Monday, May 19, 2014

REPOST American Honey ~ a book review

Hello all,

So I got some review on my American Honey review, and I realized that it might be a good idea to point out where the spoilers are in my review and/or remove some of them. As well, I have received some information about the book that changes some of my perspective on the book --- and I realize that I may have been a little more negative than was needed (I admit that blowing out emotions is one of my faults).

After graduating high school, Olivia “Ollie” McKenna leaves her small town roots in Summerville, Georgia, to pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer. With her best friend and older sister in tow, wholesome Ollie travels to the big city to compete in singing contest Atlanta Idol. There she meets nineteen-year-old Jack Bradley, a fellow country singer who quickly becomes a close friend. The connection between them is magnetic and an opportunity to sing together could change their lives forever. But what about Ollie's mama's fear of the music business? She's been burned by the lures of the bright lights before and doesn't want Ollie anywhere near that world. And Ollie's growing feelings for Jack as more than just a pal could ruin everything. Despite her own doubts, Ollie is determined to win. Can she make her dream come true or will she return to her hometown empty-handed and brokenhearted?

This book was a quick and easy read. Overall, it wasn't a bad book. However, I do have a couple of problems with this book.

The singing contest
The main reason I picked up this book is because I am a big fan of singing contests/shows like the X Factor and the Voice. However, this book's portrayal of the 'Atlanta Idol' disappointed me. Besides Ollie and Jack, no other contestants are mentioned (besides two contestants who are leaving the competition). This left me with a feeling that there was no competition whatsoever, which was soon backed up when (SPOILERS) Ollie and Jack got first and second place (END SPOILERS - more on that later). We don't get to hear of any training (but perhaps this contest didn't provide vocal training). The only parts of the contest that we hear about are Ollie going out to dinner, getting ready in the morning, practicing just before she has to go on stage, and the result. The first half of the book was somewhat of a let-down for me. However, the one thing I really did like was the description of the songs that Ollie chose to sing. The country songs gave me a sudden urge to listen to country music...and I feel like I need to go back to the book and check out each song that I've never heard before.

The main characters
One thing that I did enjoy was the different manner of speech and lifestyle (country-ish) of the characters. 

However, I did have some issues with Ollie McKenna as I got annoyed with her very quickly. She starts crushing on another contestant starting page one, and when she thinks about kissing this said contestant (Jack) later on, she comments that she's kissed other guys a few times, and had one make-out session. I got a little uncomfortable with this. And then she meets another guy and dates him because she's bored of Jack not making any moves with her (and makes out with him). In addition, Ollie annoyed me with her I'm-here-to-win-nothing-else-is-good-enough attitude. She gets extremely disappointed when she doesn't get first place (I can take some disappointment, but her attitude bugs me).

Then there's Jack. He seems a pretty decent guy. However, there is this one part of the book when the Bradley and McKenna families are discussing a proposal given by Ollie and Jack's (executives? I don't know what they're called...they're helping these two young people get a record deal) - that they will share a house to save expenses when they move to Nashville. Ollie and Jack's parents get concerned (which they should be!). Ollie responds something along the lines of, "We're mature adults, and, plus, we're only business partners, nothing else". (At this point, we have nothing really going on between these two.) Jack's response? He gets extremely angry and snaps out, "Ollie and I will have sex if we want to!"

There's another morality issue when (SPOILERS) Ollie's sister getting pregnant after being with one of Jack's friends (END SPOILERS). We only hear about it second-hand, which is good. The thing that bugged me was when she tells Ollie, she says that it was because she was bored. I'm sort of wondering what is up with these McKenna sisters. However, the morality issues are actually only a very minor part of the story. I appreciate this as there are so many books there that are definitely inappropriate. I'm sure these issues will be resolved through the series, anyhow.

The romance thread leads to....nothing?
So there's the whole thing with Ollie and Jack. We get a couple of moments when Jack acts pretty cute toward Ollie. Then there's a few times when he seems about to kiss her, but doesn't. Then Ollie, bored, gets into another relationship with some other random guy sorry, but that's how I saw him). Almost at the end of the story, Ollie leaves a party with her sort-of boyfriend. Jack follows to comfort her along with two of his and Ollie's friends. (SPOILERS) We end the story with Ollie wondering what the future will bring for her and Jack's record deal. The end. We have no idea if Ollie is going to finally realize that Jack is the one she should be with. (END SPOILERS) *LE DRAMATIC SIGH* HOWEVER, I have been informed by a reliable source that Nancy has intended for American Honey to be the first book of a series. Therefore, while I thought this was bad writing, Nancy is actually ending just like one of my favourite authors, Rick Riordan...on a cliff-hanger. (To you authors who do this, I both love and hate you for it.)

I would have been surprised to hear myself say this this morning, but I'm actually looking forward to Nancy's next novel in this series. :) Especially after seeing this promise from Nancy in one of her interviews:

"My books will never have any graphic sex scenes or any overly detailed intimate moments between characters. I don’t write romance novels. I write women’s fiction (chick lit), and I don’t foresee ever writing the really racy stuff. I think it’s good to leave some things to the readers’ imaginations. Less is more. One of the big differences between chick lit and romance novels is that chick lit has the sweet, romantic scenes and romance novels have the steamy, intense love scenes." (Source)

Alyianna's rating: 8 out of 10
Audience: Christian/Catholic teens

Fun fact: This book was inspired by winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina (cue fangirl squeal). (Source)

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