Review: The Edge of Never



By J.A. Redmerski
Published on November 15, 2012
Published by Createspace

Source: epub from author/blog tour
Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?
Alright, contemporary YA/"New Adult" romances, I think I'm breaking up with you.  I think I mean it this time, I really do.  I keep wanting to read these books hoping to get swept away by a love story, and instead I just get angrier and angrier the whole time I'm reading.  I think it's time for me to accept that I'm not the target demographic for these books and to just move on.

That said, here, in list form (because I am pretty out of it on cold meds right now, woo flu season), here are some of my feelings about this book.

Yay:


  • For better or worse, parts of me really identified with Camryn.  I too am a pretty outwardly straight-laced lady, at least, until you get to know me, and, believe me, I can identify with that desire to say screw it to your life, and just pack a bag and go somewhere at random.  It's an urge I've always had, to just disconnect and get away from it all.  
  • I was glad that Cam decided to follow her spontaneous plan out and do what felt right for her.  I read a book years ago with a similar plot - woman experiences bad stuff in life, picks up and moves to new city to get away, falls in love with a new guy, etc. - only at the end of that book, the woman decided to go back to her small town life after all.  I never understood that ending, so to see Cam stick it out and go with her heart made me feel good, even if her plans aren't realistic in the slightest.
  • For the most part, I did like Andrew, even if he was too perfect in some ways: he's gorgeous! he loves good music and classic cars! he has neat tattoos! he was a former model! he sings and plays guitar! Oh, he has his faults, which are many (#1, the habit of erupting into violence or threatening violence, no, sorry, that is not someone who I want to be with) but he seems like a moderately cool guy.
  • I have spent a ton of time on buses, waiting around at shady bus stops in various nooks and crannies of the country, and I think the author really captured the sort of soul-sucking weariness that happens when you've been on a bus for ages, or are trapped at a really creepy bus depot.
  • I did like the fact that they didn't just instantly fall in love. (Or, at least, didn't instantly profess said love.)  Cam thought Andrew was hot, but annoying, and took a while to warm up to him. I thought the build up to their relationship was realistic, and while it happened fast, you try spending days and days trapped in a small space with one other person who you're totally attracted to and see what happens.
  • There are some steamy scenes and they are fan-yourself-get-a-glass-of-cold-water level steamy.  They are also much more graphic than I had expected from something being marketed as New Adult.
Just, ugh, no:
  • Rape, or the threat of it, as a plot device.  Stop it.  Also, using the word rape to describe anything other than the act itself. You were not "raped by a crazy-jealous reaction", Andrew Parrish, shut your mouth.
  • Also, characters describing themselves as OCD when they are not actually OCD and instead just like things neat.  Stop that, too.  
  • Is this badly repackaged Twilight fan fiction, with the older potentially dangerous male character and the younger blank-slate female character?  That's all I could think the whole time.
  • And Cam is such a blank slate. Until she starts opening up to Andrew, I literally had no idea who she was or what she was planning on doing with her life.  All I knew was that she was 20 and lived with her mom and otherwise seemed pretty aimless.  I knew her backstory but I didn't know her. I have no idea what she likes other than pop music and health food.  
  • The whole trope of "younger female needs big strong bad-boy type to show her the ways of the world and open up her mind". (Story I would like to read instead: young woman escapes the woe of her past by going on a long, aimless trip; meets interesting people and experiences interesting things along the way; does not fall in twu wuv with anyone and still comes out a better person.)
  • I have a few choice words for the epilogue, which undermined the entire point of the book.  I don't want to give it away, but seriously, it takes Cam and Andrew's plans for living life in the moment and being spontaneous and whatever and just chews them up and spits them out and all of the characters are happy about it.  No.
  • The book is SO judgmental about women who have one night stands, casual sex, lots of sex, etc., without being the same way about men. Several women are called sluts, including Cam thinking that of an older woman who is eyeing up Andrew. Like, she just looks at him and Cam thinks that about her.  So it's okay for Cam to spend the whole book eyeing him up, but not anyone else? Look, I understand that this is a Thing in the real world that women are judged on, but I wish it wasn't like that and I don't like seeing that in my fiction.  
Look, I am accepting that I am not the target audience for this book.  Lots of people love it.  It's on the NYT best-sellers list for e-fiction, it has a gazillion stars on Goodreads and Amazon and stuff.  To read reviews from people who aren't curmudgeons like yours truly, try here, or here, or here.  This book just wasn't for me, but don't let that stop you.

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