Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That's stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It's been ten months since you were here, but I can't forget you.
I've missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I've missed you cheering at my football games.
I've missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don't hate me because I'm a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.
PURCHASE A COPY
READ MY BOOK REVIEW
Release Date: February 1, 2020
Actual Rating: 4 stars
Young Adult/New Adult | Enemies to Lovers | High School Romance
Dear Ava has been on my radar since it was released and I’ve waited a few months to read it because I wasn’t in the mood for another romance that blurs the bully lines. Is it me or do 2 out of 5 books have a bully theme? I feel like I see these types of books everywhere! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the trope, but sometimes you just want to see other tropes too, you know? Anyway, this one isn’t necessarily a bully romance even though the heroine IS bullied because it’s not a direct plot line. This book is much deeper than that and I wasn’t expecting it! Possible spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read it!
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
This book deals with the aftermath of a sexual assault on the heroine, Ava. Ava was partying at a bonfire when it happened but can’t remember the specifics of that night other than she was drugged and raped. When she goes back to school for her senior year the kids pick on her for being a “snitch” and going to the cops after it happened (this is where the bullying comes in). One of the Sharks (the group of boys who run the school) has his eye on her though and makes it his mission to both protect her and act as if she’s just a charity case (she’s poor FYI and there on a scholarship). He doesn’t like how the others are treating her but won’t pretend to care either. They are after all, complete opposites: him the rich football player, and her the poor scholarship student. The two of them bicker back and forth and eventually things heat up romantically. But then someone starts to remember what happened to her that night (more importantly WHO may have done it) and thinks get dicey… What happens from there is something readers need to read, but it does play out very fast (almost TOO fast).
For the most part, I liked Dear Ava although I did feel like it was too slow in the beginning and too FAST in the end. How a book manages this is beyond me but that’s how I felt. One of the things I liked about this book is how fierce and determined Ava was. She would NOT let the sexual assault dictate her future and it didn’t. Another thing I liked was how protective Knox was. Sure, he acts like he doesn’t like her in the beginning, but we eventually find out he’s liked her all along and is just keeping up appearances. Makes sense because it’s part of the books dramatic effect. Finally, I loved the secondary characters particularly Dane even though he’s dealing with severe mental health issues.
Some of the things I didn’t like about this book is the sexual assault and its lack of effect on the story. The entire books pretty much surround this topic, but it never feels like an issue. How is that possible? Ava isn’t hurting over it like most women would (not that we can see anyway), and it’s only fleetingly discussed until the big reveal of who the perpetrator was. For some, this could be a good thing because they don’t want to know the details, but for me, I need them. I need to feel it in the bones of the book in order to connect with the characters and this didn’t happen here. It almost felt TOO RUSHED especially when we get to the end (where everything happens at the speed of lightning). The other thing I didn’t like is the lack of “showdown” between Ava and the boy who assaulted her. This could have been SO IMPORTANT for the book especially considering she went back to school for revenge. There was NO showdown. We were told what happened to him but nothing more. NOTHING. Finally, Knox came off as a great character even though the first few chapters made him all rough and tough. However, I don’t feel like I knew enough about him to really love him. Ava was well explained but Knox was only explained on a surface level. I would have loved a little bit more on what his mother did to him instead of just a few sentences. It is after all, what made him who he is.
All in all, I did enjoy the book. There were things I loved, and things I didn’t care for. I may be a little picky but what can I say? I like to give as detailed description of my likes and dislikes as I can.
If you enjoy a young adult/new adult, high school romance with an enemy’s trope then I certainly recommend this one. Most readers won’t be as picky as me and may end up loving this one wholeheartedly!
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