Synopsis from Goodreads: Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.
With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.
Feelings: I had to make myself finish this book more than any other book I’ve read before. I really wanted a different ending and decided to keep pushing through in the hopes that my picture would come true, but it really didn’t. I think this book had so much potential and I’m glad that it’s out there; a lot of people can see themselves represented in this story, which I’m all about. However, it could have been handled in a better way.
Issues: I felt like the narrator (or author) was talking down to me at different points. He’d say phrases like, “I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this,” or “I don’t know if it’ll make sense to anyone else.” I get it that the narrator is speaking to the reader and that works sometimes, but in this book if just felt like the narrator was experiencing things that no one else could possibly relate to and he had to spell everything out.
There was one point where it was as though the author was brainstorming possible outcomes. It was like a laundry list of how things could play out. He also began and ended nearly every chapter by taking away all anticipation. He’d tell us something major was about to happen, so I knew to expect something, well…major. It made it hard for me to want to keep reading because there were zero surprises.
There were quite a few pity party information dumps. The narrator had to remind us how hard his life had been, try to make us feel sorry for him, then we’d move on. Multiple times.
There was so much tension between the two love interest characters and then literally in a matter of one sentence, it was over. Build up, build up, build up….and we didn’t even get details. It felt really anti-climatic.
Finally, there were a lot of moments that just bothered me. The characters talked about homosexuals, drag queens, and even mentally challenged people in really negative ways. Lots of awkward moments and things that just made me shake my head or roll my eyes from annoyance.
Characters: The way that Chris went back and forth between lying to his step-sister and being in love with JJ was something I hoped would get resolved. I see that the author hinted to us how she felt in the end, but it wasn’t enough for me. Chris had a hard back story, sure, but I felt like he used it as an excuse to make poor choices, then would remind the reader that he’d had it bad. As for JJ, I can see how he felt caught between two worlds, and I like that we got to read about that experience. He made a solid choice in the end and I think his character was the strongest throughout. There was a lot of character development there for him. In fact, I probably would have preferred this book if it was from JJ’s perspective.
There was so much selfishness going on up until the last 4 or 5 sentences, which made it hard to get through. Honestly, one more chapter could have made all the difference there. I felt like these characters were up in the air all the way through.
Kimberly deserved more. Was she this great and wonderful person? No. But nobody deserves what she got. Between her and Buck, we had some strong character development. Although with Buck, it probably wasn’t so much about development as it was about Chris finally understanding him.
Duane and Coco really added life to this book. I was worried that we’d meet Coco and then never really see her again, but I was really happy that she and Duane kept coming back. I think this character really brought out the best in everyone else.
Final thoughts: I didn’t love this story, obviously. I just felt like it needed another round or two of revising. I ended still needing some clarity and resolution. I know a lot of people will enjoy this story, again because they’ll see a bit of themselves. I’d love to hear what people who can relate think about this story!
Goodreads rating: 3.55/5
Amazon.com rating: 3.6/5
My rating: 2/5
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own
Happy reading! – Caitlyn