Genre: Romance, Young Adult
Published by Simon & Schuster (10.7.2014)
ARC, 392 pages
Source: YA Book Exchange
Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late.
Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.
In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.
But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?
Rating this book was a huge struggle, because I can’t even pin down exactly how I feel about it. As you can see from my Overall Assessment, my ratings are all over the place, so overall I just feel confused about the impression this book on me. I almost didn’t even rate the ‘feels’ category because I didn’t know whether to give it a high feels rating for pissing me off so much or give it a zero for the same reason. Because this book did piss me off. Royally. But, there were also times where I kinda enjoyed it. Confusing, right?
Pages 67 -80 were so rocky that I very nearly DNFed this book. I was getting SO pissed at the characters that I almost threw the book across the room! I hated Britt, I despised Korbie, and they were both such vapid freaking morons that I wanted to slap the shit out of them. First of all, their “friendship” bordered on frenemies rather than actual friends. I hate hate HATE those friendships. Why the hell would you want to call someone like that a friend? WHY?! Korbie was a horrendous person. She was the snobbiest of snobs, complaining about the quality of the food while trapped in a blizzard, and overall a total royal bitch. (Actually, I have another word for her – a word I don’t even like to use – ‘bitch’ just isn’t strong enough, if you get my drift) She was constantly taking digs at Britt, making herself feel superior by demeaning her “friend.” She even had a list in her diary keeping score of who was better. Really? When Korbie would goad Britt, Britt would take shots back as “payback.” Payback? Seriously? And you call her your “best” friend?! Jesus. If someone treats you like shit, you’re constantly taking shots at each other, and it feels like a competition all the time, they are NOT your friend! “We’re more like family – we love each other, but we don’t always like each other” is no excuse to keep someone toxic in your life. I didn’t like the values that their “friendship” portrayed for younger girls that may be reading this book. A REAL FRIEND IS BETTER THAN THAT. Trust me. On top of being the not-so-nice synonym of female parts, Korbie was a skank, too: Her response to Britt saying she has Bear (her boyfriend) when she’s flirting with Shaun is “Shaun’s here, Bear’s not” and “So we aren’t forever. What’s the point of being completely loyal when I know our relationship is going to end?” THEN WHY THE F*CK ARE YOU WITH HIM?! What kind of message is that sending?!
Britt wasn’t much better. She was annoying, petty, and naive to the point of utter stupidity.
1) She had NO common sense:
“And it’s really only you and Korbie? Your parents aren’t meeting you up here?”
I hesitated, almost mentioning Calvin and Bear, but at the last moment changed my mind. First rule of talking to a boy: Never drag your ex into the conversation. It makes you look clingy. And bitter.
First rule of talking to a boy? How about the first rule of talking to a total f*cking stranger?! Why yes, we came up here alone. By all means, proceed to mug and rape us, then dump our bodies in the woods.
“Take this.” Jude offered me a small bottle from his coat pocket. I was so rattled, I hardly felt the liquid burn down my throat. It was cold like water, but bitter, and I sputtered and coughed as I tipped the bottle for more. Soon a certain warmth crept into my body, and my breathing relaxed.
[Later] “Do you have the bottle of moonshine I gave you earlier?”
Moonshine. Of course, he’d given me alcohol. I’d never drunk it before, so the taste had been foreign.
I had moonshine once. It literally took my breath away. And that was back when I could toss back 8 shots of Jäger without batting an eyelash. How the HELL could you not have some realization that you were drinking alcohol, even if you’d never tasted it before? A liquid that burns going down? What, did you think it was water? Anyway, I’m pretty sure a first time drinker would have immediately spit that shit out, no matter how “rattled” they were.
3) She supposedly studied survival and she ATE SNOW to stay hydrated:
Compacting snow between my gloves, I made a slushy ball, and pushed it into my mouth, letting the icy mixture melt down my throat. It was painfully cold, but invigorating. If I was sweating, I needed to drink. It seemed impossible that I could dehydrate in such cold weather, but I trusted the guidebooks and my training.
Eating snow will only lower your temperature more and waste useful energy as your body tries to heat it up! Isn’t the “don’t eat snow” rule common knowledge? Or has Girl Scouts just helped me learn survival things?
4) She supposedly studied survival and was DRINKING ALCOHOL while stranded in a blizzard. If you’re dehydrated and freezing, drinking alcohol is the worst thing you can do! It makes your blood vessels dilate, which only makes you feel warm. Again, you’re lowering your core temperature more. How could a survivalist not know these things?!
5) She was locked out of a building in a snow storm and completely panicked, immediately trying to look for shelter. DOES THIS PLACE NOT HAVE WINDOWS?! Oh, wait. It does. And whaddaya know, they’re made of GLASS. Not like that’s a breakable material or anything. It’s sad that she had to see a broken window to realize she could get in through a window.
So I wanted to strangle Britt, I hated Korbie with the fire of a thousand suns (no seriously, I was actually hoping she would die), and then there’s Calvin; who walked away from Britt with no explanation, cheated on her, lied to her, and justified his horrible actions by blaming them on his dad. View Spoiler »Oh, and he kills people. « Hide Spoiler And let’s not forget Shaun, who was a sociopathic asshole, plain and simple.
The only character that was halfway decent was Jude, but really he just felt like a regurgitated version of Patch from Becca’s Hush, Hush series. Dark and broody FTW. Not. Honestly, though, I did kind of like him, because he was more of an antihero than an actual hero and I am a fan of antiheroes. But, there were times he reminded me so much of Patch that I expected there to be a paranormal twist in the story where Jude revealed that he was secretly an angel.
I feel the need to mention: I am a fan of Stockholm Syndrome stories. There’s just something twisted about it that appeals to me. But the romance in this (and this book IS a romance, by the way, not much else) didn’t really work for me. It moved much too fast to be convincing. There weren’t nearly enough positive interactions between Britt and Patch, I mean Jude, to outweigh all of the negative from the beginning of the kidnapping. I think there should have been more time in between that and the realization that Britt had SS, rather than having it occur so early (and by early I mean page 213, barely more than halfway through the book). It pretty much went straight from her loathing and fearing him to her being attached and finding him attractive. It was more like a lightbulb flicking on than a gradual transition sneaking up on the victim.
This was the point the story got a bit ridiculous for me. It was so cheesy, to the point that I may have vomited in my mouth a little. There’s a span after the attachment forms where the only thing Britt can even focus on is how attractive he is. Then there’s about 4 pages straight of them just talking about kissing/seducing each other. It was horrendous. Then there was their….”banter”:
“When you bluff, your left eyebrow twitches. […] When you’re amused, your mouth takes on a mischevious curl. […] When you’re angry, you press your lips together and three tiny lines jump out between your eyebrows.”
“Anything else?” I asked hotly.
“When you kiss, you make a purring noise deep in your throat. It’s so faint, I have to be touching you to hear it.”
Now I turned bright red.
“We should kiss again and see what other observations I make,” he suggested.
“Fat chance after you insulted me!”
It was also predictable. View Spoiler »I predicted that Calvin was actually the Lauren’s killer after he shot Shaun, and that Shaun and Jude were hunting him because Shaun was related to her. I was close about the relation – it was actually Jude, not Shaun – but I was 100% right about Calvin. « Hide Spoiler
I said earlier that I still enjoyed parts of it. I did, truly I did, but the parts that ticked me off vastly outweighed the parts that drew me in. I did really like the idea of it, I found myself actually rooting for Jude, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the relationship between Britt and Jude before it got all disgusting; but the awful characters and the lack of common sense in the story telling ruined the book for me. I make it a point to avoid EVER talking about the author directly, but I really think that there should have been more research involved in the survival parts. The drinking alcohol and eating snow really bothered me for some reason. I mean, what if someone reads this book, then gets trapped in a snowstorm, and dies because they thought eating snow and drinking alcohol would help their situation? (Ok, so maybe I’m just being a sarcastic asshole now.) I dunno. Do your research before you put it in a book!View Spoiler »The ending was a bit too fluffy for this story. I think I would have been more satisfied if Jude had sacrificed himself (in the scene where he and Cal both had guns, he could have taken a fatal bullet wound to in order to take Calvin down) to save Britt and he had died…at least then it would have elicited an emotion from me, since he was the only character I remotely cared about. But the fact that they walked off into the sunset and pretty much lived happily ever after, yadda yadda, bugged me. It made it seem like a girl’s fantasy rather than a story about a kidnapping and Stockholm Syndrome. I understand where Becca was going with it – something good came out of a horrible circumstance – but I think after suffering through that much trauma the characters would be changed forever, wanting to forget and thus go their separate ways. As was mentioned in the ending, before the epilogue of rainbows and unicorns. « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 2/5