The Blurb Reads
Anjaline Rodriguez thinks that mountain boy Gabriel Walker is a snob, even though she can’t stop thinking about his fathomless eyes. Could he just be shy? Damian Vega could be trouble, but bad boys are hard to resist, especially when the good one seems like a judgmental know-it-all.
She thought her world had ended when her stepfather’s job ripped her away from her friends and her dream of attending the prestigious Cotopaxi Academy back home in Quito, Ecuador. Anjaline goes from a tropical, densely populated Latin American city to a cold, drizzly Canadian village populated by three small families, complete with major culture shock. On top of being stuck in the middle of nowhere, she has no clue how to deal with two attractive boys.
Gabriel thinks the exotic Latina is too spoiled. He’s never figured out how to talk to pretty girls anyway, and can’t get rid of that stutter when he’s nervous. It’s practically love at first sight. Gabriel knows he needs to tell her how he feels, but while he’s gathering his courage, Damian may just spoil everything. Will Anjaline return Gabriel’s feelings in time or will tragedy tear them apart before she has the chance?
The author’s name confused me a little when I saw the mail for the blog tour. I realized I was confusing Amy with Jamie McGuire whose Facebook page I’ve liked.
So back to the point. I picked up my first YA novel for the year. And it seemed exciting. Girl from Quito moves to a remote village in Canada (When I first started reading it reminded me of Sitka, the place where Sandra Bullock goes in the Proposal. And that was a really great movie. So I decided it was worth a try)
Angeline is a fiery teenager who is innocent and loves to make bonds that run deep. Gabriel is a shy introvert who falls for Angeline’s exotic beauty when he first sees her. Two different personalities, how do they come together? And once they are together, will there be a romance in Hope Valley? Will they be able to weather all the storms that come their way? What about Damien? The dark horse who threatens to disrupt everything? Or Evelyn, whose jealousy for Angeline can spoil her relationship with her brother?
It was exciting premise. And who doesn’t remember the sweetness of first love. On that count I liked the book. But there were so many things that weighed against it and compared to the sweet moments of Gabe and Angeline’s relationship, I ended up feeling like I’d watched a movie marathon not remembering anything clearly.
Here are my HITS!
1. A strong female protagonist with a strong start. Having your life uprooted is never easy and I was so excited to see how Angeline managed that.
2. Those moments when Amy explores their relationship and how they manage to find space for each other to lose their hearts, that was endearing
3. I loved that Amy put up photos of Hope Valley just for people to imagine how it would look like. A visual matters so much and this point was a major win for me.
4. There were small moments when a gesture from Gabe or Angeline touched my heart. I loved that sweet simplicity. We keep wondering and wishing for glitzy love. Some thing we see or read in the papers. But those small things count. And they touch more. Deeper!
Now my MISSES
1. Too many secondary characters getting too much space. I would have loved some more focus on Angeline and Gabe.
2. The book seems to have NO pace at all
I kept looking at the page numbers again and again and again. Not Good!
3. Inconsistencies in the characters and scenes and dialogs. A beta reader would have pointed them out, or even an editor would have.
4. The length. I felt the book was too long for a story that just didn’t seem to move.
5. I rely a lot on emotions the book evokes in me and this book, in a large way simply frustrated me. I wanted fewer thoughts, more dialogue and something to draw me in and touch me. The twists made me feel even more like I just wanted it to end.
6. Damien. The author introduced a villain of sorts in the book without exploring his psychological angle properly and then eliminated him. It sort of felt like characters were just there in the book, mere shadows. Who you couldn’t connect with, love or appreciate.
Gabe!! Why you ask? Why did the hero turn me off? I was never drawn into his thoughts or what he felt. Gabe felt like a misfit. His relationship with ANYONE in the book was not explored and yes he did whine too much for my liking. Maybe this is a YA but somehow Gabe was the Achilles heel of this book. It did nothing at all reading about anything happening to and with him. Nothing.
I’m currently reading the sequel and I have my theory about which way the book is going to go. And I really hope it doesn’t. I’ve come to love the secondary characters in the sequel. The lead pair still for me, lack a serious punch.
My rating: 2/5
It has been so so long since I rated a book this low. Really. And I didn’t want to. But writing the review sort of brings out the reasons why I precisely didn’t like the book. If the romance can’t draw me in, you’ve lost me there. And if a secondary character interests me more, that defect is too serious to miss.
I’m so so on recommending this too. I think if you found something better definitely go for it.