Publication Date: November 12, 2012
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
In a small town, it’s hard to recover from being dumped by your high school sweetheart. That’s just what Briana has to do after Colin leaves her to follow his dreams. She focuses her energy into her friendships and the pursuit of her own goal of becoming a chef. Just when she finally feels like she’s on the right path, he comes back to town.
Colin knew breaking up with Briana before leaving for college was the right thing to do. He was determined to leave small-town life behind forever, and that included his high school girlfriend. But when a sports injury puts him on the sidelines, he’s forced to return home. Seeing Briana again brings back a lot of memories, and Colin wonders if he made the right decision. It doesn’t take long for him to realize he wants her back, and this time, he wants to make it last.
I made it a little mission of mine to read as many New Adult (or YA-Mature, whichever works for you) books this year as I could find the time for. I’ve been slacking a little and hadn’t read any in the last 2 months or so, so when I saw Lopez’ book making the rounds for a blog tour complete with some interesting excerpts, I didn’t hesitate to buy it.
Having a guy break up with his girl before he heads off to college for her own good isn’t exactly the most ground-breaking beginning to a NA story I’ve read and the tone of the first chapter had me feeling a little tentative about this one. Colin feels like he has to dump Briana because he thinks he’s going to hold her back while he’s away. So he says some mean things to her and she swears he’ll never get a second chance with her. I was a little uncomfortable with Colin’s voice – it seemed very feminine – and yeah, there were quite a few more imaginative ways to head into a story setting up an explosive reunion, but I was on board for it. NA means the author gets to be more explicit, so bring it!
Fast-forward four years. Neither Colin nor Briana is where they thought they’d be. An injury’s ended his football dreams and Colin is back in town. College didn’t work out for Briana, and she’s working behind the swinging doors at a bar and grill. Since she stayed in town, she’s kept up with the people there and has her own crowd and they like to party. There’s a lot of drinking in the book – everyone’s of age, but it’s rare that a couple of chapters go by without someone doing a shot, having a mixed drink or stumbling around with a hangover. Briana knew Colin was back in town, but she’d managed to avoid him until he showed up at one of these parties.
Things go pretty much as you’d expect after that. There wasn’t any plot twist or character reaction that really surprised me – at least not pleasantly. That didn’t have to be a bad thing. A few of my favorite books have taken a tried and true plot and by populating it with great characters or fun dialogue, made them into winners. Make it Last wasn’t one of those. It’s safe to say I was dismayed by the way things unfolded between Colin and Briana. But still….
There was a lot of telling vs. showing throughout the story. I felt it most in the beginning and it eased off near the end. I hope that’s a sign of things to come in future books. Once the telling eased up, the dialogue became less stilted too. It never flowed perfectly and it seemed more often than not, the character just said what was happening or what the history of someone was because it was easier than spending the time to paint me a picture of the character or situation and let me get there on my own. It frustrated me to feel like I was being shoved to the end of the book. But still….
There’s potential here. I haven’t read Lopez’ other three books so I don’t know what her writing has been like, but she has some characters to work with in this series that have great potential. I can’t say that I liked Mr. All-American good guy Colin who always found a way to get what he wanted. Briana was slightly better, she was at least angry for a little while with him and I sort of liked that she had an on again/off again friends-with-benefits relationship. At least she wasn’t sitting around, pining. I liked her boy toy Kent and Colin’s buddy Rich – they were a little man-trashy in a charming way and fun. I liked Briana’s friends Kara and Perry and their story. They were just the right amount of screwed up for me. There’s potential in stories for Kent’s sister Roni and her friend Nicole.
My Summary: I don’t normally write reviews for books that I’ve purchased that I don’t have wonderful things to say about, but I’m making a small exception here because I think Lopez is on the verge of something, even if it isn’t with this book. This wasn’t for me. It might work for someone else who appreciates something short and quick and wants to be pulled into a familiar story with a predictable ending and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not willing to write Lopez off and while I’m not sure if the next book is on my list, I know this won’t be my last.