Eden Monro came to California for a summer of sun, sand and celebrities – what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers: a dad she hasn't seen in three years, a stepmonster and three stepbrothers. Eden gets her own room in her dad's fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother, Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He's got angry green eyes and ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She's never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pull her into their world of rule-breaking, partying and pier-hanging. And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't.
Okay, get ready because this review is going to be a ranty one.
First of all, this book had two of my favorite romantic tropes: hate turned into love and forbidden love. I really do love those and I was hoping so hard that this book would have great characters that I could root for. Let's start with the romance. Tyler was a jerk. He was awful. He treated Eden and the rest of this family like crap. Now here's the thing about the hate turned love trope: that only works if both people in the relationship are decent human beings. If one of the people treats the other like crap, why on earth would ANYONE fall for them??
That was my problem. Tyler never gave Eden any reason to think that he was a good guy. He did drugs, he was mean to Eden, he ignored his girlfriend when it was convenient for him, he hated his mom and Eden's dad for no reason. The ONLY thing I noticed was that Eden thought he was hot. That's it. Their first kiss came about simply because she wanted to distract him from doing drugs. Really? This was the case of Eden just wanting to change Tyler. She kept saying she knew he had walls and they were "interesting."
Towards the end of the book, there were some things about Tyler that were revealed and I felt bad for him. I can see why he used drugs to distract himself. But there was still NO reason to treat people the way he did. Eden said at one point, "Why am I so fascinated by a guy who doesn't seem to care about anything?" Good question.
Eden was just annoying. She had a bad attitude and complained a lot and she spent all her time going to parties with her "friends" and drinking. The friendships were all superficial and I was so tired of the peer pressure thing. She kept saying "yes," even when she wanted to say "no." She was such a pushover. But the worst part was when she accused Tyler of FORCING her to go to a stoner party. Uh, no. He asked and you decided to go because you didn't want to hang out with your dad and stepmom.
She also kept such an eye on her food that I honestly thought she had an eating disorder. She rarely ate and no one really noticed. That part of the storyline was mostly forgotten about. I mean, she did talk about some problems with some old friends that caused her to be like that, but there was never a resolution to that part of the story. I guess no one thought that was important.
That brings me to Eden's dad. Part of the reason why I hated her so much (besides the whole falling for a guy who treats her like crap thing) was her attitude towards her father. Now I get why Eden was upset with him. Apparently, he and her mom split up and then he didn't talk to her for three years. That sucks. But my problem was that she never gave him credit for anything. She would complain about the fact that he never tried to connect with her and then ONE PARAGRAPH LATER, she would complain that he didn't try to talk to her about the right things or complain about having to be in the same car with her or try to get out of a family dinner. I had to laugh at one point when she said she had tried to like her stepmom, but just couldn't. WHEN DID SHE TRY??
She had literally one conversation with her and she avoided spending time with her whenever possible. Now it seemed like Eden had a good mom, but there was one thing that rubbed me the wrong way: her mom encouraged her to complain about every little thing regarding her dad and she even said this little gem: "And how are things with the asshole who gave you half your genes?"
There are no words for that one. My parents went through a very nasty divorce (and custody battle) when I was a child and they used to badmouth each other to me. I hated it and I have no patience for parents who do that, even if the hate is justified.
Eden also hated the way her dad tried to discipline Tyler. His mom let him get away with everything, but her dad actually tried to set rules. Crazy. Eden thought that her dad was just trying to find a reason to dislike Tyler. She actually thought at one point that her dad was just looking for a reason to get on to Tyler and that he just plain disliked him. This was after Tyler said he had better things to do than to eat dinner with his family and he stormed out of the restaurant. But to be fair, getting arrested and sneaking out of the house and drinking and doing whatever the hell you want is really no reason for her dad to get mad, so yeah I get where Eden is coming from.
I do wish there could have been a resolution with Eden and her dad where they had a real conversation and moved on, but no such luck.
I really struggled with even finishing this book. I didn't have a problem with the "forbidden" aspect of this book nearly as much as the fact that Tyler was a complete jerk. I think the really bad thing is that this author has decided to drag this out for two more books. I actually requested the other two ARCs before reading this one and that was a mistake. I just can't. I have looked ahead at the premise for the other two books and it doesn't seem like Tyler or Eden change very much, so I have no interest. I just can't find anything good about this book.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Just skip this one.