Reviewing BooksForAri – Molly McAdam’s “Taking Chances”

Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1)Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Honestly, I don’t even know why or how I finished this book. I guess I should start by indicating why I found this title attractive. Yes, love triangles are an exhausting and tedious subject at this point in YA fiction, but I have to admit I’m still drawn to it (probably because I gamble with myself on who will get chosen & I secretly hope everyone just stops being jealous and loves one another – yay polyfidelity!) So, inside my head, Baxter (that’s the name of my noggin) says to me, ‘Hey Arielle, it’s over 400 pages with a 3.9 overall rating and nearly 40K people voted on that rating. It shouldn’t be so bad…’ Boy, was he wrong.

If you’re not annoyed with the characters and plotline within the first two chapters, then by all means, continue reading. Perhaps, it just wasn’t my type of writing style or maybe the target audience is for an age group much younger than me. I’m a 24 year old NY college graduate with a tendency to be sleep-deprived and, though this aspect hasn’t really affected me before in determining whether or not I enjoy a particular book, I think it’s worth it to acknowledge the possibility that these parts of myself could be the cause for my dislike. Also, let me make it known, I am an amateur book reviewer – still wet behind the ears – AND I have an affinity for peculiar books… but now that I’ve proclaimed to be no professional and admitted to my flaws, let me get to the four main things that bothered me:

The Dialogue
Every. Freaking. Line. Was sooooooooooooooooo dry. It was like reading a playwright for what parents think kids are doing when they’re not around, and not what is actually happening. I couldn’t connect with the friendship between Bree and Harper. Their conversations and interactions felt completely superficial and the friendship happened way too quick for my liking – probably even quicker than the romance. Any kind of relationship, even platonic ones, need development and dimensionality. And with that said, I definitely could not get on board with the love at first sight infatuation that had Chase and Brandon duking it out from the first few pages. Though this phenomenon is common with books that are centered around a specific romantic relationship(s), I feel like there are way to make it feel less… cheap. They just looooooved Harper and everything that came out of their mouth was so zero to sixty that I nearly puked from the momentum. But stepping back for a second, the playwright-like conversations just seemed entirely too strained – kind of like when you’re playing Sims and you set your person up to do a whole bunch of tasks and your Sim is just like in robot-mode because you’ve already decided its future… That’s what it was like reading the conversations in this book; every word was predetermined.

The Descriptions
Though setting isn’t always a make-or-break for me, the lack of really substantial dialogue made me search for descriptions, which were (surprise, surprise) also very lacking. Baxter, my brain, struggled to get any real solid picture while I was reading. Any type of description I came across was very generic and supremely unfulfilling. I don’t know about any one else who read this book, but this was honestly grounds for abandonment. Alas, I persevered like the warrior that I am, and developed quite an issue with…

The Plot Line
It was like the author took every single YA fiction cliché and threw it in at any available chance – kind of like when my best friend went on a juicing diet and didn’t know any recipes so she just chucked random vegetables in the blender. Yup. It was disgusting. But, oh my gods. I could’ve made this book into a drinking game called Guess The Next Plot Twist using a fill-in-the-blank method of standard YA clichés, and I would have been sufficiently plastered by the time I got to the middle of the book. There wasn’t any development of the issues and the issues were so obvious that I kind of just rolled my eyes when they finally played out. No wonder the book was over 400 pages.

The Characters
Alright, so the crux of my dislike for this novel definitely falls in this category. I found myself hating the main character, which is always a negative sign. Harper was always f*cking harping (haha, I made a funny). Pun completely intended. She was so judgmental of others (especially females) and haughty just because she grew up on a military base. I don’t understand why everyone was falling over themselves trying to please the virginal princess like she was this almighty perfect seductress. Her character wasn’t even that interesting. Harper wasn’t the only one though, everyone in this book was two-dimensional. Even the peripheral family members lacked any real substance. There was no diversity, severely strict archetypes, and no progression of character. I gave up on hoping for change once Harper called someone a slut for the 3rd time.

Goodness. This was a long review. I’m sorry guys. I definitely ranted. I guess I felt way more passionately about this book than I thought, but hey, here’s the end of my review.

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