To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
I feel like there’s a sub category of YA contemporary that should be called YA melodrama. Usually, these are books that are guilty pleasures like Katy McGarry or Miranda Kennealy. Pretty much most of the plots in said books involve having a dual point of view with two teens who have problems that are usually only seen on daytime soap operas and they are only able to get through these issues through the power of love.
Yes, the plot can vary from book to book, but this is pretty much the standard fare for these sorts of books. They’re enjoyable but they’re formulaic and there are a lot of them out there. And I’ll admit it, on a rare occasion I crave these sorts of books.
They’re like bad fast food. You know it’s not going to be the best meal ever (in taste or in health purposes), but for those few minutes you’re eating it, it is enjoyable.
Abi Glines Field Party series was advertised at my local book store. Where I live is a pretty big football town (full disclosure, I don’t know shit about football) and they were advertising the series as a deal. I was interested in a gushy melodramatic romance so I purchased the lot of them.
Originally, I was planning on doing a back to back reading binge. But after the first book, I was like I need a break from this shit.
It wasn’t God awful-or least God awful in terms of the books that I read-but it was bad. First of all, I don’t feel like Glines did her research on selective mutism or hospice care. I don’t know how anyone would NOT know that West’s father had cancer. If he was as big of a deal as he was made out to be, surely someone would notice. Or at the very least if he was working a job, you’d think that his boss and fellow employees would notice when he went to get chemo or whatever.
What bothered me more than the handling of West’s disease was Maggie’s selective mutism. It was merely there to present Maggie and West with an obstacle. She’s able to talk again with no therapy and other than a quick info dump about what happened to her mom, we never really see how her death impacted Maggie.
I also did care one bit about the ship.
The first interaction between these two characters involves West forcing himself on Maggie. It’s just gross. And you might be saying, it was just a kiss, MJ.
It might’ve been just a kiss, but he still kissed her without her fucking consent, thinking she was mute and thinking she didn’t want to be kissed. It was fucking messed up, sick daddy or not. And it sort of made the relationship gross before it even beyond.
It probably also didn’t help the ship that West was extremely possessive and creepy throughout the entire damn book too.
I get it, possessive boyfriends in YA are an unfortunate main stay, but it really annoyed me how nonchalant West’s actions were. And yeah, there is a part of the book where Maggie tells him off for being a stalker, but it’s only for like five pages.
I think what really bothered me about the handling of all of this, was Maggie’s background. Her backstory had a lot of domestic violence involved, to the point where you would think that West’s actions would alarm her more than they did.
But it’s never really mentioned, or comparisons are never really made. Instead, West apologizes and they go on with things together even though you know they’ll inevitably blow up again and…
Yeah, I’m cynical about this sort of stuff. I’ve also seen it too much in real life, so that’s probably why I hated West/Maggie. And to be fair, I have seen way, way, worse ships in YA.
The sad thing is, I didn’t hate this though. I have read way worst things in YA and as far as rage inducing books go, it only caused my eye to twitch just a little. It should’ve made me a lot more angrier than I was, but at the end of it I was apathetic and just sort of shrugged. I just decided not to do a binge read because I think the twitch could develop into something a lot more dangerous for my sanity.
Anyway, if you can get by with the shitty relationship (which is debatable) this book isn’t outright terrible wast of time, but if you have something better on your shelf read that first.
Overall Rating: A C.