I thought about meditating over this, but then figured "Nah, might as well write my thoughts about it." I had a full review that I tried to post once on Goodreads, ended up losing the whole thing before I could click submit. Gah. So this is my second attempt.
This novel was going so well for a time. I definitely appreciated Kelsey's narration over Bliss, and loved the attention to detail over her excursions in Europe and overseas.
Yet I could use five words to describe this book: "Drama City, Typical New Adult."
Is it too much to ask for a heroine, for once, not to be "healed" from her problems by a guy? To own it to herself to face the B.S. that people give her and take a stand for what it is that's the issue and work towards that, without a guy hinging on that measure? Seriously?
Kelsey has palpable pains in her past, and I definitely got that she was trying to run from those measures, and was somehow using the freedom to travel to search for something she couldn't quite grasp. I didn't like the downplay of her college education among other factors, but I understood that she was a young adult who felt like she wanted more from her life and wasn't sure how to get it. She starts off the novel partying and kind of enjoying her excursions when she ends up meeting Jackson. Jackson's a respectable guy, a soldier from what we learn from him initially.
Kelsey has a nightmare of a night getting too drunk but the two end up sharing more than a few nice moments, and I definitely appreciated the eye to Kelsey's travels (though personally speaking, it's no "Wanderlove").
I was icky about the whole measure of Kelsey getting drugged and then the follow up that surrounded that. I couldn't suspend disbelief over how that was handled, but I told myself that I would read onward to see if it was handled later, but not very well, unfortunately. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I did believe Jackson and Kelsey's chemistry, but the whole loopy description of it made me have flashbacks towards "Losing It" and Bliss's whole Mono state. Was not a good parallel.
I figured out Jackson's role way ahead of time - probably around the time he returns Kelsey's cell to her. I wasn't sure at first, but I figured if it turned out to be the case that Kelsey wouldn't take it well at all. Yet, I was frustrated that it took so long for Kelsey to start asking questions about Jackson's past.
And then when the big reveal came - it was epic info-dumping time. I was thrown out of the story because of how it was dealt with in the last 20% of the novel (if that). I wasn't there for Jackson's long spiel trying to excuse his actions (neither was Kelsey, which I give to her), but I think it could've been handled better than what it was.
Overall, the ending was reached, but it didn't feel real or palpable for me, so it was definitely a kick at the knees for a novel that I enjoyed parts of in decent measures. Definitely not as enjoyable as "Faking It" was for me, but I saw merits/improvements of it over "Losing It".
Overall score: 2/5 stars