Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review ~ Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Description: 
Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most. 
I hadn't read any of Carrie Mesrobian's books, but I was really interested in reading them. Cut Both Ways looked like a really interesting read and I was excited for it the moment I discovered it.
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Cut Both Ways was one of those books I just kept reading for the sake of reading—not as much for the story (what little I could find) or characters. For the most part, I just didn’t react much. I didn’t connect with the characters enough to feel for them, which then made any event that was supposed to have shock value fall flat.

What was in the book? There was family issues, weed, kissing, thoughts of sex, sex, cheating, more sex, more family issues, more weed, alcohol, and sexual exploration (not necessarily in that order). There was a male main character with a lot of conflicted feelings. 

I applaud Cut Both Ways for its content: lots of sex and a male main character that struggled with his sexuality. You don’t see that often in YA! But those things alone can’t make a book great. Sure, it’s great those things are in the book. But the fact that they were can’t carry a book! There needs to more to it—and unfortunately, it didn’t feel like this one had enough “more.” It didn’t have more that was notable.

It didn’t feel like an actual story. Yes, it was a character driven book, but the characters still need to have a story, right? Even if there’s little plot? There can still be a point to the story, the journey, but I just didn’t see it in this book. Things did start getting more exciting and emotional in the last 10%, but by then I had 90% to lose interest in the story. 

It sometimes felt like the book’s point was just to have more sex and confusion over sexuality than other YA books. Oh, and an obviously unlikable hero. It was like a concoction made to be put into a needle and injected into the category that is YA. I know that wasn’t the real point, but it’s the impression I got. That impression was really hard to shake.

If you graphed my excitement or interest throughout the book, both would be a straight line, no ups and downs, until a little hill at the end. That is probably the biggest reason this book didn’t work for me. I like to feel as I read.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Dive into Diversity
105 Challenge
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge

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