Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dating Down ~ Stefanie Lyons (earc) review [@fluxbooks @sllplatform]

Dating Down
April 8, 2015
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

When a good girl falls for a bad boy

She thought she loved him. She thought she could change him. She thought if she just believed in him enough, his cheating and his drugs and his lying would stop, and she'd be his and he'd be hers and they'd love each other forever.

But for Samantha Henderson, X-the boy she will not name-is trouble. He's older, edgier, bohemian . . . and when he starts paying attention to Sam, she can't resist him. Samantha's family and friends try to warn her, but still she stays with him, risking her future and everything that really matters.

As moody and vivid as it is captivating, Dating Down is told in scenes and bursts of poetry that create a story filled with hurt, healing, and hope.

Dating Down's formatting was more than a bit weird. I don't know if it was how the egalley worked on a Kindle or how it was supposed to be. As it's told in verse, i wasn't clear if the formatting (line breaks, justification, spacing, etc) were intentional or the result of things not being correct.

As it was, it was hard to get into the story, into the flow of each poem. The line breaks and spacing kept tripping me up. When I did my best to ignore the layout, some of the poems were very well done. They do a nice job of getting us into how Samantha views things, people, herself even.

With it being told in verse (not prose) what we see of Samantha's life is more sparse, more selective. What is included, ultimately, comes together to give us a very full view of her and what she's experiencing.

There is a change in the book that, while I thought worked for the character it effected, didn't work for me. I appreciated what happened and what it meant, but the catalyst for that change, what pushed it into being was absent. The parts of the story 'before' fit, even when they might not have been right.

Even though I liked the change (and what it brought about) there wasn't enough to the decision for me. It just happened - which felt out of place for the story and the character.

This is one I may reread if I am able to find a finished copy (and the formatting is, in fact, different than the arc). While it didn't quite work for me, I liked some of Lyons writing and might like the story as a whole if it flowed better (visually, how the poems' lines and stanzas were spaced/divided, where the line breaks occurred).

Dating Down was not a story that ever really drew me in and I didn't care enough about the characters. I liked some of the author's writing, her word choice and phrasing so I likely will try something she publishes in the future, but I just didn't love this one.

egalley provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, for an honest review

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