“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” ― Winston Churchill
If you are British, and you must set a book in a specific American location, then, for the love of anything that you hold dear, DO SOME BLOODY (for the Brits) FUCKING (for everyone) RESEARCH.
Let us count the ways in which this book is just WRONG.
1) Our "heroine," Molly Juliet Shakespeare (I know, I know) is a 20 year old graduate student at the University of Alabama.
Yet somehow, Molly is housed by the university with undergraduate students.
Yeah, but NO. Graduate students have their own housing.
2) Molly is the TA, but is introduced as a fellow student by the professor.
Yeah, but NO. She is not taking the class as a student.
3) Molly is instantly challenged by your typical nasty mean girl bitch who basically tells Molly - someone the bitch just met - that Molly is a pathetic loser. In front of the entire class.
Yeah, but NO. Even mean girl undergraduate bitches understand that graduate TAs DO ALL THE GRADING. So mean girl bitch - in the real world - would have just gotten herself a big fat failing grade. Or at the least, a warning and a referral to the student conduct council. Most schools - and I have to believe 'Bama would be the same - have a code of conduct for students and the mean girl stepped over it.
4) Molly's undergraduate roommates take Molly to pledge a sorority.
OK. Words fail me to describe just how RIDICULOUS this scene was. No sorority rush works this way. The pinning takes place first (?!?!) and THEN the rounds of parties?!? And the final party is not some sort of a preference night, but a toga party?!??!! (Because Animal House is SO 2013.) And Molly's SENIOR YEAR roommates are finally getting into a top sorority despite failing to make the cut three years in a row?!?!?!
No. No. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
5) Molly's Goth, senior year roommate wants to be in a sorority because she thinks this will make her a cheerleader. At 'Bama. At the start of the fall semester
Let's look at this set up again. A SENIOR wants to be a cheerleader. Even though football season should already be in progress by this date, and the cheerleaders would have been selected long before. Also, we're talking 'BAMA. Where football is a religion, and cheerleaders aren't far behind.
6) The pledges are initiated by kissing a boy and guessing what he just ate.
I'm going to let the horror of this sink in. As if this wouldn't get the sorority kicked off campus before one could utter "Roll Tide." Also, sorority initiation? Is more than just a kiss and keg (and like a keg would be involved in the first place!)
7) I'm stopping before I get to the football. Because from what I've heard, Tilly's depiction is more rage inducing than her sorority mishegas.
Look, I get it, this is supposed to be some big swoony if paint by numbers New Adult romance. (Although the characters are more caricatures than three-dimensional humans. The prologue flashback to Molly's childhood is saccharine and on-the-nose, and was wholly unnecessary. Molly is your usual "woe is me, I'm so ordinary and nerdy" NA heroine, while the hero, Romeo (I KNOW, I KNOW) is defined by his abs more than anything resembling actual personality. Everyone says "darlin'" and "ain't" all the time and drop the "g''s off the end of their sentences so the reader knows we are in the SOUTH, doncha know. I'm surprised Scarlett and Rhett don't show up just to rub that in more. And the Americans are all white, privileged and/or incessantly horny because, reasons. Like that the book is written by a Brit whose closest association with the US, apparently, is that she watched an episode of Friends and the aforementioned Animal House.
But all these nitpicks are, y'know, apparently superfluous to the FEELS and the HAWTNESS and the OMG SQUEE.
And I suppose this is revenge for authors such as Raine Miller getting everything about life in London wrong.
But here's the thing. I can't turn off my self-literacy respect. I just can't. Maybe others can, but I can't disregard the fact that I love to read and I love authors who care deeply about their stories and who work hard to craft them to the best of their ability. And when I read something like this, something so obviously slap-dashed together to cater to a hot market without any care for the reader's reading comprehension ability and need to suspend disbelief -
- I see red.
So, SRSLY, authors, DO SOME BLOODY FUCKING RESEARCH in your haste to join the Great New Adult Money Grab Rush.
DNF. I lived in the UK. If I wanted to be around Brits who get everything about life in the US wrong but think they know everything because they watched an hour or two of telly, I would have stayed there.