Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B. Rowl

NOTE: I received the book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

When I read the premise of Popping the Cherry, I thought "Man, this sounds so good! So new and different!" It turned out to be just that - a fresh NA romance story, that had nothing to do with the usual, too cliched 'girl meets guy at college and they hook up right away' crap. No.

Unfortunately, there was another problem that bothered me out of my wits, and consequently lowered my rating. It was the writing style. I know this is too subjective to even matter to the majority of readers out there, but I just couldn't submerge myself in the story because of the way it was written. It wasn't the catch-your-attention-and-keep-it-till-the-end kind of thing. I was largely distracted a lot of the time, and with a hand over my heart I confess - I had to skim over the pages to keep reading. On numerous occasions.

There's nothing I hate about books more than not being able to keep my attention to the page. I mean, badly written books have me dnf-ing them almost right away, so I don't waste time on them. But books with potential, which turn poor somewhere around the middle... gosh! They infuriate me! I'm not saying you'll experience the same problem, but... keep it in mind.

Anyway, the summary of Popping the Cherry had me hooked, so I gave it a try. And I was sort of happy I did, even if it didn't totally win me.

So, Popping the Cherry is a book about Valentina (Lena) - a college student who is still a virgin. (Congrats for this by the way!) However, this is the very reason why she can't keep a boyfriend for more than several months. Her friends decide to take the matter in their own hands and make her a list of candidates to 'pop' her cherry. Lena's surprised to say the least. Then she decides to give it a try and that unleashes a whole bag of trouble. She meets new guys, and some old ones, but who will be the lucky one?

I liked the theme of peer pressure that Aurelia Rowl has incorporated in this novel. I mean, it's a pretty important one, seeing how many girls and boys give in to it every year. And I'm not only talking sex here. It's totally general. If you want to be accepted, you have to follow the group. It's a pretty stupid trick, but it's quite manipulative, so kids (and not only) use it a lot. It's the reason why Lena did the stupid list too.

Another theme that really spoke to me was that you don't really have to look for love - it will find you instead. I've experienced it myself, and I know exactly how strong the power of love is - it makes you abandon yourself completely and if you're not careful, that could be the end of you (both literally and figuratively).

Now, I don't want you thinking that just because the writing style bugged me, I would disregard the characters. Not at all. I actually liked them. They were all unique and had a certain depth that made them realistic.

For example, Lena wasn't just an empty headed girl who went completely with her friends' plan. She tested the waters first, and when things got shady, she pulled away. I call this cautious and smart. At times she ended up making mistakes - but who doesn't? That only made her more realistic. What I liked the most about her though, was that her character developed. By the end of the novel, she wasn't the insecure girl who was afraid to speak up her mind. She was confident about what she wanted and how she wanted it. I was impressed.

The knight in shining armor - almost literally too - was called Jake. He was Lena's best friend's older brother, who was super mature. He had one major flow, which sort of delayed the development of the romance - he was full of pride. But it suited his character and I just loved it on him. I liked how he was right there when Lena needed him, even though she didn't always see it. In other words, Jake was special.

Nathan, a friend of Lena's was the funny one in this novel, and I seriously enjoyed his company.

All in all, Popping the Cherry was a nice read. Not the best, but it could be enjoyed.

My rating is