Quick review for a quick read. I guess on a positive note to start this review - at least this book wasn't nearly as depressing as many other New Adult titles? "Southbound Surrender" definitely had this distinct chick-lit, humored vibe that was meant to be funny in places, but you know what killed this book for me?
It was just TOO much. Too much sappiness, too much awkward writing, and not compelling enough for me to really care about either Piper or Cash.
I think even from the beginning, it was hard for me to connect to Cash as a narrator. His humor and voice felt entirely forced, including the odd description of feeling a "pang" in his right nipple whenever he was around the heroine (Where...did this come from? Why was it even a focus - it was such an awkward statement.) I understood that he was an awkward teen guy who fell in love with a girl who was a compulsive liar (and for this reason, Piper and I did not hit off well from the beginning of the book. There was one point where she lied about her GPA among other things and it didn't seem like she had a reason behind doing it.) They get separated as her father pulls her out of school and away from Cash's influence after the two get in trouble for hooking up in a closet. The two don't see each other for a full five years and once they're back together, there's obvious pushes in the narrative to have them together and I still don't feel convinced of their insta-love connection and destiny to be together. The rest of the story is really threadbare where it's meant to be compelling while they're on the road, but Cash's direct address to the reader was not endearing and it irritated me more often than not.
Plus the love scenes? Cheese, pure cheese, almost to the point where it was painful. I don't mind cheese, but the overabundance in the depiction was enough to make me roll my eyes and just want this book to be done.
The ending was the final straw - I was just glad to be done. It doesn't come across as sweet or sentimental to me, it was just too obvious and unnatural. I think the biggest thing was that this narrative was trying too hard for all the emotions it purported to show, and that ruined the narrative for me.
Overall score: 1/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.