BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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Publication Date: March 18th 2014 by Atria Books
Genres: Romance
Age category: New adult
My Rating: 2 Stars
AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEiBOOKS

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be. Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one. A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.

largeGoddammit, high expectations will be the death of me! They so killed the book stars in this one. Colleen Hoover’s Maybe Someday was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I can’t even begin to describe how stoked I was when my copy arrived early last week. I sat down with my iPod, headphones in place (Griffin Peterson soundtrack playlist all pulled up), and readied myself for a unique and incredible reading experience. For one thing, I absolutely loved, loved Griffin’s songs and arrangements and felt like they became one with the characters and story. For another, the entire soundtrack album became so much more than the book managed to become. The songs unfortunately were the only medium that got me to feel for these characters. Because, well, it pains me to say so, but Maybe Someday wasn’t what I would consider a well-balanced, well-planned and heart-warming story. It was more of a cringe-fest that had me going “Is every single one of you characters stupid?” when the second half of the story deteriorated right in front of my eyes (but thankfully not my ears).
Hoover tells the story of Sydney, a 22-year-old college student who has a bigot lawyer for a father and who doesn’t feel like stepping into his shoes where her life is concerned. She’s studying to become a music teacher and making ends meet on her own, living with best friend Tori and struggling with what the future holds for her and boyfriend Hunter, when all comes crashing down and she finds herself crashing on the couch of Ridge, the talented guitarist whom she’s been watching play for a couple of weeks from across the courtyard. Sydney and Ridge initially only bond over their common love for music and the fact that Sydney is able to write the lyrics for Ridge’s songs when he can’t due to his writer’s block, and now these two find themselves in close quarters along with roommates Warren and Bridgette, trying to avoid the preprogramed emotional chaos that arises when the twosome tries to balance song writing and a growing attraction that becomes more difficult the more time they spent together. But there’s no way they’re acting on any feelings that might be starting to develop, because there’s that tiny little fact that Ridge fails to mention – he has girlfriend Maggie to stay loyal to.
Notenbl‰tterThe first part of the novel flew by quickly and managed to capture my interest in these characters, especially with what Sydney had to go through right in the first chapter and how she and Ridge became part of each other’s lives. However, and here is where Hoover did her biggest faux pas in my opinion, Sydney’s behaviour and how her and Ridge’s story began to progress and unravel was pretty insulting. Sure, Sydney and Ridge’s decisions were all driven by motifs that were plainly explained to the reader, but their actions didn’t make sense. At all. Especially with Sydney, who went through a traumatising experience with her ex-boyfriend to act the way she did? There was no logic behind it. And I know that love makes us do stupid and crazy things, but I’m Sydney’s age, and the lack of self-respect and backbone in her just made me sad for her, if nothing else. It made me sad for this book and its soundtrack, too. Because as much as Hoover tried to convince me of how great of a character she was – selfless, independent or driven – none of that reflected in how she decided to lead her life. Why did she even have to be measured against those standards in the first place? That didn’t sit well with me and how she was written. Why not make her flawed without portraying her as a goody-two-shoes. I couldn’t see why exactly I should be rooting for her and Ridge during most of the novel. And then there was Ridge. Oh, Ridge. He was introduced as this perfect guy (and I fell for it completely in the beginning because how can you really resist a musician who’s kind to a girl in need, right?) but then bam! Asshole decision after asshole decision, and even though sure, they were warranted because he had this incredibly twisted view on loyalty and his past was just as fucked up, it didn’t work for his and Sydney’s story at all. It didn’t make me root for them, it made me wish the book would end with them parting ways and finding love with other people by the middle of the book! If you’re writing a romance and your main characters’ relationship doesn’t work even though the reader’s already a good 150 pages in, I think that’s not a good way for a romance book to commence. Sure, these two complimented each other in the musical aspects of their lives, but there was nothing there between them beyond that in Hoover’s writing. There was nothing natural about their chemistry, and then there was that ending to their story which was rushed and felt forced and came out of the blue and made no sense, either. I would’ve loved a more thought-out ending over that tedious middle part of the story where pretty much nothing happened except whining, whining, whining. And dammit, Sydney and Ridge just became so pathetic that I was glad it was over in the end. I enjoy stories that have characters overcome their own personal struggles in order to find happiness, but I need logical thought progress for that, and there was none here, neither in Sydney nor Ridge, nor in the other secondary characters. Honestly, that ending and the characters featured in it read like an entirely different book. Warren was the only one that I really enjoyed reading about because he had dimensions to him. He called out every character’s bullshit and kept them grounded when nothing else did. He was refreshingly rude and I wish the characters wouldn’t have gotten offended by his speeches so often. He was the only one who was decent and honest and wouldn’t sugarcoat anything and acted according to his character’s logic.
IMG_7710The second thing that had me in fits was the portrayal of the female characters in a whole. Hoover has shown she’s capable of writing female leads that you can sympathize with even though you don’t necessarily see eye to eye with their decisions, but Sydney and the rest of the women were terribly one-dimensional. What is up with all this slut shaming in the new adult category lately? Yes, girls of every age judge each other in real-life, but I would’ve liked for Sydney to not be of that calibre, because yes, non-judgmental girls do exist and Sydney had the chance to rise above that kind of behaviour BECAUSE she had strong motivations not to. And she kept saying so herself. All I wanted was for her to face her situation and be okay with it, stand behind her decisions. But she just ignored them, really, because humans can’t control how they act on their emotions yadda yadda. Uhm, yeah, sure. Sydney was blatantly judging every single girl around her for this or that, when she never took a good look at herself in the mirror and decided to change her course of action because it was obviously morally tainted (according to her personal standards). Sydney kept saying she was above mistakes when she clearly wasn’t, and that grated on my nerves. I just wanted a character that was more authentic, I guess. It was such a shame that every girl in this book was bound to one-dimensional stereotypes only – the backstabbing whore or the heartless bitch or the all-adored sunshine. There was no way to feel for these girls because they were so excessively fabricated, they didn’t seem real.
IMG_7718What makes me so incredibly sad to give this book such a low rating is how amazing that soundtrack was! The songs made me feel something where the book failed completely, and it was the only reason I kept reading, so that I could listen to the songs in context. It was sad to see a big portion of the later part of the book not feature any songs, and I grew bored without them to look forward to. The entire book and soundtrack idea Hoover had was brilliant, but if one of the two doesn’t work, it fails in its execution, and both mediums become independent of another, which happened here. I’m pretty sure I’ll listen to the songs again, but I’m also pretty sure I’ll be doing so without acknowledging their connection to the characters.
Maybe Someday tried so hard to be another Slammed (boy and girl meet, boy and girl can’t be together, throw in lots and lots of heartache and loss, you get the gist) but it didn’t work with this type of story and characters. Sydney didn’t manage to pull me in like Lake did, and I couldn’t buy Ridge’s romantic gestures the way I did with Will because, well, what came out of Ridge’s head and mouth was utter bull 90% of the time. Maybe if Hoover had opted for a different ending, I would’ve been happier with her book in a whole, but as it is, I feel like Maybe Someday failed to let me understand the characters despite the massive amount of info-dumping we got on their pasts. Without the soundtrack, this would’ve easily been a 1-star-rating, but I can’t give it more than 2 because yeah, the book wasn’t my cup of tea at all, whereas the soundtrack easily would’ve gotten four stars on its own. I’d still recommend this to readers who enjoyed Hoover’s other book series because it was a fun reading experience to have songs to listen to, and most readers aren’t as OCD dissecting as I am when it comes to characters, so if you enjoyed the Hopeless series, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this book. Sadly, it wasn’t a story that I could connect with.

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