To Whom it May Concern, It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates. When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn’t plan to stumble into Joe’s bar and have Daniel’s music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss.
When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons. Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection. It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter. It was ours. And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels. -Ashlyn Jennings
This book came highly recommended to me by a fellow blogger friend, who talked me into buying it despite the fact that it isn’t a young adult novel. You’ve probably seen (if you follow my blog or have looked around at previous reviews) that I rarely review new adult novels…the reason being is that because of all the ones I’ve read, the majority of them just seem to be the same – writing that is flowery and fluffy, emotions that are supposed to invoke feelings but just make me roll my eyes…I don’t know, I just never found myself too enthralled with the genre.
I know, I know – I probably haven’t been reading the right NA authors, so I should probably keep looking for a gem in that sea of not so great books, and you’re right – there are some NA books on my list that I really want to read, despite being disappointed by so many others.
Now, let’s talk about Loving Mr. Daniels. The story wasn’t all that bad, but it left so much to be desired…honestly, it felt like a poor rip-off of the early episodes of Pretty Little Liars, only with more talk about sex and the main character’s large…assets. The size of her breasts were mentioned so often that I honestly had to put my Kindle down, stare up at the ceiling, and wonder why so much detail had to be put into that part of her. Yes, she has large breasts. Thank you, wonderful. Now let’s move on instead of constantly coming back to this part of her physique…because it adds absolutely nothing to the story.
Our main character, Ashlyn, has had a rough time dealing with the death of her twin sister. The two of them were inseparable, and now that Gabby is gone, Ashlyn feels as if she has been left all alone to face her death. Her mother has insisted that she go and live with her father, Henry, even though he hasn’t really been in her or Gabby’s lives for years. Feeling unwanted and hurt, Ashlyn hops on a train and heads to her father’s house – only to meet a stranger on a train, with whom she develops a deep connection.
When she settles in her father’s house (he lives with his…girlfriend, I think? and her two children, Hailey and Ryan), and meets up with Daniel, the guy she met at the train station, she starts to think that things in this new place might not be so bad…until she walks into her English class at her new school and realizes that he is her teacher. From there, things get complicated – sneaking around, dealing with chaos at home, and trying to sort out her feelings for everything, as well as the grief she still feels about her sister.
Daniel is also dealing with his own set of troubles – his brother, who was addicted to drugs and selling, has recently gotten out of prison, and returned to their parents’ home. Their mother was murdered a year prior, and their father recently died, so Daniel is dealing with a lot of grief…even before he realizes that while Ashlyn is nineteen and he is technically allowed to date her, she is is student, which means that he can’t.
There is definitely chemistry between the two characters, but it feels forced, and I cringed through a lot of their scenes together. Ashlyn is a very immature nineteen (and yes, I understand that she is grieving and feeling unwanted and confused), but I really couldn’t stand her whiny attitude. Also, it seemed like a character was smirking in this book every 2 pages. I even looked it up…I’m not that crazy – characters actually smirked 42 times in this novel. Yes. 42 smirks. That might not seem like that much, but that averages out to like someone smirking almost every 4 pages, which is a bit extreme if you ask me. Way too repetitious for my taste.
Also, there was a lot of stuff going in this book…so many different story lines and characters that at times it felt a bit packed in there. Parts of this book were actually kind of heartbreaking, and I really hated a certain scene about a certain character (the only one in the book I even liked)…I felt like crying at that point.
But no spoilers here.
Don’t let me be all negative here. There was some very beautiful writing, including quotes like this one:
“Our hearts would always beat for one another. Our souls were destined to burn together in a mystifying flame that lit the universe with hope and passion.”
Seriously. That’s the kind of love that fairy tales are made of, right?
But even though there was definitely something there…it just felt a bit forced and over dramatic. Ashlyn’s behaviors just made her look like a really immature fifteen year old spoiled brat in some places, but in other spots, I had to nod in approval and think that I would definitely want to be friends with this girl in real life.
“The rooms of the house started to become more packed, filling in as the night went on. I hated the smells, I hated the groping – I hated everything about this place. This was why I was the girl who lived in my books. The parties in the novels always seemed more entertaining.”
If you like the NA genre, this might be more up your alley. I kind of felt like it was overrated, and while I will definitely continue my search for a great NA novel that will captivate me and draw me into the genre, this one wasn’t even close.
Guest review contributed by Here’s to Happy Endings. Kelly focuses on young adult book reviews, with author interviews, giveaways, and memes such as Waiting on Wednesdays, as well as participating in blog tours. She enjoys working with authors to promote books!