ARC: Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

Commentary:

Perhaps, I am getting older because it is hard for me to find a good contemporary YA book that pleases me in this day and age. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert was a choice. The synopsis was intriguing, the plot did seem something out of the CW, so I took a chance on the book. I did receive Finding Yvonne in Yallwest, but opinions are all my own. So, this is a unpopular opinion. Considering the reviews I have seen for the book, there aren’t much negative reviews. This book was an experience, and I was left shaking my head due to certain events that played out. That being said, this will be a rant review with spoilers.
Starting on a positive note, I did enjoy how Yvonne was unapologetic about herself and her sexuality. I have no issues with a character’s sexuality. Yvonne was confident about her body and her choices. That being said, she made a lot of questionable decisions. I will say that the pregnancy aspect of the book did not play a major role as I had anticipated. The pregnancy revelation was placed near the last third of the book. The synopsis presents a story of how a pregnant Yvonne has to chose the right path due to her circumstances…but, the reality was not the case.
It is hard for me to comprehend the actions of Yvonne, especially when it came to her relationships. So, Yvonne was seeing her father’s sous chef, Warren, but it was not an exclusive relationship. The relationship between Warren and Yvonne was secretive because of the age difference between the two. Warren was protective of Yvonne, and did not want to be sexually engaged with her until she was officially 18. It seemed like Yvonne wanted her relationship with Warren to move at a faster pace. I felt myself siding with Warren because she was underage. Though the age difference was not extreme, it seemed that Yvonne disregarded it for the sake of love. I rolled my eyes…but this was not as bad as The Beau and The Belle by R.S. Grey, a book that I had several issues with…
Yvonne was happy in her relationship despite not being official. When she and Warren hang out in Venice Beach, she finds herself completely and utterly drawn by a street musician named Omar. Despite being in a complicated relationship with Warren, she falls completely head over heels for Omar. A major issue I had with this book was the cheating aspect. Yvonne does get into a major fight with Warren because he chose to work on her birthday, and she reacts by destroying the birthday cake that Warren bought her. Yvonne also seeks out Omar, and considers hanging out with him…DESPITE NOT KNOWING THE GUY!
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The story tried to establish a love triangle, but it was lame. I felt uncomfortable with how Yvonne was seeing Omar, while she had her fight with Warren. Yvonne lies about her relationship status to both men. Instead of being rational and calling her relationship off with Warren, she peruses each man. I fully did not trust Omar, he seemed a bit shady…but instead of getting to know Omar, she has sex with him on her first official date with him. It does not help that she continues seeing Warren, and has sex with him a week after she has had sex with Omar. I assumed that she was going to get pregnant by Omar, but I was surprised. As mentioned previously, her pregnancy does not play a major role in this book. NOR WILL YOU FIND OUT WHO THE REAL FATHER IS!
Literally, this book was about Finding Yvonne, and how she was going to deal with her relationships, ambitions, and career choices. I was not the biggest fan of Yvonne because she did have several immature moments. In my opinion, she manipulated both guys. I knew Omar was shady, which did end up being true. Yvonne goes through minimal growth. It seems that she is used to getting praises all the time. For example, growing up she received praises for her violin skills, and then as a teen, she thrived off praises for her baking skills. I really wanted Yvonne to be an awesome character. The only character that I liked by far was her best friend Sabine. Sabine was looking out for her friend, and even warned Yvonne that she could be potentially used. Sabine was supportive, and dealt with Yvonne’s unnecessary drama and antics. Kudos to Sabine for being the true MVP of this book.
Final Rating: ⭐⭐
Publication Date: August 7th 2018

DNF: The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice

Here are three things to know about Maia:

1. Ever since her mother left, Maia’s struggled with depression — which once got so bad, she had to go to an institution for a while. She doesn’t want to go back.

2. Maia’s sure that if she finds her mother, if the two of them can talk about whale songs and constellations, then everything will be okay again.

3. She’s in love with Billy, the handsome, brooding boy who lives in the group home in town. He doesn’t seem to know that Maia exists… until now.

When Maia sets off on a road trip in search of her mom, Billy unexpectedly comes along. They drive up the East Coast, stopping along the way for lobster rolls and lighthouses. Maia learns that Billy has dark secrets of his own — and wants to outrun his past, too. But what will the future hold if they reach their destination?

From internationally bestselling author Luanne Rice, this is a sweeping, stunning story about the surprising directions our hearts can take.

When I picked up The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice, I was totally judging the book by the cover. I had a feeling that I would not like the book, but I gave it a chance. You can’t judge every book based on the cover, no matter how cheesy the book looks. My gut was right, I did not like the book. I am baffled. Honestly baffled because The Beautiful Lost has positive reviews on Goodreads. I guess my review will be controversial because I haven’t seen any negative reviews for this book.

What I liked about the book is that it did a good job at portraying abandonment issues that both Maia and Billy faced. That’s about it. What killed the book experience for me was the way depression was handled. Honestly hated how Maia would say her depression was gone because of her love interest Billy. I couldn’t believe what I had read. Nope, nope, nope. I had to put my book down, there’s no way that I can continue to read The Beautiful Lost. I don’t even want to know how the book ended. I tried reading it, but it was frustrating. Besides the story being cheesy, the romance was very instantaneous.

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Maia is a girl who has depression and even though her father and step-mother try to help her with her depression, she only blames her new step-mother. Maia misses her mother, and may I add that Maia’s mother only contacts her daughter by snail mail. The book is set in the present. The mom doesn’t reach out to her daughter. Maia’s mother left her family, and has left Maia with an emptiness in her heart. Maia desperately wants her mother back. She runs away from home in order to be with her mother. This aspect of the story I loved, but the romance was such a buzzkill for me.

I hated how there had to be a love interest. Couldn’t Billy just be a really good friend to Maia? The love interest that wasn’t fully developed even though they had a whole road trip to connect and learn about each other. I would have loved a greater emphasis on Maia’s issues and her growth as a person rather than force the reader to enjoy a contemporary love story. I tried to sympathize with Maia, but I am not on board with her romance. Now you may be wondering why I am against this story’s romance.  How did they even get together, you might be wondering. Well, Maia has never really talked to Billy at school. Billy is the mysterious teen attending the same school as Maia. Maia is completely head over heels in love with Billy. When Maia runs away, she stops in front of Billy’s residence. And what does he do? Billy runs away with her even though he doesn’t know her either! That’s a bit weird for me. I see Billy as a stranger because they aren’t even friends. How the heck are you going to let a stranger be with you on a trip? How? I get that Billy is Maia’s crush, but it feels gross for me .The story could have at least focused on some type of friendly relationship between Maia and Billy prior to the road trip. There is no established acquaintanceship between Maia and Billy, and both characters decide to take a trip together. Yeah, no thanks. Will I give The Beautiful Lost another chance? No.


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Final Rating: ⭐️