Ever by Jessa Russo
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
BOOK ONE in The EVER Trilogy
Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.
Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.
Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.
Some girls lose their hearts to love.
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.
Actual rating: 0 star
What the .... did I just read.
It's been more than 48 hours since I finished with Ever, but I'm still contemplating what is the best way to write the review. One thing for sure, this is definitely the worst book I've ever read (worse than Fallen, who would've thought so!).
Urghhh...although I can write a very 'colourful' negative review, it doesn't mean that I like to write such review. More so now, when I myself directly involved in the creative process of publishing books as a beta reader. I hate it even more to write a negative review for a debut novel. But this, this is just intolerable.
Dear Curiosity Quill Press, I had a 'pleasure' of reading Wilde's Fire halfway and a pleasure of reading and occasionally skimming Fade and Ever. While I'm very grateful for your generosity for offering me to review those ARCs, here are a few things that I want you to take note because I do notice some 'unhealthy' patterns emerging in your books;
1. I think we had enough with Mary Sue heroines. It doesn't hurt to feature strong, independent female protagonists with more brain cells.
2. Stupid, and I mean stupid love triangle. Love triangle doesn't equal to 'it's okay for the girl to date/flirt/make out with two boys in such a short time frame.
3. Mysterious males with 'paranormal, mythical' true identity as the love interest.
4. Insta love/obsession/soul mate or whatever you feel like naming it.
5. Gross make out scenes EVERYWHERE in the book. I feel like stepping on land mines the whole time. I was just trying to get into the story and here we go again 'His lips covered mine' bullshit. Trust me, readers are not that stupid anymore to buy a book just to read the steamy, hot make out scenes because hey, there are a lot of post-Fifty Shades erotica books in the market! And trust me, the make out scenes in Fade and Ever are gross because the characters hardly know each other/they were best friends before! Real relationship needs development, people!
6. You are in dire need for unique, attractive book title. How do you know if that book title is not a good idea? Search that title on Goodreads and your book isn't among the top five hits.
7. On the plus side (hey, finally!) the cover for your books are quite decent. Keep up!
Okay, back to Ever. This is my pre-morning book (I like to wake up around 3-4 am to read. Pre-morning inspired by Sheldon Cooper's pre-evening definition because when I say early morning, people imagine 7-8 am), not my plane book, or my between classes book, or my 'I can't sleep so I'm reading' book. Which meant to say that this book had my full attention. I even read this during my stay in Port Agusta (such a lovely place!) which meant to say that I was in peaceful mood without any assignments plaguing my mind. And what did I get? An awful, awful experience. I even decided to get back to sleep because of the horror! And ended up having nightmares. And I had to try so hard not to let it ruin my mood the whole day for the sake of my travel buddies. True story bro.
Usually I do agree that reviews/ratings are subjective and whenever I hate a book, I would still recommend my other Goodreads friends to read that particular book just to know other people's point of view. But I don't dare to do that for Ever case because I don't want anyone else to undergo the emotional trauma that I had.
Okay, just to prove that I'm not exaggerating, I beg the author/the readers to read my summary of Ever. Granted, summarizing can take things out of context but I just don't care anymore at this point.
Frankie, Ever best friend had passed away for two years but strangely he (or his apparition) still lingers in Ever's house. Neither Ever nor Frankie know why Frankie's soul couldn't move on. Ever claimed Frankie is the first and the only guy she ever love in her lifetime. Ever's choice of best friend is interesting because Jessie changes boyfriend as often as I have to mow my damn lawn and she only wears pink. Not that I have a problem with that but wait until I describe Jessie's behaviour.
Ever (I don't know..complains? rants? mentions?) that she will never have an embarrassing make-out story-let alone sex because apparently she has given Frankie her heart all those years ago.
Enters Toby, the new guy on the block who moves into Frankie's old house. Ever's first thought '"Toby," I whispered. Yes. I liked the way that sounded, almost as much as I liked the way he looked. Wow."
Note that this quote came only a few pages after Ever said Frankie possessed her heart for years. Yawn.
(And I think Elenoar is a nice name. Why Ever thought it's an embarrassing name? Can someone bother to tell me why?)
That night, Ever went for a movie with Jessie. But she couldn't concentrate to the movie. Why you asked me? Because her attention, 'unfortunately' was on the hot guy next door! Even more imaginative than usual, her mind started making up all sorts of different things about him, and Ever found herself creating and playing out scenarios in my head about how the two of us would meet and what would come next.
Next page, Ever thought 'I didn't know why, but I found myself really wanting to touch him'
Toby came to approach her, asked her out, but she refused because she said she has a boyfriend.
Ever saw Frankie looked broken after her little conversation with Toby and she wondered why?
That night, Ever had a nightmare and she was calling Frankie's name. Of course, Frankie appeared on her bedroom but then he saw Ever was only in her underwear. "I watched his gaze slowly travel over me. He seemed captivated by my lack of clothing, and took his sweet time before meeting my gaze."
Oh, now the ghost is getting horny too.
The next morning, despite the rejection, Toby gave Ever her favourite flower, anemones. Of course Ever went nuts wondering 'How do he knows my favourite flower' and all that. Then, Ever thought 'only crazy person would allow herself to continue obsessing over someone long after he'd died. Sane people focus on things they actually can attain, like relationships with living people. Like Toby'
Note that this happened only the morning after Ever thought 'Was I imagining the heated look in his (Frankie's eyes because I wanted to see it there so badly?"
Back to Jessie, the first thing she asked regarding Ever's new neighbour was did Toby ask Ever out. Eheh. We could all use a friend like that, do we?
And here's Jessie's word of wisdom '...we are seventeen years old. We are supposed to be dating and having fun. Susan says - in one of the only bits of advice I'll even bother with - that we should be dating multiple guys at a time! Multiple."
Yay, and then we could all have multiple STDs. Hooray!
After numerous useless references to colour pink and legging, Ever encountered Toby again. And she wondered what brand of shampoo he used. Because Jessie with all her intelligence managed to set Ever on a 'date' with Toby in the name of 'showing him around', Ever stuck with Toby that very night. Toby even added that hopefully Ever's 'boyfriend'' won't mind.
A few blushes, tongue-tied moments with several thoughts back to Frankie, the date is over. The next morning, Ever was woken up by Frankie (Believe me, Frankie serves nothing except for Ever's personal alarm clock at this point) and Ever thought she wished she could hold Frankie and Frankie felt the same way too.
Moving on, someone knocked the door and Ever opened it. And it was Toby. What did Ever thought? 'I found myself blushing at the thought of what he might sleep in. Flannel pajama bottoms...boxers...nothing at all.'
Wow, Frankie just got totally friend-zoned by the horny Ever.
And oh, I forgot to mention that Toby came to invite Ever for their second date. At this point, I don't know what happened to the 'fake boyfriend' story anymore. Of course, Ever had her first kiss in only her second date. How romantic.
Next, Ever parents get all worked up by the fact that her seventeen years old daughter is dating a twenty-two years old guy. Hmm..I don't know. I thought this is normal? Except if that 22-years old guy is Ever's teacher?
After throwing a tantrum, Ever went back to her room to reply Jessie's 'OMG, EVER!' e-mail. Frankie appeared and asked where she'd been and she lied to Frankie. And I didn't understand why the lie is needed when Ever thought there's no hope between her and Frankie. Frankie sensed her lie and Ever got so defensive, it chased Frankie away. Of course, Frankie came back to comfort the crying Ever who at this very moment thought 'Frankie is her entire world'.
And I didn't really understand what happened next, between the pink toenails and Jessie's scream 'Toby!!! I won't let some guy ruins my vacation with my best friend!!!" And I thought Jessie was the one who set Ever up with Toby in the first place!
Next, Frankie was trying to talk Ever into not going out with Toby for 'a reason he couldn't tell' (of course) and Ever replied 'Get out of my way and stay out of my life. I can see whomever I choose.'
Remember last night when Ever thought Frankie is her entire world?
And I also didn't understand what happened next, between Frankie trying to calm the crying Ever again because Toby hasn't call her but Toby appeared next carrying Ever favorite flower and kissing her senseless.
Of course Toby didn't explain where he'd gone and of course Ever forgive him. A few small talks later, they kissed again. And kissed again. And kissed again.
But brace yourself because the next morning Ever admitted that she was simultaneously feeling that same strong pull toward Toby and Frankie. That Frankie whom she yelled at the day before.
And that very same day, Ever went out with Toby again. Seeing Ever, Toby kissed her again. Toby brought Ever's parents in his ride, quickly earning extra points for himself. Next, Ever and Toby started their real date on a ship. Next, they made out. At home, Frankie got upset because Ever went out with Toby.
Next, on that night, Ever had a nightmare. Her mom had to calm her down by rocking her in that way she always did when she was a little girl.
Okay, that basically what happened for the first 100 pages.
Next 100 pages.
Jessie's drama llama with her mom's boyfriend...Frankie told Ever not to go on a date with Toby again...she didn't listen because she wanted to be happy, she wanted to have a boyfriend (apparently happy and having a boyfriend is interchangeable in Ever's dictionary)...Jessie's family drama llama again...Ever and Jessie talk about Jessie's new boyfriend, Greg...Ever overheard Toby's confrontation with his 'dad'...Ever and Jessie's double date with Toby and Greg...Ever found out that Toby's ex is a psycho...Jessie's PDA with Greg...Ever and Toby kissed again once they got in the car...
Oh finally some plot!
Ever's dad got killed in a car accident!
Cue the tiny violin sound because our Ever is broken and depressed. Cue the heroic sound because of course, Toby came to the rescue. Ever cried and cried and got aroused. Aha! She even thought she didn't want to be responsible, she wanted to go all the way with Toby! She even thought she loves him! Honey, everyone loves their boyfriend when they get horny.
But Ever ruined that moment because she broke down and cried again! Classy. Toby accidentally spoke too much and now Ever demanded some answers. When he couldn't provide those, he dumped Ever! Minutes after they almost went all the way.
Ever punched Toby. He left, and of course, Frankie was there to comfort Ever.
Four miserable weeks, Ever longed for Toby. In the meantime, Ever's mom couldn't function anymore. To cheer Ever up, Jessie invited her to a party and introduced her to Scottie. And they made out too the very same night. Being Ever, of course she thought Toby was a better kisser.
To add to the awesomeness of the plot, Ever caught Toby making out with his ex, Ariadne. But suddenly, Toby got up and spoke for Ever when Scott asking Ever if she's okay. Ariadne introduced herself and of course Ever felt a pang of jealousy.
But oh! Later that night Toby came to apologize and guess what, they made out again! And hey, what do we have here. Ever's mom knocking on her door when they just about to do it.
And then Frankie and Ever fight again. And then Ever realized that she'd always loved Frankie.
The next morning, Ever went to Toby's house and caught him just wearing a towel. And guess what? Of course they made out again. Ever and Ariadne had a fight...Toby and Ever kissed...Jessie threw a surprise party for Ever's birthday...Toby and Ever kissed in Haunted Mansion...Ariadne showed up in Ever's house
...bringing her own surprise gift, Frankie in flesh not in a ghost form.
Finally, we got a plot development.
No, no, don't celebrate yet because what comes next was Ariadne kissed Frankie and Ever fainted at the sight.
When Ever woke up, Toby came clear that he was a soul collector (well, this is apparently the big secret), and Ariadne too. In fact, Ariadne brought Frankie back alive to trade him for Toby. Funny thing was, this meant that Frankie's soul belongs to Ariadne now. Ever got so mad, she threw up, she shooed Toby away.
As you may expect, Frankie came to console her and they relive they long lost love by having intercourse.
Note that this happened a few hours after Ever was Toby's girlfriend.
Well, I couldn't bother summarizing what happened afterwards until the end of the book because I'm very stressed out right now. I feel like puking and I'm losing my appetite. Summarizing Ever is like reliving my nightmare, so that's it. I got to stop now because it has taken toll on me.
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