Hope For Her is the first book in Sydney Aaliyah Michelle's new Hope series. I honestly don't even know where to begin this review. I was originally drawn in by the blurb. I expected this one to be tough at times, and I really think that Sydney Aaliyah Michelle was able to take on some really tough issues with this story. This book will absolutely be hard for some to read, and features some very adult topics that even some adults will struggle with. As much as I wanted to love this story though and appreciate it for the journey that it is, I just had too many things that held me back.
After his latest screw up Joshua Elijah Griffin IV, he arrives at FSU where he joins his best friend Jackson at the fraternity that they both belong to. He ends up seeing a girl one day and misses the opportunity to talk to her, but vows that the next time he will make sure that they meet. When he sees her again, they begin a volatile relationship that has many ups and downs. Carrington Olivia Butler is everything that Joshua's family doesn't approve of, but Josh can't stay away from her. As Carrington and Joshua grow closer, his demons begin to return and things get harder for them than ever before. But Carrington and Joshua aren't ready to give up on their relationship despite all the problems that they encounter. However just because they want things to work out doesn't mean that it will or that things will get any easier.
I honestly struggled with these characters. Joshua makes you want to root for him, but somehow I was just never able to fully connect with him. He had a horrible family that were not only snobs, but also allowed a lot of really awful things to happen right in front of their faces. They simply turned the other cheek and it really drove me crazy. Josh did that so many times with their treatment of Carrington that it really pissed me off. Not only that, but Josh ran extremely hot and cold and never seemed to really support Carrington in the way she needed. He was weak and wouldn't let her in, he never opened up to her and would get really mad at her and make assumptions if anyone in his life let her in on any of the many secrets he kept from her. Carrington was wishy washy, and it really drove me nuts. At first she is interested in both Josh and his friend Jackson, but then when she happens to come across Josh at a party first she decides to go for him. She allowed him to treat her in a way that made me sad for her and women all over. He did something unforgivable, and yet they never even discuss it. They end up having sex and all is forgotten. I just couldn't ever fully get behind their relationship even though I badly wanted them to figure things out and get on the right track. I think that they definitely had their steamy moments, but I was missing that emotional connection to go with it.
I didn't care for the way that Jackson was brought into this story at convenient times and then forgotten at others. It seemed like he only showed up when drama was needed or when he served a purpose, and the rest of the time his absence was noticeable. For someone who was a love interest at first, it seemed odd that he would just disappear for a large portion of the story only to reappear later on. Then when he does reappear, Carrington is suddenly forgetting about Josh and basically mentally cheating on Josh with everything she wishes were happening with Jackson. I wanted her to make a choice one way or another. Another problem I had was that there were a lot of things that Carrington never found out, the biggest being about everything that Joshua did when he would relapse and return to the drugs. It was sad, and I hated how it was a complete non-issue. I kind of wondered why we even got to see that at all if it wasn't going to come out. The whole time you are hoping that Joshua will turn things around, and it was just hard to see him fall further and further as the story progressed. I will admit that my biggest problem with this story though was the way things played out at the end. I honestly can't say what happened without spoiling a huge part of this book, but I really felt sort of betrayed when it was all said and done. I can't really say why I felt that way because of what happens, but as a reader reading a NA romance story I just didn't feel like the ending of this book did these characters justice. By that I mean all of the characters. The other thing that really bothered me as a reader were the inconsistencies in the story. As an ARC reader, you expect for there to be editing issues still to be dealt with and some misspellings or grammar mistakes. But what I am talking about are huge differences such as the constant mixing up of characters names, the fact that a character's name is never introduced then randomly appears in a sentence. Then in the next sentence that random new character already has a shortened version of the name and is turned into a character so familiar that they have a nickname? I think that this story had a ton of potential, but I really think that this book just needed a lot of work. It needed an editor in the worst way and someone to go through and point out where all the inconsistencies were and fix them. They were more than just simple mistakes, and I feel like if those were fixed this really could have been a much better story. There are two more books currently in the works for this series, and at this time there are no blurbs or any information that I could find on them. I think if they are about Carrington, that it might change the way I view the ending of this book. But as things currently stand, I am still really disappointed with how this one ended. I will keep an eye out for news on this series though, and consider giving the next two books a shot because I really do think that if they continue Carrington's story that these will be worth the read.
**ARC Provided by Mark My Words Book Publicity**
Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |