I honestly don't even know where to begin with this review. I guess I should start by saying that Under the Influence is my first L.B. Simmons story. I have heard so much about her books that I felt like I needed to read this one when given the opportunity. I have to say that this was nothing like I was expecting though, and I almost gave up on this one right away. As much as I liked the overall message and outcome here, this book was just a bit too all over the place and cliche for me to really feel invested.
Dalton and Spencer were childhood best friends, until they finally acted on the feelings they had for one another. Just as it appeared that they would be moving forward together, a tragic event changed everything. Spencer was left broken hearted when Dalton left her behind without a word, but now five years later she is finally ready to let him go for good.
I did like Spencer and Dalton for the most part, and I did feel their connection. They had history together and had each been through a lot. While they did have great chemistry and a connection though, it was hard to feel invested in them and this book. I never felt like Dalton's "job" felt genuine. It seemed very out of place to me considering the characters ages and the fact that this was a NA story. I also felt like Spencer came off as immature and a bit young considering her constant giggling and apparent ignorance to everything that was going on with Dalton. How she missed the beyond obvious clues right in front of her face was impossible for me to comprehend and made her come off as an idiot most of the time.
I felt like we were dropped into this book in the middle of a story already in progress. There was so much going on at first that I really almost gave up. I felt like I had missed a prequel or something that would have clued me in a bit, but I did stick with it. Things did pick up thankfully, and I felt like the first part of this story was very promising after the initial 10% or so. I did feel as though the blurb was a bit misleading though when it said that the story takes place over five years when we really don't get to see much of that. Broken into three parts, the first portion is Spencer and Dalton up until the point that he leaves her behind, with the second part being very brief and giving us only minor details about the five years they are apart. Part three then focuses on the present and came off feeling very rushed. It felt as out of place as Dalton's "job" and just seemed so chaotic to me. There were so many missed opportunities here with the huge time gaps and the lack of development. While the potential for a great story was there, Under the Influence just missed the mark. This wasn't the book that I had been hoping for or expecting, and honestly I was disappointed.
**Review Copy Provided by Inkslinger PR**