Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Review: Ditched

There are two things I have to say about Robin Mellom's debut novel, DITCHED, before I begin this review. The first is that I liked it. And the second is that this book will not be the perfect match for everyone.

There are several reasons why I want to recommend this book to you guys and there are several other reasons why I know I can't do that without a few reservations. So in an attempt to explain both the good and the alright things about this story, and to be fair in my assessment of each, I'm just going to be honest. That's cool with you, right? Cool. Let's do this.

The first GOOD thing I noted while reading the book is that Robin Mellom really captures in-the-moment thoughts, reactions, and emotions well. EVEN, let me add, for the secondary characters. This was a first person narrative that alternated between past and present (more on this later) that felt almost omniscient because Justina Griffith was a very reliable narrator. She saw what other people were doing and called it as she saw it. And when she was being a little melodramatic, she always noted that or blamed it on her low blood sugar which made me trust her story to be true. You can't believe everything every narrator tells you, but I loved her honesty and this trait even translated into her character, her personality, which proves that, on top of impressive narration, Robin Mellom created full characters that I depended on to act or react a certain way, NOT because they were cardboard cut-outs, but because they were actually built like a real human beings.

That being said, the first EH thing I noted was that, although I could trust Justina with this tale and although I liked her to a certain extent, from the beginning I didn't really LIKE her. I felt sorry for her but couldn't sympathize. I felt like if I knew her I wouldn't ostracize her, but I knew we wouldn't be friends, either. And usually when this happens in a book, I can't even bring myself to finish it. BUT LISTEN! It's not a bad thing here. Actually, it's further proof that Robin Mellom has crafted her characters well because it's not often that you get characters that truly stand out.

Justina is the first character I've been introduced to in a long time that has this genuine personality. I sometimes saw her come off of the page, walk around my school with Ian right beside her, wave, and move on. I didn't connect with her because, in high school, she would've been the girl I saw in one of my classes, talked to a little bit, but never connected with because her priorities were nowhere near mine. Justina thinks about three things: kissing, her reputation, and food. She's in the moment, all the time and I'm more of a deep thinker so I connect with characters who have something more to talk about. Like Donna. Oh my. The way she analyzed the male-kind, I totally got that! Justina just wasn't my kind of girl.

But the GOOD thing about the book was that whether or not you like her, you can still enjoy the story. The EH thing is that, the order of telling might be bothersome for a little bit of the book. I had no problem with the switching when I was in the middle of the book. In fact, I started looking forward to the breaks in the present because that was when I'd take my breaks from reading. But when I was starting out and when I was trying to get to the end, the alternation between past, present, past, present was killing me. It took a while to get used to at first, and by the end, I just wanted to know what was going to happen in the "now" because I'm impatient like that. But if you can get over the alternating, if you like Justina as a character, and oh! If you can take the constant mentioning of Operation Lips Locked, Lip Lock Bliss, kissing, Ian in good and bad light, and Allyson Moore, you'll get to see that this story has a GREAT ending, one I could totally see on film with "Open Arms" playing in the background. And you might, like me, think it worth the momentary sighs and feelings of "eh." Some people think "the end justifies the means," and it's my opinion that the same might be true of DITCHED. You won't know until you try!

How was that for honest? I think I did okay, you know? I also think that if you're going to read this because you're in the mood for something slightly cheesy, slightly romantic, comedy of error-ish, typical teenager-ish, then YES! You have all your reasons to read it. This book is perfect for a weekend when your dog breaks your DVD player but you're in the mood for a romantic comedy. I didn't find it hilarious, but the comedy of errors trope is always in style.

Ditched: A Love Story
From Goodreads: High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her. 

Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first. 
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice. 
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom. 
And then ditched her. 

Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together – stain by stain on her thrift-store dress – exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag’s moving car… But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.

Want more Robin Mellom? Click one. 


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