Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Adam's List by Jennifer Ann

Title: Adam's List (NYC Love #1)
Author: Jennifer Ann
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Treetop Fantasies
Pages: 374
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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review! 
This review contains possible 18+ elements.

She's ready to give up on life, hiding her depression with sarcasm and booze. He's got a secret and quit college, with few friends to lean on. When they discover each other, the sexual attraction is undeniable. So why does it seem impossible for them to be together?

Everyone wanted to be Jewels Peterson in high school. Naturally beautiful, exceptionally smart, talented cheerleader, life of the party, and with an All-American boyfriend to boot. One regrettable choice and fatal accident later, and Jewels found herself unceremoniously knocked off her pedestal. Now she’s in college, going through the motions, but not really living.

Adam Murphy is easy-going, charming, considerate, and crazy good looking; he’s exactly the kind of guy Jewels pictures herself being happy with. But Jewels is already involved with someone, and Adam makes it known that he’s guarding a dark secret, one that makes him the wrong guy for her. Trumped by the promise of an innocent friendship, Jewels is forced to ignore her overwhelming hunger for Adam.

After Jewels unknowingly helps Adam create a bucket list, they embark on the adventure of a lifetime that pushes their platonic relationship to its limits. But does she want to be with Adam without knowing the truth behind the skeletons in his closet, or is being with him just another pointless thing in her life?

Adam's List actually caught my eye because of the description and NOT the cover. If you've been following my blog for anytime at all, then you should know how incredibly rare that is.  While the cover is alright... I mean, it's not great. Anyway, none of that is terribly important as far as this review is concerned. Just thought I'd throw it out there. I had never read anything by Jennifer Ann (a.k.a. Jen Naumann) and after reading this book I'm honestly on the fence about reading anything else of hers. Please, let me tell you why!

Full disclaimer - I may be unnecessarily nit-picky 
during this uncharacteristically long review. 

This book is about Jewels, former high school cheerleading captain turned converse-wearing manic depressive - but she's good as long as she takes her drugs! The other main character is Adam, the gorgeous, sweet college dropout who is instantly drawn to Jewels. The pull is so mutually intense that Jewels immediately breaks things off with her long-time boy toy and agrees to go with Adam on a cross country trip. As is standard with New Adult novels, they're both hiding a huge secret (though we know Jewels' from the start), both of which obviously threaten to tear apart their friendship-turned-more. It sounds like a great premise for a book, I'll give it that. And, to be honest, it works. For the first half of Adam's List, I truly thought this would be a five star review. But then I got to know Jewels.

I -hate- Jewels and that's a word I reserve for special situations (last used in 2011, thankyouverymuch). The more I found out about her, the more I hated her. I found myself being literally angry while reading this book to the point that my husband noticed. She is a despicable person and I really cannot understand why everyone else in the story liked her. The difference between her "big secret" and Adam's is that she brought hers on herself by being a piece of crap! Some of the words I wrote down to describe Jewels are as follows:

  • Selfish
  • Skank
  • Moron
I stand by them. Let me share with you some truly infuriating scenarios from Adam's List (possible mild spoilers). 
  1. She breaks up with her "boyfriend" for Adam and then proceeds to have sex with the guy she broke up with anyway just because he showed up at her apartment. In doing this, she lied to both her roommate and to Adam, who caught her in the act. She is then confused about why Adam just wants to be friends and whether it is because he "thinks I'm really still involved with Levi." Hmm... Ya think that might be it, Jewels?
  2. This girl had a boyfriend, broke up with him, slept around a bunch, and then started semi-dating an older man who she all but calls a sex god (maybe she did call him that?)... and then we find out that no one in the history of her sexcapades has ever gone down on her. I'm not buying it. Not for a second.
  3. Adam tells her that he does not want sex with her to be "cheap" and he basically wants it to be intimate and special. He turns her down more than once when she tries to have sex with him in random public places like behind a dumpster. Well, she completely ignores him and does it anyway. On a public party bus. I literally put the book down after and asked myself, "did she just rape him?" Yes, he was pissed after. 
  4. After said bus rape, she is mad that he's mad and feels absolutely no remorse whatsoever. She makes him feel like the bad guy. She even tells the reader later that she doesn't want to revisit "why he's mad 'I took advantage of him' in the bus." She puts it in quotes. She thinks it's a joke. 
  5. She's so mad at him for being mad that she decides to basically dry hump and all-but-make-out with some random guy she meets at a house party (which she agreed they were going to without Adam's consent). She carries on a conversation with the same guy while he's naked, but Adam doesn't know. She imagines what it would be like to be with naked guy.
  6. When Adam reveals his big secret, Jewels is all like, "I knew it and totally saw all the signs but didn't want to admit it." No.You.Did.Not.Jewels. You are a liar and the truth is not in you. The only changes we've read about until this point is that his hair got a little longer. Jewels, you're full of crap. 
  7. I cannot reveal why, but Jewels is incredibly selfish and thinks the entire world revolves around her. Theo, the aforementioned naked guy, is the voice of reason, informing Jewels that "Love can't always be about what you want." This is some kind of huge revelation for her. 
  8. She spends the entire book talking about how gorgeous she is, how toned her thighs are, etc. (and having everyone else constantly confirm this) and then suddenly, at 80%, we get this jewel (pun intended): "Once I'm completely naked, exposing all my imperfections..." Oh, just shut up. 
  9. She totally rapes him bareback and then is suddenly concerned with condoms the next time they "do it" (because we use words like "down there" in this book).
I'm sorry, but I don't have a number 10. As you can see, Jewels is disgusting. I cannot stand her. At all. 

There were a few other things that just did not make sense in this book and I really think they were just oversights on the author's part. For example, Jewels describes Adam as the very best sex partner of all her many sex partners, yet Adam tells her she's the only one who's ever seen him naked. Um, what? Let me tell you, dear reader, people aren't just born great in bed. The other glaring detail I just cannot ignore is Adam's eyes. WHAT COLOR ARE ADAM'S EYES?! Throughout this book, they're described as gray, baby blue, and steel blue, and these terms are used interchangeably. I worked as an Ophthalmology Technician for five years and those are three distinctly different colors, folks! 

Finally, the formatting was weird. I'm not sure if it was just my copy, but there were no breaks between events. So one second we're running through downtown Chicago (literally) and the next paragraph is "I stir with a light tapping on the door." This would have been a simple fix and I really hope it's remedied. 

Okay, so you're probably asking yourself, "Does she have anything at all good to say about this book?" I actually do, believe it or not. I honestly did like this story. I enjoyed it. It was a good story. Every character other than Jewels was wonderful and, I'd imagine, a freaking joy to be around! Kelly, the best friend, was the kind of person I'd love to add on facebook. And even though Theo played into Jewels' skankiness when he didn't realize she was serious with Adam, he was a great guy too! I just can't understand why all these fantastic people would waste their time on such a terrible person. And why, oh why! is Adam attracted to her? Adam is wonderful. He's patient and kind and gorgeous and obviously a natural-born sex god, if Jewels is to be trusted. I loved Adam. I really enjoyed going with them on their trip, I enjoyed Adam's struggles (I honestly couldn't care less about the struggles of Jewels-Center-Of-The-Universe), and the memories they made. 

If Jennifer Ann had just made her main character a little less terrible and a little more sympathetic, this could have gone a whole different way. For the story, I'd give it five stars, but for Jewels I cannot, in good conscience, give such a fantastic rating. Because I enjoyed it overall and it kept me turning pages and up til 2am, I'll settle at three.