I’ve never read an Abbi Glines novel before now.
In fact, I’ll be quite honest, I’d never even heard of Abbi Glines before I purchased this novel. I saw it, figured it would fulfill my Friday Night Lights needs, and we’d call it a day.
I was roped into something and I see no means of escape.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
Let’s start with the issues (Spoilers Ahead!!)
Okay, straight out the gates, West is NOT like my man Big Tim Riggins (i.e. RIGGO!) as far as I can tell. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what West looks like. He’s, in my mind, a nondescript white boy. Taylor Kitsch could not play him in the straight to TV movie adaptation of this novel. HOWEVER, where Glines lacked in writing a character description, she certainly made up for it in character traits. West is an arrogant, sad boy. He’s really going through it in this novel and, to be frank, I’m not surprised with his measures of lashing out.
Where Glines lacked in character description for West, she made up for it in her development of our other protagonist. I can vividly picture Maggie in my mind. I actually liked her character a lot, which I found surprising. She’s strong and sweet and has been through hell and back, but still survived. I admire that in characters.
Here’s my biggest issue with this book. It’s kinda… instalovey.
I mean, West basically shoves his tongue down Maggie’s throat on their first encounter and, her being mute for the first quarter of the book, she doesn’t stop him. But from her perspective, she doesn’t want to. I get attraction, but this girl literally makes no move to consent – no gesture that she’s okay with their first (her VERY first) kiss whatsoever. I think this sends the wrong message to young readers – the target audience for this book.
On top of this, I cannot condone the first sex scene either. It’s not that I didn’t find it believable; again, I just don’t like the message it sends young girls. For me, it felt like Maggie and West hooking up in his truck was made okay by the fact that he was hurting. However, I will give this much to Glines; in this scene, Maggie actually does give her consent so I can’t hate too much.
So what did I like?
It was not a difficult read. Much like Colleen Hoover’s writing, I found this novel to be un-putdownable. I mean, I did put it down to like, fold laundry and stuff, but it was so interesting. I was invested in the characters and the plot. I liked it enough to stay up late on a Sunday night, KNOWING FULL WELL that Mondays are my nemesis to finish the book.
I also enjoyed the dual POV writing. I don’t normally go for this, but Glines made characters likable enough for me to feel invested in all parties. I wanted to know Maggie’s thoughts as much as I wanted to know what West was thinking. This was a pleasant surprise to me.
I also really liked the plot. It was refreshing to see tragedy dealt with in the manner in which Glines chose. I liked the fresh outtake on having a mute main character. While Tiffany Jackson’s Allegedly discusses the main character being mute, Glines actually shows us the awkwardness of a mute main character. That’s why I consider it fresh. Sure we get her thoughts, but before she actually starts speaking to West, you can feel the tension in the characters who try to communicate with Maggie.
I liked this book. In fact, I’d probably read more of this series (Field Party, this is Book 1). I’d absolutely pick up a Field Party novel on Nash or Brady so Ms. Glines, if you’re reading this… maybe… consider my proposition? 😀
It met my needs for a cutesy contemporary. I liked the writing, but my issues with the book are still weighing heavy on my mind… so…
Let’s take a different course of action this time! I loved the show Friday Night Lights. If you’ve watched it, leave me a comment telling me who your favorite character was. Mine is pretty obvious if you’ve read this post 😉
Or if you haven’t watched the show, leave me a comment telling me your favorite sport! (My favorite is hockey! I’m a Pittsburgh fan!)
lover of literature. librarian in training.