A damaged person can have a beautiful story…
‘Hopeless’ by Colleen Hoover is a gem in the rough for me in the world of YA Fiction. It managed to keep me engaged throughout, and, as a mature reader, still managed to reveal unexpected twists.
I loved that all the characters in the book were flawed. It is so refreshing to see real life ooze from the page. I don’t think there was a single character that was cookie-cutter perfect. If I had to pick my favourite aspect of ‘Hopeless,’ this would be it. The complexities of the characters were so well written that their failings made them who they were. Not, this is [so-and-so] and she likes clothes; it was more like, [so-and-so] never had any money to buy new clothes and was ridiculed at school for wearing cast-offs – each foible had a motivation. I feel this is important because of the subject matter this novel deals with. What the characters have lived through lets the reader identify easily with them, even though their decisions may be vastly different to their own.
With that said, I did get a little annoyed at how the main protagonist, Sky, ran away from the story… probably to build suspense in the plot, but nonetheless it was irksome. She was such a strong character and her retreat from the knowledge that she craved distracted me from the story. At one point I had to put the book down and walk away in frustration.
The overall plot and storyline was a little predictable, but still managed to surprise me. The pace and cadence to the writing kept me up all night to finish the book. Although I felt like Sky had been dragged through so much, that by the end, it lost that punch of realism. Additionally the way Sky was raised didn’t sit quite so well with me (even though justifiable to the storyline). I felt, given her strength as a character, she would have rebelled much earlier, or at least had some close calls with the reveal in her past, piquing her curiosity when she had that instinct that things weren’t quite right.
I’m not a big fan of flashbacks or amnesia as a plot twist. I feel they can be too convenient and have been overdone. And although both are present in this story, the flashbacks are few and far between and the memory loss is realistic. We forget and block out parts of our early childhood, until prompted with a photo or someone’s re-telling, which is how it presents in ‘Hopeless.’ And it is executed brilliantly!
On a personal note, having shared much of Sky’s experiences in my own life, the way everyone was portrayed as a little bit broken was perfection. Had it been told any other way would not have done it any justice.
It was a very satisfying read and it gets 4 out or 5 kisses from me.
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