November 18, 2015

(Netgalley) ARC Review: Did I Mention I Love You (DIMILY #1) by Estelle Maskame

Did I Mention I Love You? (The DIMILY Trilogy, #1)Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
Rating: /5

*I received digital ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Genre: YA (Contemporary)

Pub. Date: December 1st, 2015

Get a copy here!

‘We sneered at one another since the day I arrived, fighting to try to find each other’s weaknesses. Mine is my insecurity. Tyler’s is the truth. And beneath it all lies attraction.’ 
(Chapter XVIII)

For sixteen years old Eden, spending summer in LA could be/could not be something great. The great thing she could finally taste a tourist-like summer in the City of Angels; away from drama back in Portland. The not-so great thing that she had to put up eight weeks with her sorry father and the rest of her ‘step’ family members. What she didn’t predict was for her to gain three stepbrothers in which one of them was practically a walking trouble. Tyler Bruce made it clear that he hated life as much as he hated himself to be in it. The only things he took interest in were no other than being reckless―booze-weed-coke kind of reckless. And not to forgot, being angry all the time. Eden wanted so much to avoid Tyler at all costs but it’s impossible since a). they live in the same house; b). their rooms were just right next to each other’s; c). they hang-out in the same circle. Eden’s new-found ‘friends’ happened to be Tyler’s as well so they practically went to the same parties every time. Eden wasn’t exactly a party girl but if it meant getting the best out of the summer (which also meant away from awkwardness and irritating dad at home) she had no choice but to tag along.
That also meant watching Tyler destruct himself with zero concern from his so-called friends.
‘He’s pretending, just an actor playing a role. I need to know what happens backstage, after the show ends and the curtains come down. Who’s left?’ 

(Chapter XVIII)
When Eden discovered the darker side of Tyler, she determined to get him out of his madness. Especially when she knew that it was just a façade to hide the broken soul inside. But Tyler hated her and what an insecure girl could probably do to save a messed-up boy like him?
‘You’re not supposed to figure me out. No one is.’ 

(Chapter XXVII)
Trust. That’s what Eden wanted to get from Tyler: to get him to trust her.
But as Eden tried hard to break the wall around Tyler, while occasionally helping each other from their parent’s wrath and exchanging irritating banter, the nature of their relationship started to shift into a whole different level. The thing is when someone frustrated you so much; it meant they got a special place in your heart that it’s easier for the feeling to do a one-eighty. And Eden and Tyler, of all people, should be wary to the idea before it’s too late.
‘Because Tyler might have told me his secrets, but now he has a new one.’

(Chapter XXVII)
The first few chapters went awfully slow and filled with LOTS of partying, drinking, and even some of getting high scenes without any particular plot-progress. In fact, it’s like those scenes were playing on repeat throughout the book which bothered me since this book is supposed to be a YA. I understand the need of the author to portray just Tyler’s terrible habit but I think there’s another way to describe it. Including one or two scenes of it was okay and the narration could be prolonged with scenes that implied the bad situation rather than explicitly showing it.

The recklessness of almost every teenager in this book was another thing that made me feel uneasy. It’s like these kids didn’t have any other spectacular idea to spend summer than partying, drinking-to-oblivion, and getting on police’s bad side. Seriously, not every teenager that reckless and I wished this book showed it here which… didn’t. The only person who would eventually keep these kids in line was either their sober friends or the police which showed how this book lacked a lot of parental role. The parents only existed to get furious to the kids in the end of the day (or the morning after) and grounded them and didn’t exactly do anything to stop their unbelievable behavior. This is really unfortunate since not all of the characters were bad ones, like Eden’s friend Rachael and Dean.

Now, talking about irony… Eden had been going on and on with her assumption/speech about Tyler’s crisis was due to his inability to socialize in positive way. Yet, somewhere on second half of the book, Eden acted exactly like how she assumed Tyler was doing: to get herself in trouble so she won’t be discarded from the circle. Just when I think I might like the heroine for saving the hero, here she recklessly got herself drunk just because someone said she couldn’t.

With an intriguing title, beautiful cover, and promising blurb, I was so eager to find out what Did I Mention I Love You hides beneath the package. Forbidden (incestuous kind) love story wasn’t exactly my favorite topic but since I found a book that handled the issue very well (Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma|read review) I kind of intrigued to see whether this book did the same good job. And I personally think that the author brought out this topic with quite ‘acceptable’ background story―NOT that I say I accept the kind of behavior, it’s just that I get why it happened in this book. Tyler had spent the last four years trying to figure out the way to cope with his terrible childhood memories. Unfortunately for him, it landed him to the dark path where he chose to drown in pseudo-happiness of booze and drugs. Talking about it was difficult; especially when no one seemed really know how to get him to talk. It’s not that until Eden came to the picture that Tyler felt he finally got someone who sincerely wanted to figure him out. This is what I called with ‘acceptable’ background story.
the problem lies on the development of their romance which executed quite vaguely. The shifting of their feelings was unsmooth especially on Tyler side. One minute he would get so angry at Eden, then he would easily spilled his frustration out to her, and next one he would be so nosy about Eden’s personal life only to drag her to a stoner party eventually. I don’t know about you but Tyler’s on and off mood toward Eden could easily be interpreted with unstable emotion which blurred the actual purpose of indicating his actual feeling about her. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked their moments (the ones when they’re not fighting or Tyler getting drunk) when I could clearly see that despite everything, they’re just two people helplessly fell for someone wrong.

Meanwhile there were parts that I wished could be addressed more deeply. Eden’s relationship with her mom for one seemed like the healthiest kid-parent relationship in this book and I want to see more of this on the next book. I don’t even want to talk about her dad because he’s totally a bad news of a parent, for now, so I hope for some ‘fixing’ later on.
Despite everything, I enjoyed the author’s writing style as it made me easier to get through all those issues I mentioned above. I started to enjoy this book more, though, on the second half of the book which was when the story actually took its pace.

I might have a lot of issues with this book, yet Did I Mention I Love You and the rest of the series seemed to promise me a poignant romance with a good writing style, which for a romance-sucker like me would be hard to ignore. I just love the idea that someone messed-up could be saved eventually when they find the right person who truly care for them. Did I Mention I Love You gave me that but since their romance was far more complicated than good-girl-saving-bad-boy cliché, I need a really good closure to wrap it up. Book one didn’t exactly give me that so I wished there would be a better answer on the next two books.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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