Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wrecked by Priscilla West

The Basics:
Wrecked by Priscilla West
Blackbird Publishing
Book 1 in the Arrowhart College series
New Adult, Romance
Published December 16, 2013
Source: Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I liked the idea of a broken girl coming together with a broken guy (and an MMA fighter - one of my guilty pleasures) to find love and wholeness.


“There would be no happy ending for us. He was too damaged. I was too broken.”
Two years ago, Lorrie’s mother was murdered. But that wasn’t the end of it. Reeling from the tragedy, Lorrie’s father spiraled into alcohol, depression, and finally suicide.
The two most important people in Lorrie’s life are both gone but she’s still alive.
Trying to recover from the tragedy, Lorrie returns to campus, ready to pick up the pieces of her life. All Lorrie wants is to get back to “normal.”
Then she meets Hunter. The man, the legend, “The Hammer.”
Hunter is a cage fighter who takes on every fight like he’s got nothing to lose. His life is a tangled mess of girls, booze, and fist fights. And while it may seem like he’s got a devil-may-care attitude, he’s fighting a private cage-match with a monster he can’t defeat.
Lorrie knows that Hunter is exactly the type of guy she should stay away from, especially in her fragile state, but Hunter has other ideas.
As Hunter and Lorrie grow closer together, will they be able to overcome their pain and heal each other? Or will they both end up wrecked?

My thoughts:

Wrecked fits solidly in the mature end of New Adult. Not only is Lorrie coping with the unnatural deaths of her parents, but she's also attending a college that is apparently gossip central. She gets involved with Hunter, an MMA fighter known for having his pick of girls, and who seems to be harbouring a big secret of his own. Together, they ignore their baggage and try to build a relationship.

I wanted to enjoy this on a superficial level - lots of angst, hot guy, love
story. These are things I can enjoy without there having to be anything more there. Even with these expectations, I was underwhelmed.

The dialogue could be a little clunky - Hunter never sounded quite right to me. He never sounded gritty enough, I think. He's got that hot boy, white knight thing going on, vulnerable and tough and all the qualities you'd put on a list for a potential 'book boyfriend.' Somehow they never came together for me into a complete package rather than a checkbox-list of characteristics.

Lorrie did work for me - she's got a lot on her plate emotionally and she's kind of a mess about it all. I also liked Daniella, her best friend. She was  appropriately supportive in the middle of all the insanity. 

I will say that I was glad we got to find out Hunter's secret by the end of the book. I think he was an idiot for not telling Lorrie what was going on, and I also didn't really like his 'voice' (we get some pages from his perspective to bring us up to speed), but I was glad to find out.

The plot is intimate - at its heart is whether or not Lorrie and Hunter will work as a couple, with the issue of what Hunter's secret is on the side (we know Lorrie's secret from the start). Because I couldn't get 100% behind Hunter, this made the overall book feel much weaker for me than it might for someone who connects with him. There is some graphic sex in this book, and my eyes kind of glazed over through it - again, I suspect my lack of a connection may have contributed to this.

On a semi-related note - this is the second NA title I've read lately that featured a college with a heavy gossip component. What is up with that?  Is this something common to small post-secondary schools?  I can certainly see a lot of gossip within a department - usually revolving around graduate students - but... yeah. I guess I was just surprised by it all, and a little bemused that Lorrie kept overhearing people gossiping about her and Hunter.

Bottom line:

For me, Wrecked didn't rise above other New Adult books that address similar themes (emotional fragility, secrets from the past, gossip). I thought Lorrie was a fairly well-written main character, but Hunter lets the book down. 

As always, your reading experience may vary.

2.5 stars
For fans of mature New Adult, MMA fighters, angsty books

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