Fuck this book. Seriously, fuck this book. I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE THAT IN A REVIEW YOU GUYS, and finally after reading the worst book EVER I finally have the chance to do so. Now, I am going to go in depth on spoilers of Taking Chances by Molly McAdams, but not until a few paragraphs down and I will warn you of spoilers to come with giant letters. You guys, if I wasn’t reading Taking Chances on a $200 device, I would have chucked it across the room, I was so angry with this poorly written, poorly characterized book. Further, the values within kind of go against all of more core beliefs and while I won’t dislike you or think less of you if you’re down for those things, for me I was just like no, not okay not cool.
Okay, you guys this review is going to be full of swears because I am so angry and I am not talented enough to express that anger without swears and sometimes nothing gets the point across better for me than a well placed fuck. OKAY SO. Taking Chances opens with main character Harper getting ready to leave home — a military base where she lives with her father and a lot of Marines for college across the country in San Diego. Harper calls her dad Sir. This is a super big deal. Anyways, she flys out to college where she meets her roommate Breanna who decides to give Harper a makeover and they become best friends. After the makeover montage, Harper goes with Breanna to a party at her brother’s house. At the party all the guys lose their shit over Harper because she’s so hot and funny and we know this because we get to read all about her outfit. THEN! There’s this guy there who is like the most gorgeous guy Harper has ever seen, his name is Chase. However he’s a total manwhore. And so they don’t date and she proceeds to slut shame any girl who goes near Chase. THEN a few days later she meets another guy who is even more gorgeous that Chase, named Brandon and he fights underground. Brandon becomes Harper’s boyfriend but she’s still attracted to Chase. That’s the plot for 50% of the book. Then something bad happens. Then the book drags for the rest of it. And don’t you worry, I will detail my problems with this awful book.
Okay you guys, I don’t get why dudes constantly lose their shit over Harper. She’s so basic and boring, but apparently really hot. And funny. And just so cool and so amazing. We’re consistently told how amazing she is, but not shown it. Instead, I saw a petulant brat who was too self-involved for me to really care about her. I mean, we didn’t even learn what her major in college was or what she liked doing besides hooking up and shopping and eating and drinking. She’s really boring and I just don’t get why three guys within the book were so into her that it practically comes down to brass knuckles.
As for the guys, I totally got it with Chase because they had that he’s so tattooed and bad and needs to be reformed sort of relationship. But honestly, if Chase is the dude on the cover on the left with that awful hair dye job, I do not get it. He looks trashy from behind. But he’s also a total asshole to Harper most of the time, which ugh. No, not hot. THEN. There is Brandon who is pretty much a cardboard cut out stand in. He’s so nice and sweet and perfect and just YAWN. SNOOZE. I mean, there’s some drama but it’s so obviously manufactured. And I just still cannot figure out for the life of me what the big deal is.
ALSO! Because this isn’t a spoiler but I need to rant about this too — there were only two girl characters who were ‘good’. Every other female character within Harper and Breanna’s age group were ‘sluts’ or ‘tramps’ or ‘basewhores’. Like for real? I get that Harper is like the Virgin Madonna, but why does every other girl with sexual experience who just want to hook up have to be a whore? Like, that slut shaming is so stupid. I wish there were more solid girl friendships within the book instead of just between Harper and her roommate, and even then none of their conversations pass the Bedchel test.
The writing style is pretty awful you guys. I think at this point with over 700 reviews at my belt and a goodreads average rating of 4.02, you guys know me and you know that when I read a book I don’t set out to hate it. Especially if it has a setting and a cover I’m interested in. I read books with an open mind. I don’t walk in with a vendetta. And I say this to you, the writing is awful in this book. We barely scratch the surface with characterization. The dialogue is cheesy and awful peppered with babe BABE BABY BABE and I’m all ugh gag me. My notes on this book in my kindle were two ‘fuck this shit’ and ‘girl head for the hills’ because there’s no natural progression or development, just like two pages and then it’s love. I mean, I know people constantly give Twilight shit for being instalove, but at least there was SOME sort of swoon and attraction with glances and hand touching. With this, I just felt nothing. I will say, I was kind of okay with the plotting, but that’s mainly because I needed to know what was going to happen next. HOWEVER, much of the plot is drawn out and convoluted and instead of really exploring an event and the emotions and repercussions and reactions, it’s over in a blink and we’re onto the next trauma of the moment.
NOW TO GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS AND SPOILERS AND MY ISSUES SO STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE COMPLETELY SPOILED BUT I NEED TO PUT ALL OF THIS OUT THERE BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE FEELING THE SAME THING AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE
You guys. I have made my peace with love triangles, I may not absolutely be head over heels for them, but if they are well done, at this point I’m resigned to them being a fixture in the books I read. I expect the point of the triangle to make a choice, not have the choice made for them. You guys, Taking Chances has the most bullshit plot twist and look away like I said above if you don’t want to be spoiled. But okay, so fucking Harper cheats on Brandon just twice with Chase and has sex without protection and OF COURSE she gets pregnant. Of fricken course. Because as we all know, if you have sex you will get pregnant and you will die, only she doesn’t die. Instead, Chase does. And oh my god I was so PISSED. I literally yelled at this book. I thought it was such a huge fucking cop out. Instead of having to force airhead Harper to decide between the guys, she kills off Chase in a car accident and it’s glossed over and by 70% we basically forget all about Chase and she’s pretty much over it. I hate this you guys. I hate when authors take the easy way out because they can’t make up their fricken mind or a decision. I had this same exact feeling with the book ending of My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. I thought that was a cop out too. Sorry, but you don’t set up this big huge choice for the main character to make and then take away that agency by killing off one of the options. No, that’s just awful and poor plotting/writing.
Also, stupid cardboard Brandon doesn’t even seem all that upset by the cheating. Nope, instead not even TWO MONTHS after Chase is cold in the ground, he goes back out with Harper. And AND Chase’s family is cool with this, in fact they encourage it. AND Brandon just forgives her like that and she doesn’t have to do a thing to earn his trust back. Hold the phone you guys just HOLD THE PHONE. If some guy ever cheated on me, it would take much more than a few pretty words to get my trust back. Straight up, there’s something wrong with the relationship when someone strays and time to leave that relationship and not get back together. So, ugh. I was just shaking my head so hard it was about to fall off.
Can I also just say, how hard is the concept of birth control? Like, almost every girl I went to college with was on it. Is that a NY thing? Is it a NY thing where the RAs leave baskets of condoms in the hallway and where we had a vending machine for them? Is this something that only my part of the nation does? Am I the weird one in this situation here? Like, I literally do not understand why it’s so difficult to understand that if you don’t use protection you might end up pregnant. I know that doesn’t happen all the time — not everyone who has unprotected sex ends up pregnant (THANK GOD). But seriously? Like didn’t we all get the banana and the condom lesson in high school or did I just go to a really liberal school? I just do not get it. I know that I personally am not the most level headed person, but honestly even I know that hey ya might want to wrap your tool ESPECIALLY if you called the guy a walking STD at one point, oh my goddddd.
Further, last night I was thinking about my review of this book and what I would say and I had an epiphany. I realized one of the things I hate about this book is that it’s view of the world and relationships is diametrically the opposite of my personal core beliefs and values. You see, at the end of the book Harper is married at 19, drops out of college and has another baby on the way. Are you kidding me? Is this the message we want to send to girls who read this book? What happened to being a strong independent woman who can take care of herself? No. This is like some 1950s shit and I can’t stand it. I don’t know, maybe it’s different here in NY, but I just can’t ever see taking that route. Basically the whole message I got overall was that it’s cool to get pregnant young because if it’s the right guy he’ll take care of you and you won’t even have to work. Fricken UGHHHHHHH. The end of the book it’s basically mentioned that the two girls Breanna and Harper won’t have to work because their husbands will make enough money. Girls this is gross to me. Like, get a job and be financially independent. What if your man dies in an accident? What if the marriage doesn’t work out? Then she has no back up plan and is basically qualified for few jobs. I mean, hello in this economy it’s like a bachelor’s degree is the equivalent of a high school degree and you really need your master’s for something that pays well and I’m just so disgusted that she decides not to finish college and not get a job. I get that her husband at 22 can magically support her because he owns a gym or whatever, but still this just made me so angry. I guess I just feel that in 2013, as women we should be able to support ourselves rather than be fully dependent upon another person.
I also just kind of felt like it was the purpose of women to get married and have babies. And that’s not why I read or choose to read New Adult. I like to read New Adult because it deals with things I can relate to — namely college and just starting a career or struggling. I don’t read New Adult for things like pregnancies and mortgages because most people I know in their early 20s are not worrying about those things. I mean, maybe I just run with a more educated crowd? But this is not my experience at all.
In all conscience, I can’t recommend Taking Chances to you if you are anything like me. If you like strong independent women as main characters, you won’t find that here. If you like swoons and a slow burn and banter, you are out of luck. If you like writing where you highlight every other page, this is not the book. However, if you like a long drawn out, train wreck of a soap opera, then you’ll love Taking Chances.
Disclosure: Received for review, but what the heck I’ll buy the 99 cent copy so I don’t feel awful about this review which is the most negative review I’ve ever written.
Other reviews of Taking Chances by Molly McAdams:
Dear Author – “ non stop eye rolling what the f__ck reactions of everyone that circles the orbit that is Harper.”
The Book Scoop – “By the end of the book, I was reading it so that I could close the book and put these characters out of my head.”
My Secret Romance Book Reviews – “definitely an emotional story and not one that I regret reading.”