characters included each others name. "Bliss, blah blah blah." "Oh, Garrick, I don't know blah blah blah." "But Bliss, you don't understand."
Sigh. It was really annoying. And then there was this whole thing about Bliss being awkward which she wasn't really. She really seemed like anything BUT awkward. Sure, some of the situations she got herself in were awkward and so was some of her dialogue, but on a whole, she was not awkward like she is portrayed to be. The whole relationship between her and Garrick is so.... non romantic and unbelievable there were a few times I rolled my eyes. Because A. I don't care if you're a young, hip TA or professor or whatever, you're NOT reading Shakespeare in a bar with a bunch of rowdy drunk people. You're just not. B. Insta-Love. That's what it felt like and I hate that. I'm not saying it's not true for .1% of the population BUT there are more interesting and believable ways to write about it than the usual insta-love connection plot line. C. The I-Love-You part???? WHAT?! Came ouf of NOWHERE. Not believable. I laughed. Anyways. I was hoping for a better novel than what I got BUT that being said, I'm still interested to see if her second book Faking It is any better.