ARC provide via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This book has a whole lot of potential, but somehow misses the mark. Up until about 75% of the way through it, I was planning on giving it 2 stars and was feeling like that would be somewhat generous.
Livia is completely unbearable in the first half of of the novel. She comes off as so obnoxious and smug I could barely stand it. She’s so sure that she knows everything about music and that she’s totally hot and that her group of friends is the coolest and that sleeping with rockstars is the greatest. You won’t get any slut shaming from me, but the way this character was presented made me want to reach into the book and wring her neck. Just stop, Livia, with the 8,000 90’s references. One every page was WAYYYYY too much. Livia was like that annoying friend your significant other has that wants you to know how cool they are so they constantly name drop. Knock it off!
The novel seems to lack plot for the first 70% or so. It all kind of starts up suddenly when Jack decides that Livia is the one (for pretty much no reason. Because she’s hot, I guess.) and then revolves solely around their encounters. And honestly, it’s a little boring. I would have liked to have seen a little more of Livia’s life without Jack in order to get to know her as a character more (and maybe not hate her so much). I hate to say it, but it was almost like the author knew where she was going and didn’t know how to get there. The main conflict comes out of NOWHERE and seems completely inexplicable until it’s explained at a much later time. However, I’ve got to give Torrest credit because the last 25% of the book (conflict and resolution) really redeemed it for me. I was on the edge of my seat with my heart beating out of my chest wanting to know what was going to happen with Jack and Livia. It was so excruciating that I almost had to stop reading because I just couldn’t take the stress. The last quarter of the book was awesome and brought up to a strong 3 instead of a weak 2.
As far as supporting characters go, we didn’t really get to know any of them, but from what we did see, they had a lot of potential. I’d like to read more about this whole crew so mayyybbeeee we’re looking at a series here? I’m especially interested in Tess’s story because from what was here, she’s pretty much the same character as Lisa DeSantos. I had a hard time not inserting her into the story. The Tess I remember from Remember When didn’t come off as having a heart of gold like this one did. I had a hard time reconciling the two. I’d like to get “Tess’s side” of the story so that all of that is a little more clear.
I don’t have an English degree and I’m not usually a grammar nerd, but some of the sentence structure in the novel was very strange. I would read it, be like hold up and then have to rearrange the words in my head before I could move on. There were also numerous misspellings. These 2 things did not factor into my review AT ALL because I am aware that this is an ARC and may still need to go to an editor, but I did feel it was worth mentioning.
Overall, I think this is a decent novel that a lot of people are going to really like. I think it does have some issues that keep it from really being a GREAT read, but I did somewhat enjoy it even if I wasn’t totally satisfied. I think readers without any previous exposure to Torrest’s work will be more likely to love it than current fans. Down the Shore is not nearly the novel Remember When is (only the first one. I like to pretend the two sequels don’t exist) but is a close second. If Torrest was to expand on her character development and take some time to flesh out beginning and middle of the story a little more thoroughly then she would have a 5 star novel on her hands.
One more note: at 3% into the book Livia tells her friend, “We were so gay!” I almost closed the book and DNF’d it right then. I don’t care if the book takes place in 1995 and we were all less concerned with who we were hurting when we said hateful things, it’s 2015 and gay slurs shouldn’t be in books. Unacceptable. THIS SHOULD BE REMOVED before publication.