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The Girl in a Cafe

Loving Books Since Before It Was Cool! All reviews can also be found on my main blog!

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All of You - Christina  Lee I feel obliged to say this for some reason, but this review reflects my own personal beliefs and values only. It's my opinion, which may not necessarily be yours.This review may contain spoilers. There comes a time in a reader's life where she (or he) begins to question her read-ability (for full definition, see A Beginning's Guide to Hannah's Definition on Words, coming to a bookstore near you). It's that line between wondering if you've been reading utter crap or utter brilliance, and whether or not you've gone insane and been transported to a different planet because you seem to be reading something different from everyone else.We've all been there, that moment when we kind of go, huh? and wonder what exactly did we read, and why wasn't our version as good as everyone else's. Sadly, for me, this seems to be occurring more and more of late, especially when it comes to New Adult contemporary. As much as I love it, this genre is starting to get on my nerves a little bit, especially in terms of originality. If you go poking around my Goodreads shelves, you'll actually notice that in the last couple of months, there's only been one NA contemporary book that I've given a five star rating to. Everything below that has been 3 mediocre stars or less.Which brings me to All of You. I was lucky enough to get a review copy from Netgalley, which I thank Penguin for with all my heart because I rarely get Penguin titles, and I was actually quite shocked - and intrigued - to see that yet another NA title had been picked up by a Big 5.All of You and I started on good standing. Like new friends being introduced, I was wary, thanks to bad past experiences, yet intrigued. With a blurb like that, it's hard not to be. This promises to be a different kind of new adult contemporary, and the fact that the male lead is a virgin instantly made me sit up in my seat and go, "Just maybe, this once, I'll find something new and different."Unfortunately, the blurb is as interesting as this book gets. Right from the very start, I began to fall into hate with this book. And while I've already come to acknowledge that I'm in the minority with this review (although, like Frigid by JLA *ahem* sorry excuse me, J. Lynn, time will only tell), I'm not going to bother sugarcoating my review for this one. Because hey, how we see a book is based on opinion right, and even if I don't like a book, I'm entitled to have my own.Like I said, I knew this book and I weren't going to get along right from the start. For starters, we open with a very cliched party scene, where our MC spots a Hottie and instantly decides that his penis is worthy enough of her vajayjay, and instantly goes into predator mode. When said Hottie doesn't reciprocate, but his equally as attractive friend does, MC has a bit of a spazz, and ends up going home alone and moody. And that pretty much sums up the rest of the book for you. MC finds out that Hottie from the party has moved in to her building, and every time she sees him her panties get a little damper. Granted, there's some semblance of a plot in between all of that, but it was hard to find in amongst all sexual innuendos going on.Ah yes, the sex. Call me a prude all you like, but this book was just however many pages of sex. Whether it was the deed itself, a bit of playing around, or sexual banter between all characters, everything fell completely flat to me. I like my novels steamy, and I like a bit of one on one time with the main characters, but when your whole entire novel is nothing more than a Mills and Boons novel I could find on the shelves in Kmart, my upper middle class nose turns up and I turn into my mother a little bit. There's classy, and then there's trashy. And this was just trashy.There's a reason, though, why I think that. It's not just the sex overload that turned me off (excuse the pun). It's the way sex is depicted in this book that made me wince.The great thing about the blurb for this book is you get know that that Bennett is a male virgin. This caused a lot of joy and jumping up and down me for me. At first, I was ecstatic that for once, it looked like the main male lead wasn't going to be a man whore, but instead someone who was a sensitive soul. And as far as characters went, Bennett was my favourite in this book. But the characters were ultimately this book's downfall, and their ideals and moral left a lot to be desired - and left me questioning what sort of a society we've become.Avery, in my opinion, was a bitch. A bad experience early on in life has left her scarred (fancy that, haven't heard that one before), which means that her heart is off limits to any guy that looks her way. She feels that by having meaningless sex with whichever guy tickles her fancy that night, she's in control of her emotions and feelings. Yet because she's kicked everyone - except her girlfriends and her younger brother - out of her life and wrapped into herself, she completely ignores the world around her. She's stuck in the world that she's created for herself, and she doesn't care about her surroundings at all. And that pisses me off. It makes you shallow, and weak.Avery basically is the equivalent of what female man whores are called. She sleeps around, has a bunch of numbers in her phone so that she can have booty calls whenever she wants, but never feels bad about it, because to her, the other guy is never looking for something more than just a hookup. And as soon as they are, she bolts out of there faster than everyone's favourite Jamaican. Avery is, in the famous words of Cady Heron, a pusher. She was constantly pressuring Bennett because of his views on his virginity. She doesn't fully understand the meaning of why he's waiting until he finds that someone to sleep with for the first time. In Layman's terms, she just doesn't get it. And she never does, throughout the whole novel. She doesn't understand the concept of boundaries, or the affect that her actions and words may have on someone. What I found incredibly hard though, was the hazy line that the author had created in deeming what a virgin is.To me, a virgin isn't just someone who hasn't had sex. It's also the mentality of why they haven't had sex. Like Bennett, "I want something real. And I'm willing to wait for it." And by that, I mean ALL of it. Oral included. I'm not going to get into a discussion about all of that side of things, but I just think that the author didn't really see Bennett's virginity as a big enough issue as what the blurb made out to be. I'm not sure of the exact time frame of the novel, but it seemed like Bennett and Avery were barely getting to understand each other when they had sex. She says she doesn't do the coming on, but every chance that she got, she was throwing herself at Bennett, forcing him to do more than he was comfortable with. Heck, she has her brother staying over when she hasn't seen Bennett for a while so what does she do? As soon as she gets home, she ignores her brother, rushes up to Bennett's pad and forces him to let her give her a blow job.Avery was in love with the concept of being with someone who wanted to wait - I didn't feel any chemistry whatsoever between these characters. And - something that's brought up in the novel, and causes friction between the main characters - is this idea that Bennett's virginity is just a game; a conquest. While Avery may think in her mind that being with Bennett wasn't just some lay, she doesn't exactly show it. She says she loves Bennett, but she doesn't show it. When Rachel brings up the lay the virgin thing, she doesn't fight for him. Bennett actually says, "See, that's just the thing. I wasn't worth the effort for you to set her straight. You didn't protect my principles, my reputation, my heart, Avery." Avery had no intentions of fighting for Bennett at all. She didn't care about his heart. She says it wasn't how it sounded, wasn't at all what she meant. But that's the thing about Avery. She's too stubborn to see anything from anybody else's point of view, right up to the end.I had a lot of feelings on this book. Not all of them were discussed in this review/rant, because otherwise I would be here all day. But for me, this was just another mindless excuse for a novel that was supposedly meant to make me feel empowered or whatever because the main character was 'in control' and the male lead was a virgin. Instead what I got was double standards, trashy friends who had no respect for other people and a weak subplot that seemed like it was only there to mask the copious amounts of sexual activity that was going on. Which, for a book concerning a male virgin, I innocently thought there'd be little of. Boy how I was wrong.While I think the author had a great idea to begin with, the execution of it was poorly done and just completely fell flat.This will definitely appeal to those who don't like to think too much with their novels, especially those who think that New Adult, again, is just some shameless excuse to write about sex and stick a 'plot' in the background. Because hey, if it didn't have a plot, it'd be shelved as erotica, right?