I'm not entirely sure why I decided I wanted to read this book - I was fairly lukewarm on Love Walked In
, which I felt to be a cutesy story with no real depth and mediocre prose that was trying too hard. I just really wanted a quick, easy read and this is what I ended up with.
Pen, Cat, and Will meet their first week of college. Pen walks in as Cat is having a seizure in the bathroom, and Will happens to be in the hallway as Pen begins to panic. Once Cat recovers, the three are bonded for life....or the next six years when their friendship dissolves, leaving Pen lonely and struggling with a life she didn't expect for herself. A few weeks before their ten-year reunion, both Pen and Will receive a cryptic email from Cat begging them to come to the reunion because she needs them. They are initially angry when Cat doesn't show up at the reunion. Instead, it turns out that Cat's husband, Jason, wrote them the email because Cat has gone MIA and he wants their help finding her. Despite the fact that neither has spoken to cat in six years, and despite the fact that Pen and Will viciously hate Jason.
Honesty time: I gave up reading about halfway through. I got frustrated that it took nearly a third of the book just to set up the plot. de los Santos spent entirely too long rehashing the fact that these three used to be thisclose
, that Pen misses her friends terribly, and she is less than satisfied with how her life has turned out. I spent the entire time just wishing we could get to the point already.
It didn't help that the characters were not as interesting as de los Santos seems to think. I felt that they were actually fairly cookie-cutter for any run-of-the-mill chick flick, and their friendship felt too forced. I get that they were close, but their interactions were just too cutesy.I hated that there was not real awkwardness between Pen and Will when they first reunite, and I had a hard time believing that Cat would ever marry the guy that left her alone in a crater while she was having a seizure, though maybe that was better explained after I gave up reading.
I have a hard time believing that de los Santos has a PhD in creative writing. She takes forever to deliver her exposition, and she has as much grace in doing so as a drunk elephant doing pirouettes in a room full of porcelain. The flashbacks are sandwiched in awkwardly, with nearly all of them preceded by a declaration like, "The memories came flooding back to Pen." The story occasionally shifts from Pen's point of view to Will's, but there seemed to be no consistency in this shift. It seemed like it happened just because de los Santos didn't know how else to give insight into both characters' backgrounds. And, my God, her sentences were so overwritten. I had to resist the urge to take my red pen to the book and remove half the unnecessary words. Pen did not draw a blank or have a moment of confusion of have to read the message twice. She didn't think,
Cat who? There was only one Cat. What she did was sit down on the floor between the shelves of books, shut her eyes, and press the cell phone to her sternum, against her galloping heart. Out of the blue sky and after more than six years of waiting -- because no matter how hard she had tried not to wait, that is exactly what she'd been doing -- Pen had been summoned.
The prose makes me want to stab something with a really sharp tool. That selection ought to be used in Creative Writing 101 to explain the meaning of "Purple Prose."Pen's heart raced as she sat down on the floor between the shelves of books, shut her eyes, and pressed her cell phone to her heart. After more than six years, Cat was calling her.
Was that so hard?