Title: Time of Our Lives
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: DNF @ 50%
Nobody is more disappointed than me over the fact that I did not (could not) finish this book. I have adored the other books written by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka in the past, so I was totally prepared to love this one as well. However, I was not prepared for the crushing disappointment and apathy I had towards this book.
What is this book about? Time of Our Lives follows two high schoolers, Juniper and Fitz, who have very different ideas about their futures and college as they each go on campus visits in the New England area.
What did I like? First all, let me start out by telling you how extremely excited I was to find out Juniper was from Springfield, Massachusetts. My mom was born and raised there and that is where her side of the family has lived for many generations. The only other book that has been set in that city was Coldtown by Holly Black, and as with that book, I was hit with the same rush of warmth and nostalgia.
What didn’t I like? I knew from the very beginning I was going to have an issue. Had I known before picking this up that Juniper was going to begin the book already in a committed relationship, I probably never would have read it because that’s never a scenario I enjoy reading. Because not only does she start the book with a boyfriend, but she has said boyfriend for literally the entire first half of the book. As a reader, you hear all about how much Juniper loves her boyfriend, how great they are together, and the future she envisions them having. Literally, the chapter or two before they “break up” she’s mentioning how every time they kiss she feels the same spark and fire she felt the first time. I’m sorry, how am I supposed to be convinced that she’s going to fall for the love interest in this book when her chemistry with her own boyfriend is off the charts?
The other grievance I had with the book was the second protagonist, Fitz. I did not like him one iota and if I’m being totally honest, wish he had never made an appearance in this book. First of all, I found his entire demeanor towards Juniper off-putting and slightly creepy. He meets this girl once and yet becomes semi-obsessed with her and tries to put himself in situations where he might run into her again. Also, he’s a huge hypocrite. How can you be advising Juniper not to choose a college based on a boy, and yet decided to cancel your original plans continue your trip based on a girl (Juniper)? Second of all, I really do not appreciate male characters that continually flirt with and make moves on people they are well aware are already in a relationship. It’s awkward, in poor taste, and ultimately just makes me want to root against you in the story.
And the romance. Like I mentioned, when your heroine has more chemistry with her boyfriend than the potential love interest, there is a problem with your story. I wholeheartedly believe that Juniper and Fitz’s relationship would have worked so much better if they had remained platonic friends. The “break up” between Juniper and her boyfriend felt so fabricated and unconvincing that I nearly rolled my eyes out of my head. I have a lot more to say about this “romance” but even I’m tired of hearing myself talk about it.
Overall thoughts: I’m trying to keep this short and I don’t want to continue to rant but there was just so much that I didn’t enjoy about this book. I had to quit reading because I truly disliked Fitz and didn’t find it prudent to want to finish a book when I was actively rooting against one of the protagonist.