Friday, July 22, 2016

Book Review: Been Here All Along

Release Date: August 30. 2016
Author: Sandy Hall
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Length: 240 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…



Characters: Wow there are a lot of characters in this book. Well actually, not a LOT, only four POVs, but since each chapter might switch between two or three POVs, it got a bit too much sometimes, but I'll talk about that in a while, first let me introduce you to the cast. First, we have Gideon, a very organized and highly intelligent individual, who' only claim to nerddom is a love for Lord of the Rings, and sooner or later he realizes that he's starting to have feelings for his best friend. That friend would be Kyle, a bisexual captain of the basketball team who's recently having a bit of trouble in school and if something doesn't change his future athletic career might be in jeopardy, and if that's not enough not long after coming out as bisexual to his girlfriend, she starts acting a bit weird.  The other two POVs are Kyle's girlfriend Ruby, who has some sub-plots of her own, but they're too tied up in the main story for me to talk about here, and Ezra, Gideon's older brother, who comes home after trying and failing to make it big as a surfer and finds a role to play in this story. Okay, I'm going to level with you guys, I wanted to like these characters, and it's not even that I dislike them, but they just didn't seem real to me. They weren't over the top or anything, or really even two-dimensional, it's just that I couldn't find myself caring about them. There were times when I felt something, but it never really lasted, which kind of made it worse since there was so much untapped potential.

Romance: I think it goes without saying that if I couldn't find myself caring about the characters that I couldn't really find myself caring about the romance. Again, it isn't even that the romance is bad, but the situation is a bit weird. With this being such a short book there wasn't a lot of time for things to be drawn out, but the way everything went down just feels a bit weird. This book definitely has pacing issues and the romance is one of them. I will say, though, that there are times in which Gideon and Kyle have some chemistry, and they are, during some parts kind of cute together, but if I compare it to most of the romances I've read, it just doesn't tug at my heartstrings as forcefully as the others.

World Building: This book is weird. Not in terms of plot per se, but in terms of how it's paced and formatted. Like I said before, I feel like there are not only too many narrators but with the POV switching at the very least once per chapter, even though there are prompts letting the reader know when the voice is switching, it can get confusing sometimes. Then there's the plot itself, it's not weird but it does feel very cliche. Minus the LGBT aspects, it almost feels as though this story is pulled out of a cheesy teen romcom movie. Then there's the writing. The writing was very bland. There was nothing about the writing that pulled me into the story. I've read cliche stories before, things that you'd see in cheesy movies, but as long as the writing is good it's easy to see past flaws like that, but everything in this book felt very clinical, I couldn't sense any real emotion behind the words, the author fails to paint a good picture of the scene and instead resort to naming off near useless facts and telling far more than showing.

Predictability: This book didn't really have any twists, I mean, there were things that I supposed were supposed to be twists, but given how cliche this book could be they were easy to see coming. The only time I wasn't really able to predict where this story was going to go wasn't because there was good foreshadowing or the author set it up, but more that it didn't go in line exactly with the cliche. For the most part this book just sort of flowed. It never really had any mysteries or unpredictability hidden in its depths.

Ending: I want to say this ending made up for everything, that it made me change my mind about things for the most part, but it didn't. In fact this ending kind of fits right alongside everything I've said about this book so far. It's cliche, it's easy to see where everything is going to end up and while towards the end there are a couple of moments that lightly pluck at my heartstrings, for the most part, as sad as I am to say it, I was just happy that this book was over.


I had such high hopes for this book when I wished for it on NetGalley and actually got it I was so stoked, but it soon became apparent that this story just isn't for me. It's too cliche, the writing doesn't do anything for me, and while the main couple is kind of cute together, there's just too much about this book that feels like a hot mess.


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