Monday, August 24, 2015

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
Release Date - August 25, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
The synopsis of this book immediately reminded me of Friday Night Lights. As someone who loved the show this immediately piqued my interest. I had hoped that this novel would bring out the same feelings in me that watching the TV show did. While there is potential here, there were a few elements that made this one miss the mark a little bit for me.

The idea of grief, and bonding with someone that recognizes your pain is handled incredibly well. The messy, uncertain aspect of this kind of bond, and the way it can impact a budding relationship is explored and is perhaps the strongest story element in the novel. West's grief over his father and Maggie still dealing with her mother's murder pushes them together, but the raw emotion they each feel is a heartbeat that echoes through the entire story. It made me feel invested in the characters to have them have something individually that brought them together. Their story lines existed both outside of the romance, and within it and this adds texture to the story that sometimes is missing in other novels.

The story is obviously inspired by Friday Night Lights, and it is very much a football story that is really about everything but football. The characters are going to the focus, and romance will be a large part of that. Those looking for a true sports novel will not find that here, but the fact that it is a character story is what drew me to it. I hope that with each novel we'll get to see the characters grow and change and that it remains the focus of the story.

The female characters in this novel, sadly, seem to fall into one of  two categories. Maggie, who is the perfect angel, and every other girl who are, according to the male characters, there to use and discard. Maggie is treated as someone who is too pure to be subjected to these other girls, and as different. She is continuously labelled as different from the other girls and not for the reasons you might think. It would make sense if it were because of her silence, but instead it's because she's too good to hurt. She doesn't deserve it. The indication is that the other girls do deserve it. The other girls on the other hand are used by the guys and promptly discarded and are branded as 'crazy' when they take offence to being treated poorly. Even Maggie is guilty of doing this when she muses that sometimes West needed her, and other times he needed girls like Serena. This is meant to convey that sometimes he needed someone to talk to, and other times he just needed someone to have sex with. The treatment of every girl other than Maggie was basically slut shaming and made all the more glaring in light of the over praising of Maggie. It takes the notion of women being either the angel or the devil to the extreme and didn't sit well with me. There is a huge lack of respect for any girl other than Maggie, even sometimes from Maggie herself.

West uses Maggie as a crutch, to the point that it becomes unhealthy. This novel's saving grace is how this storyline is dealt with. West's character is very much the 'alpa male' stereotype found in romance novels and with that comes some behaviour that I do not find attractive. He is suffocating, and over protective even when Maggie pushes and tells him that she doesn't need it. His need for her becomes a consuming thing. Maggie calls him out on it, and even creates a distance between them in order to show West that his behaviour was inappropriate and could not continue. It was refreshing to see this happen in a young adult novel, and even more refreshing to have guy respect a female characters wishes.

While I had mixed feelings on this one, over all I enjoyed it. My warm fuzzy feelings for the Friday Night Lights series could perhaps be clouding my judgement but there is something addictive about the writing and storyline that makes me want to continue with the series. I wish that the female characters had been treated differently and hope that improves in the subsequent novels to come. If you like books about small towns, football on Friday nights, and romance you'll want to give this one a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...