People don’t get to choose who they fall in love with.
They only get to choose who they stay in love with.
Well if there’s one good thing I can say about Colleen Hoover at this point in my reading canon, there is something about the way she writes that allows me to finish her book in a day. There’s an ease in the way she tells a story, a manner that keeps my attention even when I don’t like what is going on. I can’t seem to look away, even when half the time I’m alternating between wanting to smacking and throttling the protagonists senseless.
INSTA-BLURB: Sydney is forced to leave the apartment she shares with her friend Tori upon discovering that she occasionally hits up her boyfriend, Hunter, for meaningless sex. Penniless, purseless and jobless, she finds herself squatting with Ridge, the cute musician from the apartment across who has convinced her to write lyrics for him as rent after he sees her singing along his impromptu balcony concerts. This of course leads to writing sessions that don’t really end up as writing sessions as Ridge and Sydney start to feel a forbidden attraction towards each other.
Basically, Maybe Someday is a 367-kindle pages guide on how to rationalize infidelity. How to justify falling for your writing partner while being in love with your girlfriend who, because this wouldn’t be a Hoover book if not, suffers from a deadly disease that will kill her before she reaches the age of 30.
It’s pages and pages of guilt, conflicting emotions, jealousy and guilt over being jealous. A lengthy introspection on love and hearts within hearts, and hearts being halved and a valiant attempt at trying to portray the concept of loving more than one person in a mature and dignified manner. It felt a lot like it was trying to sell me this product, pointing out the good and the bad, giving balanced perspectives through alternating POVs between Sydney and Ridge…
…only to draw the conclusion that the answer is in listening to one’s heartbeat.
I don’t know, it just ended up being too Hallmark treacly for me. Initially I was sold on the originality of choosing a deaf musician for a hero. I mean, who would rage on a guy who is simultaneously sweet, sensitive and hell bent on being faithful to his girlfriend? I was wary that his deafness opens an avenue ripe for emotional exploitation. Well this kind of did and did not. A lot of his and Sydney’s scenes together seem to be written around that particular detail and most of their tender moments used that as an emotional crutch, so to speak. So when the whole Maggie subplot was brought into the picture, it just got a little over the top, dramatic gimmickry for me.
And since I don’t know how to lead into this thought, I’m just going to come out and say it: I did not get the Maggie love. I’m a heartless monster, I know. But apart from Ridge, Warren and Sydney saying so, why again is she awesome? Atleast the emotional manipulation from Ridge’s character is subtle, Maggie was just too in-your-face for my tastes. To be clear, it’s not just the Nicholas Sparksing of Maggie that didn’t sit right with me, I felt she was poorly explored as a character outside of her and Ridge’s story, making it difficult for me to appreciate her distinctly from him.
There was so much angst going on, the book somehow forgot to illustrate the happiness any of these characters derive from each other. From where I stand, everyone would probably be better off single.
It feels a bit strange complaining about that in a Colleen Hoover book. Though it’s been a while since I last read an original story from her, I remember that she writes particularly endearing interludes between her protagonists. She has a knack for writing in charm in the banter between her leads and in her secondary characters that subtly compliments the heavy drama in her climactic scenes. I find myself missing Kiersten’s wit in all that Pine-Sol and Warrenisms.
Despite all of that, I would’ve still given this a 3-star rating.
Had it not been for Sydney.
Him: Do you sing in the shower?
I shake my head, confirming my initial suspicion. He’s a flirt. Of course he is, he’s a musician.
Me: I don’t know what kind of question that is, but if this is your attempt at flirting, I’ve got a boyfriend. Don’t waste your time.
That’s the exact point that I knew I am not going to be a fan of this girl. There’s a certain kind of presumptuousness from her that rubbed me wrong in that exchange. I have guy friends who’ve relayed anecdotes similar to this one and most of them ended with “I have a girlfriend too, I’m actually not hitting on you believe it or not.”
I’m supposed to like her better because she spends a great deal of time being morally conflicted with her feelings for Ridge and her experience with Hunter. But the way she phrases her thoughts in her POVs runs a whole roller coaster of annoying toANNOYING:
✔︎ I’m happy that he’s here. I’m pissed off that he’s here.
✔︎ Please, let it be Ridge. Please, don’t let it be Ridge.
✔︎ I’ve never felt about anyone or anything the way I feel about him.
✔︎ Oh, my God he looks incredible. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him on a stage.
✔︎ I love the fact that Hunter is about to turn around and witness Ridge looking like this. (i.e. Shirtless.)
It cheapens an already shallow character, one that fit so incongruously in a story that already struggles with keeping up the appearances of being a New Adult Contemporary Romance of depth.
Once upon a time I thought Slammed was the best book I’ve ever read.
I’ve read everything Colleen Hoover has written ever since, in the hopes that I can recapture that first read high. I can see her evolution as a writer. But I’m not quite sure I’m evolving in the same path with her anymore.
We both know where we want to be; we just don’t know how to get there.
Or when we should get there.