With thousands of 5-star reviews all over Goodreads and Amazons and an overhyped fandom, Wait for You was one of new adult novels I was most looking forward to trying. While I did enjoy the book, I don't thinkÃ¢€”and this might put me on a blacklist with diehard Jennifer Armentrout fansÃ¢€”that it was all that mind-blowing. There is nothing surprising, nothing thrilling, and nothing intricate about this story, but it was, regardless, fun to follow.
Wait for You begins with a collision: the literal, head-on collision of two of the most overused archetypes in NA: the gorgeous-eyed reformed bad boy, Cam Hamilton, and the shy, painfully average new girl in town, Avery Morgansten. This "chance encounter"Ã¢€”as well as the revelation that the two happen to have their next class together, are randomly assigned as lab partners, and are neighbors, for Christ's sakeÃ¢€”embodies their entire relationship throughout the novel; it's cheesy, it's contrived, and it's frequently the victim of (un)amused eye-rolling.
Cam is an absolute dreamboat, but he's too much of a fantasy guy. He's easy to fall in love with, so I loved his humor and swooned over the way he treats Avery, but he's too good to be true, with perfect looks, a perfect family, perfect friends, an unrealistically considerate respect for a woman's body and virtue, etc., which made everything about him hard to believe.
Our narrator Avery is genuine, and likable for the naÃƒÂ¯ve wide-eyed virgin-type, but honestly just doesn't have a fun personality. Humor is often lost on her, she's jumpy as hell, and she's awfully bipolar (i.e. pushes Cam away then throws a fit when he stays away), so I overall found her frustrating. I feel like Lynn intentionally created a huge mess of a character, so I will acknowledge these flaws as character-building, but if Avery was a real-life person, she'd be that weird girl at school who never laughs at jokes, is unnaturally reclusive, and locks herself in her apartment every night to avoid socializing... which she actually does.
Retreating from the rather poorly portrayed main characters, the plot itself is nothing note-worthy. Wait for You has another typical, haunting-past-catches-up-to-present storyline that's all of predictable and starkly unoriginal. I feel like Avery's and Cam's "deep, dark pasts" are supposed to compel and shockÃ¢€”and the issues themselves, are definitely grave and shouldn't be taken lightlyÃ¢€”but the way they are revealed is just too simple and straightforward; I wasn't profoundly touched by any of it. But because there are such heavy matters covered, the emotional timbre is poignant; Avery is a sensitive narrator, and all her angsts and desires are easy to relate with.
I fully appreciate the coming-of-age transition, as it's less about Avery's search for identity, and more about Avery reshaping her identity after it's been stripped away. The message of self-empowerment is incredibly potent, although rather two-dimensionalÃ¢€”just like the romance. Cam and Avery's sentimental romance can get a little ridiculous at times, but the physical aspect of it hot, and definitely one of the best aspects of the book. It is pretty sexually explicit, but I'm kind of a glutton for that kind of thing.
J. Lynn may not be tremendously skilled with the pen (in fact, her writing is rather elementary and unsophisticated), but she certainly is gifted in transporting readers into a fantasy world, an ideal world where painful pasts can be a topic of intrigue and the hottest boy on campus falls for the troubled, awfully mediocre small-town girl. While Wait for You is a far cry from being a favorite of mine, I enjoyed it the way I admittedly enjoyed Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey: for its ease of style and mindlessness, as well as the saturated fantasy it offers, the overindulgent "perfect" romance.
Pros: Cam needs to exist in real life // Effortless read that moves quickly // Smokin' hot sex // Draws you into an expanse of emotions // A feel-good story, perfect for a quick escape
Cons: Cam doesn't exist in real life // Plot lacks originality and complexity // Ridiculously idealized relationship // Everything, from the plot, to the characters, to the romance, is cheesy to the max // Style did not blow me away // Avery is indecisive and sometimes really, really stupidÃ¢€”made her a frustrating narrator // Both main and secondary characters are distressingly shallow
Love: "****, Avery. You think I don't want you? ... Don't ever doubt that I want you. That is not what this is about ... But not like thisÃ¢€”never like this. You're drunk, Avery, and when we get togetherÃ¢€”because we will get togetherÃ¢€”you're going to be fully aware of everything that I do to you."
It took a few moments, but what he said finally sunk in through the liquor haze and confusion and made sense.
Closing my eyes, I turned my head to the side, feeling the way his skin slid alongside mine. "You're a good guy, Cam."
"No, I'm not." He exhaled deeply and his breath was warm against my cheek. "I'm only good with you."
Verdict: J. Lynn draws readers in to a contemporary college setting in West Virginia where two unlikely loversÃ¢€”each with a dark secretÃ¢€”together, uncover the power in themselves to rekindle the passions they once thought they'd completely lost. Avery and Cam's tense romance is both stormy and starry-eyed, and although I found it to be unrealistic and clichÃƒÂ©d, it is a part of a fast-moving, absorbing account that reminds you of what it means to love. Wait for You is a different kind of coming-of-age novel about resilience, taking chances even after being broken, and refusing to let your past define and limit you. It isn't by any means a masterpiece, but I liked it enough to want to try its sequel.
Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via tour publicist, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours!).show more