My Favorite Mistake
I sometimes feel like I can describe the plot of all New Adult novels to you in one paragraph. Tattooed bad boy meets virginal college girl. There is sexual tension during all of their highly contrived run-ins but each of their troubled pasts keep them apart. Their otherwise pointless friends push them together until they give in, do the deed, and decide to be together forever. The end. There, now I have saved you from reading this terribly written, derivative book. You’re welcome.
I wish I were exaggerating in that description of the New Adult genre, but I’m really not. Granted, some of the books handle this very clichéd plot better than others. While I personally despised Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and True by Erin McCarthy, I enjoyed both of Cora Carmack’s books. Sadly, My Favorite Mistake begins so much like Beautiful Disaster that there was no real hope for it.
The award for the least likeable female lead in a book I’ve read this year goes to Taylor. She is bratty, rude, and constantly insults people. How such an unpleasant person manages to have friends at all is beyond me. The first time she meets Hunter she punches him with pretty much no provocation. Cameron tries to play it off like this is some sign that she’s a tough chick who takes care of herself, but really she is just awful. Of course, she’s a virgin who has pretty much never had a boyfriend or any sexual involvement with anyone. Her cold, obnoxious personality is supposed to be explained by an incident that happened in her past, an incident that the author takes probably 300 pages to reveal. So we get the majority of the book listening to Taylor attack Hunter for no good reason.
Meet Hunter, the bad boy who talks only in sexual innuendos yet never manages to be sexy. Despite Taylor constantly insulting him, I never really saw what was supposed to be wrong with Hunter. He comes off kind of obnoxious with all the poorly written double entendres, but other than that he’s an okay guy. Well, actually he’s a tremendous guy in most ways. He’s a super genius who never studies, he can cook like a world-class chef, knows how to play virtually any song every written on the guitar by command, sings like an angel, gives multiple orgasms, and is filthy rich. Yet, in spite of all these characteristics, he still isn’t impressive or interesting as a romantic lead. I felt like the author was trying too hard to make us like him. Don’t even get me started on his song writing. I am not a big fan of song lyrics being thrown into a book, but if it is a couple lines from a popular song I can forgive it. When there are whole pages of original song writing from the author, it makes me cringe. Cameron may have not realized that the reader has no clue what the melody to the song is and thus and whole page of a song reads like awkward, elementary school poetry.
The premise, oh my, the premise. This may be the most unlikely set up for a romance I have ever encountered in a contemporary romance. Basically, Hunter is assigned to be the fourth roommate to Taylor and her two female friends and actually has to share a room with Taylor. I do not think there is a university out there that permits housing that randomly assigns guys and girls to sleep a few feet apart and then specifically denies the girl’s request to change because the guy hasn’t sexually harassed her. Seriously, there has to have been some better method of having these two around each other that Cameron could’ve come up with if she had thought about it for more than a minute. Also, Hunter agrees to leave if Taylor can either convince him that she loves or hates him. What? What does that have to do with anything? Taylor actually takes him up on this offer like it is somehow a legitimate agreement between two people rather than blathering nonsense to set up the love/hate relationship.
The only thing that actually keeps these two apart is each of their big secrets. These secrets are so big and so secretive, that they need to be mentioned constantly. Seriously, they’re secrets and they’re big, and they can’t be revealed until you’ve trudged your way through hundreds and hundreds of pages about cooking meals and hanging out with friends. By the time Cameron finally got around to the big reveal, I hated both characters so much I could not have cared less what happened to them.
As with all New Adult books, our leads have to have a couple totally pointless friends and roommates hanging around to drink who will constantly say how the two main characters should end up together. Taylor’s friends were so forgettable that I couldn’t even tell you their names. They were void of any definable traits or character development. The only purpose of having them around was to frequently state how Taylor should date Hunter, to give sex advice, and to do stupid things like buy sombreros for the taco dinner Hunter is fixing.
While I could probably go on for ten more paragraphs about the things I couldn’t stand about this book (the terrible nicknames, confusing storylines, uneven characterization, consistently poor writing), I’ll mention one last pet peeve. While I am someone who uses really salty language in day-to-day life, and have no problem with it in TV or movies, there was too much in this book. I think that, if an author is going to have a character swear, they are making a really deliberate choice. Cuss words just have so much more of an impact in writing. Cameron’s characters swear constantly, as if she as just trying to force the idea that they’re college kids. While it may be realistic speech, it reads awkwardly. Plus, when they weren’t swearing, the dialogue is really silly. They dichotomy didn’t work. When your character drops the f-bomb constantly but also says “making whoopee”, “man parts”, “down there”, and even made up words like “gi-huge-ic”, they sound like an idiot.
The version I read, that has just been rereleased, is considered to be a revised version of the original book that was released in 2012. This one was so terrible I would hate to experience what it was like before revisions. If you are interested in the New Adult genre, I would recommend trying Losing It or Faking It by Cora Carmack. Just avoid this book. It is so not worth the time.