All right, onto the first review of 2009 for my own blog :) My first review will be The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan. Since this is a contemporary book, I'll kill two birds with one stone and make it my January entry for the Contemporary Romance challenge hosted by Brie :)
The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan
published by St. Martin's Press in December 2008
Kat Cavanaugh was sixteen when she hitchhiked out of Persuasion, West Virginia and vowed never to return. Who could blame her? She'd just stumbled upon her father's adulterous affair, found out she was pregnant, got dumped by her boyfriend, and kicked out of her house and school... all in a single afternoon. Twenty years have gone by and Kat's back - gorgeous, rich, and looking for an apology from everyone who'd turned their backs on her. First on that list is Riley Bohland, the boy who broke her heart before she could tell him about the baby. But Kat didn't count on Riley having his own axe to grind, or that he'd be just as delicious as he was at sixteen. She also didn't count on her heart opening at the sight of him. When their anger ignites a passion intense enough to burn through two decades of secrets and lies, Kat must question everything she thought she knew about her past. And what about her future? The only place to find the answers may be in Riley's arms.
Genre: contemporary romance
The Story: The back blurb does a good job of giving the background of the story, so I won't go over it again. So Kat is back in Persuasion, along with her best friend, and is hoping for a little revenge... or at least, to show off what she has become. However, to say that things didn't go as expected is putting it mildly. First, Riley knows about their son and second, her mother has passed away. After her initial shock, all Kat wants is to run back to Baltimore... especially after having sex with Riley and learning he has a fiancée.
However, this time, Riley is not about to let her disappear and nothing will stop him from getting to know his son and winning back Kat... not an obsessed ex-fiancée, nor Kat's doubts and fears nor her deranged father.
My Opinion: Ms Donovan is a hard author for me to categorize. She actually isn't an autobuy author for me and her books are hit and miss... However, for some reasons, as soon as I read the back blurb and the excerpt of this book... I was hooked. I wanted this book really badly.
In the end, I have mixed feelings about The Girl Most Like To... On one hand, I enjoyed it a lot. It was a quick read and kept me turning the pages. It wasn't as funny as I expected, but still, I was really engrossed. On the other hand, I have difficulty understanding some of the characters' actions.
Let's start with Kat and Riley. I really liked them as a couple and liked the glimpses we got of their past. They weren't just boyfriend/girlfriend as kids, but also best friends... I particularly like the flashback scene that we get of Kat escaping the chaos at home and climbing up Riley's window and joining him in his bed for comfort. There was something really innocent about them... Oh and their little ritual about who they love and their futures? Really, really cute. They really loved each other and have a real connection... That's why I could believe them falling into bed with each other less than 24 hours after meeting again. Seeing those little flashback scenes made me really sad to think that they waste 20 years apart from each other... seriously, what was Riley thinking?!?
Another thing that I liked about this book which sets it apart from all the other secret babies books (or most) is that the baby is 19-20 years old. I thought it was really nice that Aidan was a young adult instead of a teenager. It meant he was more mature and more independent. Sure, he was angry at Kat and I guess he had all the rights, but I think we were spared a lot of drama, teenage angst and sulking. Yes, he was angry at Kat and it's understandable... but at the same time, it was different :) So thumbs up for Ms Donovan for that move. By the way, the first contact and reunion scenes between Riley and Aidan were great :)
I think the book would have been better if it would have focused a bit more on Riley, Kat and Aidan. The whole obsessed ex-fiancée subplot, as well as the B & B owner who was after Riley's brother... and to some extent, Riley's problems with the clinic were all superfluous. In my opinion, if you are going to add conflicts to the book just to fill the pages and then, not focus on it or resolve it by simply snapping your fingers, then those conflicts are not worth it. So yeah, I would have liked the book to focus more on the main couple... and perhaps even on Kat and her father, Virgil. Virgil was the reason Kat was so unhappy as a child and I think there should have been a confrontation between the two. Or at least, a scene where Kat would learn Virgil's motives... Why he beat Kat's mother. It's not something happy or good and the knowlede would probably have made Kat sick; however, she would have known and understood. As it is, I don't feel like the whole issue with Virgil is resolved.
Now, onto some of the things the characters did and I don't understand...
1) How could Riley break up with Kat (even if it was only temporary) that way? "It's over, go home Kat." If the guy I loved and planned my future with told me that, without anymore explanation, my wolrd would shatter. The worst is that Riley only meant a temporary break-up so his father wouldn't pressure him anymore. How hard would it have been for Riley to explain everything to Kat correctly? They could have only pretended!! But no, the idiot only tells her those 5 words. Then, he blames Kat for leaving and never telling him he had a son....
2) Kat never explained to Riley or Aidan the sequence of events that made Kat leave that day. I mean, she didn't plan to leave or run away. She was forced, after a very difficult day. I think if she would have explained it to Riley and Aidan, they would have understand better where she stood. Why she did what she did.
3) Why did Kat repress so many memories? Also, what did she do as a living before getting rich?
All right, this is getting lenghtly. Obviously, this wasn't the perfect book. However, despite all my complaints, I really did enjoy the book. It had a good rythm, a good H/H and the story was good. I particularly like the twist at the end :) Fans of Ms Donovan, you should definitively give it a try :) By the way, this was better than Daisy is Back in Town by Rachel Gibson :P
My Grade: B.