My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Well this sits firmly on my “worst books ever” shelf. I hated it. I’m quite shocked that this came from Carlino because while I do think that the quality of her novels have declined since Sweet Thing, all have been enjoyable even if I did have some peeves. After the Rain was awful. I’m not quite sure how, after being in such a rut, that I didn’t DNF it.
The amount of melodrama in this novel is threat level Charlie and all of it is either caused by or made unbearable by Ava. Ava is awful. She was written to have no self-worth, no will to live, to be extremely depressed, to talk like a robot, and to be extremely unreasonable. Throughout the entire book I was trying to kill her with my mind.
Nate started off as an interesting character. I remember thinking that I liked him, but as soon as he got interested in Ava (for no apparent reason) he became a cheesy pushover who seemed to live only to serve her. It was such a turn off. Ava would over-react, act like an idiot, refuse to talk to him, and he would drive across the country to make it better. He was constantly catering to her and trying way to hard to make her feel better. It made me feel gross. He became desperate for Ava’a attention and it made me extremely aggravated.
The sex scenes were not hot. Ava’s mental state made it really hard for me to even read these. She was so fragile and such a shell of a person that it felt wrong for them to be having sex. I am not under any circumstances making any claims of rape, but it felt inappropriate and franking kind of predatory for Nate to be physically intimate with her. She was just so messed up in the head that it seemed like Nate should have been trying to take care of her in other ways. I think the author did attempt to write this, but I think the novel would have been better served if there was no sex between Nate and Ava until the end of the story. It was just creepy to me the way it was written. Regardless of all of that, it wasn’t even hot.
This is the end of the spoiler free portion of my free. I HAVE to tell you guys all of the dumb shit that happens in this book because I don’t think the above explains how awful the novel truly is, but before I do that I have one word of advice to those of you who still may want to read it (it’s $7.99 on Amazon!!! Expensive for an eBook!):
If you’re still reading, here’s a list of spoilery things that happen (in order) to really drive it home:
1. In the beginning of the novel, Ava laughs and all of her friends look at her in awe because it’s been 4 years since they’ve heard her laugh. She runs away and thinks they’re mad at her for being happy for 5 seconds.
2. Ava calls him after he goes back to LA and hears a random woman in the background. She gets all mad that he’s around a woman, hangs up, and then won’t answer any of his subsequent calls. He drives from LA to Montana to explain.
3. He takes her dress shopping ad says he “loves spoiling her.”
4. The words, “Let me have your mouth, Ava,” were said by Nate. This is where the book really jumped the shark.
5. Here’s the best one: They’re on a date at a restaurant and a man has a heart attack. Nate is a heart surgeon so he goes to the hospital with him. Ava is left to pay the $80 bill, but she only has $97 to her name (and apparently no credit cards) so she leaves all of her money. She decides to follow him to the hospital with his truck so he isn’t stranded, but he rode on the helicopter to a hospital 3 hours away. Ava goes any way. Ava gets to the hospital and it’s LOCKED. A LOCKED HOSPITAL. NO. So she’s basically outside freezing to death because the truck is almost out of gas and she doesn’t want to turn on the heater. She decides to run for an hour around the parking lot to warm up. Then, she gets back in the truck and sleeps there overnight. All this time, Nate never answers his phone when she calls even though he knew she was coming behind him. In the morning, Ava remembers that the ER exists and walks around the hospital until she finds it. Nate is there. They fight because he didn’t even think about her. He gives her 300 dollars for a cab ride home.
6. Ava runs away to Spain.
7. Ava decides that she and Nate can’t talk or see each other for a full year to “prove their love” is real.
See why I hated this?