It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything
You know what I hate about being a lawyer, the fact that I can’t watch Law and Order or any other lawyer-ish show and call foul anytime something isn’t factually correct. The thing is, I give the shows a lot of leeway. For the most part, they actually try to do research about the legal issues they’re presenting.
I don’t think Kelly Oram did that all with Cinder and Ella or she probably didn’t care. But it really annoys me.
Before I go into particulars, I am going to give a bit of a disclaimer. Going into this I was sort of weary. My first appearance with Oram was DNF-ville with that terrible superhero book of hers where parents pushed their daughter to be with an annoying stalker. Everyone was awful in that book.
It shouldn’t surprise me then, that everyone was an asshole in Cinder and Ella as well.
Strike two against the book.
And what about strike three? I already mentioned the legal and factual inaccurcies, the horrible characters, oh and did I mention unnecessary melodrama that relates back to items two and three.
Do I have anything nice to say before I get my Book Hulk on? Well, Oram tried with this one. I liked the fact we had a diverse character, who was prickly, and who wasn’t stereotypically pretty. But everything sort of fell apart that aside.
For the rest of the review I’m going to divide it into three categories: 1) Legal/Factual Issues, 2) Assholes, and 3) Melodrama. I think by doing this I can sort of sort out my feelings without having my head explode and make sense of what’s going to be some rather rambily rants. Because guys, this book kept me up all last night because I was raging.
1) Legal/Factual Issues: In Other Words Orum Contributes to a Lawyer’s Bad Mood
I think this will be a me category more than the other categories on here, but it really annoys me when non-lawyer authors don’t even do the barest amount of research one legal issues like getting someone declared freaking incompetent.
Or about the American Disabilities Act.
A couple of Google searches would’ve told them all they needed to know.
Yes, I said Google. Because while she needed to do some research, it isn’t like she needs to read case law, but if you just Google celebrities who were declared incompetent you’ll find that it’s a difficult thing to do. Having one suicide attempt way back in the past probably isn’t going to be enough, especially if the character doesn’t try to harm themselves since and has fairly rationale goals and views on life-i.e. she just wants to go to college. However, apparently not figuring out the exact dormitory you’re going to live in equals unstable according to her not so wonderful shrink.
Just like with declaring someone incompetent, it’s extremely difficult to have someone committed. You’re only going to be committed, generally speaking when you’re an imminent threat to yourself or others and that did not happen here. Yet, the main character is constantly threatened by her own shrink about going to a mental institute all because she doesn’t want to be a super extrovert and make friends.
Because heaven forbid someone likes to have alone time and reading a fucking book.
That equals unstable you know. I’ll tell you what’s unstable me after reading this book.
I should mention said shrink threatened her after a traumatizing event that was no way her own fault.
Yes, I’d be a little depressed after someone fucking tore a skin graft and treated me like a monster in home room too. I probably wouldn’t want to go to prom either.
I guess I”m sort of overlapping into areas two and three now.
But I just want to say if that was my shrink I’d call her an asshole then ask for a second opinion before reporting her to the freaking ethics committees.
Now, I’m not a shrink, but threatening a patient like that doesn’t ring like good idea to me. Especially when said patient just experienced trauma. And you’re yelling at them because they didn’t join the pom squad.
Then there’s the whole part about how the character should be sent to a special school just because she has a limp and some scarring.
Ever heard of the ADA, Oram? I’m even linking it here because I found this part just appalling. And she has scars. So freaking what. This is the twenty-first century most of us who have a some sense of compassion and maturity do not make fun of a person because they have a physical disability. Sure, there are some assholes out there, but the majority of people aren’t like that. Or if they are they aren’t so openly cruel about it.
Seriously, you think a school administrator already threatened by a litigious lawyer parent would not even open his asshole mouth about that.
But since they’re all asshole (which is an obvious hook to point number too) well….
2) Assholes: Because Everyone in this Book was a Cast Member of Spaceballs
Yes, they’re all assholes even are lead who I feel sympathy for. But she’s still an asshole too.
Though she has a reason to be an asshole unlike everyone else.
To be honest, it just felt unrealistic. And reminded me why I didn’t like the Jaime Baker series because Oram can’t create character that have a shred of decency or that aren’t borderline creepy for the life of her.
Okay, maybe the nurses and doctors who were bit roles acted like normal people, but that was probably because I didn’t know them.
Everyone. And I mean, everyone was douche like in this book. And unsympathetic. Don’t believe me let’s go down the list:
Ella: Has a chip on her shoulder, though it’s understandable. But sometimes I just wanted to shake her.
Brian: Ha! Ha! Ha! Weak, weak, weak. No backbone there. Seriously, allowing himself to be blackmailed like that (shudders). Makes him a stupid asshole.
Ella’s Father: Dick. Who doesn’t even try to listen to his daughter. And doesn’t even consult her before he cleans out her dead mother’s apartment. And if my father threw out my books….well….
Stepmom: Bitch who actually tells stepdaughter how bad she looks and suggests plastic surgery and doesn’t understand how that upsets her.
Stepsister 1: Well, no one would be surprised that her mother is Lilith (see above).
Stepsister 2: Spineless
Stepsister’s Boytoy: Evil incarnate
Psychiatrist: Sadistic quack. Who needs to have license revoked ASAP.
Principal: A lawyer’s worst nightmare who lacks any sort of sensitivity.
Ella’s Dead Mother: A personification of offensive culture cliches.
Do I need to be continue?
To be fair, some characters, like the dead mother, personalities weren’t the cause of their a-holeness. It’s not their thought they’re depicted in such a 1D way. But as for Ella’s family and quack of a shrink.
They can all stuff it.
3) Melodrama: Duh, they’re Teenagers
The melodrama in this one was overdone and obviously unrealistic. However, unlike some books where I can just deal with it. I couldn’t here. So many of the situations could’ve been avoided. Don’t believe me, I’m going to play let’s solve everyone’s problem in a short paragraph or less:
1) Ella being forced with her dad because she’s declared incompetent and now has to please him and that quack of a shrink:
Answer: Get a new shrink and find an attorney that can represent you. Yes, expensive. But there are ways to work around it (aka legal aid). Grant it, you’re not going to probably get the best of the best, but it still could work given the situation. Plus, if you have access to funds after you’re declared competent problem solved. Or if you had access to funds before being declared incompetent (which I’m assuming you did) you could’ve been declared competent that way. Honestly, based on the sketchy details that we had I had a hard time buying this situation.
2) Ella’s father saying how she’s not social:
Answer: Treat her like a human being and tell your stepdaughters and wife to act like a decent human being. Also, realize that she’s probably not going to like you because you skipped out on like more than half of her life.
3) Brian being forced to be engaged with Kaylee because she’s blackmailing him.
Answer: Call Perez Hilton or TMZ and expose her. Trust me, if you’re that big of a teen idol you’ll still get roles. Hollywood is always looking for a good sob story and to villainize someone. Problem solved.
4) Someone treating you like a dick in school.
Answer: Confront them. And press charges when they rip your skin graft. I’m sorry, but I had no sympathy for that asshole and did not like or approve how the main character was willing to give him a break because he was young. He assaulted her. She might need surgery. It was uncalled for, and I HATE it when the author has the character be like I’ll give him a second chance. No. No. No. No. No.
5) When a school suggests you might be better off with your “own kind” (other people with disabilities).
Logic: Threaten to lawyer up and sue the bastards. Or at least get the media on their asses. Once again, they’d totally back your back because sob story.
I DNF’d pretty much after that when it was suggested that the main character go to a mental institute because she wasn’t joining any extracurricular and being social.
I’m sorry, not joining after school basket weaving does not mean you need to be institutionalized. This book just put me in so much rage that I couldn’t sleep the night after I read it. It was actually an interesting idea. I looked forward to getting in some gooey sappy cheese with a heroine who had disabilities. You know, if done right it could’ve been good. If Oram was so insistent about giving the father control of everything, she should’ve just kept the main character seventeen. It would’ve been easier and annoyed me less. And I really wish I could get a fictional character’s therapist license revoked because that shrink….
Overall Rating: DNF. But even though I despised you book, at least you gave me an emotional and memorable reaction. That’s something, right?