All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: As She Fades by Abbi Glines

on May 7, 2018

As She Fades
Abbi Glines
Feiwel & Friends
2018, 262p
Copy courtesy Pan Macmillan AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken.

Slate Allen, a college friend of Vale’s brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she can’t deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she’s not immune to Slate’s charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship.

Then, Crawford wakes up… with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she’s in Slate’s territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn.

I struggle with Abbi Glines books, one series in particular but I decided to give this a go because it was a stand alone and the premise sounded interesting.

Be warned, there’s going to be some vague ***SPOILERS*** throughout. I’ll do my best not to be too blatant with the story but there might be a few things that are spoilerish because it’s really hard to talk about this book because in essence it’s barely even a coherent story.

In the beginning, Vale is a recent high school graduate who was in a car wreck with her long term boyfriend Crawford. Vale’s injuries were superficial but Crawford is in a coma and Vale is spending pretty much every day of her summer break at the hospital being a devoted girlfriend. She appears to spend a large amount of this time in the corridor outside Crawford’s room because his mother is protective of him and there’s some sort of visiting ‘roster’ or something and Vale only gets afternoons with him. But even when it’s not her turn to be in with him, she’s outside because she doesn’t want to miss being there when Crawford wakes up. She’s not even sure that she wants to go to college because that was something they were doing together.

Vale meets Slate, a college friend of her brother’s who is also spending a large portion of summer break visiting someone in the hospital. Slate is the quintessential boring manwhore that populates Glines’ books, screwing his way through the general female population – even nurses on duty in wards cannot resist the chance to be a brief notch on Slate’s bedpost. Slate doesn’t do relationships or commitment, but soon he’s bringing Vale a coffee every morning. Soon they become friends which is weird because Slate doesn’t do female friends. Ever. And when Vale finally decides to go to college she attracts an awful lot of attention because she’s friends with Slate.

Everyone in this book is ridiculous. Vale is ridiculous. I understand that she’s upset about the accident, she wants to be there to support her boyfriend but she basically drops every other aspect of her life and devotes her entire existence to the hospital and Crawford….until she meets Slate. Everyone warns her off him because he’s gross and sleeps with everyone but he doesn’t try do that with Vale because she’s special. Until he does want to do that with Vale, but only in the respectful relationship way because she’s totally changed him. So yay! And Slate? Slate is utterly ridiculous. Women just drop their knickers whenever he walks by because he’s super hot. And he likes to have sex. Did I mention that Slate is ridiculously hot? Because he is. Totally hot. And he sleeps with a lot of girls. And there’s basically the grand summation of Slate’s character because he’s about as deep as your average rain puddle. There’s a half-hearted attempt at a tragic backstory but it just doesn’t work for me and Slate does not in any way feel a believable 19 or 20 year old guy. He’s like the ultimate author dream boyfriend creation. Nearly all the girls in this story are “sluts” who throw themselves at Slate or resent Vale because she’s “friends” with him.

And thennnnnn, there’s the “twist” in this book which really isn’t so much a twist as “a completely different story”. We discover that the story as we know it is not entirely accurate and so we have to start again and relive it in a different way and the second half is even worse than the first half. The thing is, part 2 makes part 1 make basically zero sense. It’s really jarring and not well done at all and the more you wade into part 2 the more you wonder why you had to sit through part 1 when it has no point. Or maybe that was just me. But to be honest, part 1 was actually a more enjoyable story than part 2 (which isn’t really saying much) but both were repetitive and stereotypical. I just feel like with Abbi Glines books there are so many things running through all of them – slut shaming women is a big one, as well as basically idolising guys who sleep around. And then there’s that classic thing of the male character who has never had a relationship before, never cared about someone before, suddenly changing their entire stance for that one person. Which is fine I guess, I’m sure it happens, but there’s rarely any insight given into why. In this book for example, I never really saw what made Vale so special that she caught Slate’s attention when he seems to be pretty much drowning in offers but when Glines never shows me what it is Slate sees or interprets and I don’t see it myself, it just makes the whole story very hard to buy. This is a guy who has been so adamant about not even being friends with females. Like, why? Because they’ll all fall mad in love with him and he can only offer them friendship? I don’t know. I mean he’ll happily shag his way through them but he doesn’t seem to really like or even respect any of them, apart from Vale. But then again, they’re mostly all portrayed as horrible bitches who will stop at nothing to get a piece of him, for status. So they can be ‘the one’.

Unfortunately this was bland, lacking in finesse, derivative and problematic. It’s not well written on the whole, although I felt that the part involving Slate’s family member was probably the best part of the story. And it’s no coincidence that the part I (sort of) liked was a part that didn’t revolve around Slate and Vale. And it was thankfully short. So I liked that too.

2/10

Book #80 of 2018

 

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8 responses to “Review: As She Fades by Abbi Glines

  1. Kudos for even going there. This is one author I just can’t read anymore. Nothing ever improves with each new book and I absolutely loathe the slut shaming and man whoring. There’s a definite pattern here that makes you wonder what Abbi is even trying to do. I love this review!

    • Yeah this is it for me, I’m done with her now haha. I probably should’ve been done with her before this book because the Sea Breeze series was a complete clusterf*ck but it was something I picked up on a whim when I had like an hour or so to read and I didn’t want to get into something I’d not want to put down. They’re all so the same. The slut shaming is really getting disturbing. These books do not celebrate women at all, except as things for the male characters to obsess over. Gross.

      • I just can’t even understand why a woman would want to write this type of stuff. It disturbs me every time I see one of her books borrowed from the high school library where I work. I want to secretly throw them all out to be honest!

        • Haha I’m surprised her books are in school libraries! They get pretty explicit – do they have to be a certain age to borrow them? I had to sign a form for my eldest (he’s 9) because he’s an advanced reader but I only gave permission for books up to about 13yrs. Left the box for 18yrs unchecked! But yes, these don’t send a great message to teenage girls about love and relationships and what’s really okay behaviour.

          • It’s a senior high school so all students are 15 years and above. We get them sent automatically with an upper YA/NA subscription that the librarian signed up for. I see a few books come through that raise my eyebrows but I’m not the actual librarian, I’m a career advisor whose office just happens to be located in the library! You’d be surprised how common it is for the people in charge of ordering books for schools to not really know what they’re ordering, from librarians through to English heads of department. It gets my goat sometimes.

            • That’s really interesting. My sons attend a P-9 college so there’s a very wide array of books there, probably right up to that upper YA level and then the senior college is just next door and although they’re connected, they’re also completely separate entities. My son knows he’s really advanced and he wants to read books that reflect that (his reading and comprehension of text is at an 8th grade level and he’s grade 4) but his social maturity is much more around what his actual age is. So even though I’m not super into restricting reading, I do reject books I know are outside of his understanding, particularly in sexual content. I’m a really big reader of YA so I have a pretty good knowledge of books that he can and cannot read – I’d imagine if I wasn’t such a reader myself, I’d be inclined to just let him read whatever he found for himself in the library, assuming it’d be appropriate. Which would probably be a mistake, lol. Honestly, I’d expect librarians to know what they’re ordering and stocking in a school library intimately. And no matter their ages, I’d never want my kids to read books that slut shame teenagers. I’d never want books in teen libraries that promote that sort of behaviour.

              • I think that these subscriptions add to the issue. School librarians elect to pay the annual fee and get a box of the latest YA within their selected age bracket sent each month. But they don’t get to select the books, they come from the warehouse pre-selected and I have a feeling that not much more than checking classifications comes into the vetting.

              • Ha! I just went out to the shelves and had a look, we have this title in question sitting on display! I have buried it down in the depths of the bottom shelves alongside her others…

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