The premise is good and the plot was fantastic. Unfortunately the actual book fell so far from the mark it was pitiful. The book is separated into three parts. Part I is from 1st person POV about Red – aka Ben. Each chapter in Part I is from a different month. The author builds the backstory from Ben’s POV of how he and Blue, otherwise known as Adrian, got to know one another.
Part II is 1st person from Adrian’s POV. And suddenly we are going over the same time periods, most of the same events. And most of it was telling rather than showing. A litany of event after event that felt like the reading of a list. And the worst part? At one point, Adrian makes mention of something Ben says in one of their conversations and the way it was mentioned, I was pretty sure it was in Part I somewhere – only since the actual quote wasn’t used, I was at a loss to find out what he said. Six chapters should not separate the same event from two separate points of view.
Parts I and II take up about 1/3 of the book. And then we get to Part III. Personally, I think this is where the book should have begun. Parts I & II were backstory. Part III is finally the meat and potatoes of Ben’s and Adrian’s relationship. This was told in 3rd person, singular focus POV – so we’d have a section from Ben’s POV in 3rd person and then a section from Adrian’s. Back and forth. That I’m used to in genre fiction. And for a while, there was a lot of showing. We were there when Ben and Adrian went paddling, when they first had sex, when they first declared their love. As a reader, I could live it along with both of them. And then, the author reverted back to telling.
If the concept of the story hadn’t been so good, I would actually give this 1 star. I actually think this was an editor’s fault. Many authors, especially newer ones, have no clue about the telling vs showing conundrum, nor do they understand that changing points of view in so many different ways in one book is absolutely hideous for the reader. Plus, most authors new and old have the tendency to give too much backstory. That’s something that is the editor’s job to make sure is fixed before a contract is signed, let alone before publication.
So I give this book 2 stars and hope that in AB Gayle’s next book, there is an editor who can help fix the rough patches. Because I truly think if they could, this would be an author to read.