From what I can tell, this is a debut story by RJ Fletcher. I’m not 100% sure because I didn’t dig too deep. And somehow I missed the part that this is a part-1 story, so if you expect an HEA or even HFN for your time and dollars spent, you’re wasting both.
Sasha Harmon is in her early/mid 20s and works at a diner while attending graduate school. She’s going for a degree in International Relations, not sure what she’ll do with that when she graduates. She lives with Teagan who is one of her three good/best friends. The other two are Jaelynn and Faye. As the plot develops, by chapter 2, it turns out that both Jaelynn and Faye have their own passive aggressive hatred/dislike of Sasha. Interestingly enough, Sasha deemed them good friends and was part of their inner circle. But I digress.
While the four of the ladies are out clubbing one night, they meet Dmitri Vikhrov. Dmitri is immediately smitten by and starts chatting up Teagan. These two do end up going out for a time, but according to Dmitri, Teagan’s a bit of a mental lightweight, so Dmitri dumps her and decides to go for Sasha. I know, I know – I really should have stopped right there.
Sasha’s innocent, virginal, sweet, and is all things good. And from reading the author’s blurb, she’s the one in her group that’s the least attractive. Many group friendships have this dynamic, so I was looking forward to how the author would not only present this story but solve for Sasha’s looks and sugary sweetness.
Sasha was abandoned as a child and in her adulthood she can’t seem to help but cling to friendships – especially Faye and Jaelynn – that are not reciprocated. These things should have made me like this heroine. She’s smart and looks like the girl next door. I expected to have something in common with this heroine. I expected to read about her and empathize and want to see her and the man she’s chosen, Dmitri, to be together.
I should have like this story much more than I did. I tell you why I didn’t. I found myself taking notes to keep track of what’s going on. It’s not like this story took me a long time to read. A few hours spread over two days and I was done. But what took so long was – I kept getting lost. The abrupt change of a character’s story was jarring to say the least. One minute I’m reading about Sasha and her diner friend, Dina, having a conversation about Dina’s date and what I thought would be Dina’s relaying the story; instead the author’s decided to put me in Dina’s head and give me what she and her date did. Why? This story should be from Sasha and Dmitri’s points of view. Why am I reading about other characters points of view? I don’t care. They can have their own story but not right now. This happened multiple times with multiple characters and each time I was frustrated.
The dialogue was inconsistent and should have been better. The contractions are missing for people who speak English as their first language. I know they’re living in Boston but come on they speak with contractions there. In all my readings this is my first time to read the word ‘cuz’ in a sentence. I’m used to ‘cause as it’s slang for because but what the heck is ‘cuz’? Then there’s the random formality thrown into any given description. ‘Upon’ seems to be a favorite word that was overused.
But I’ll tell you what really got my goat in this story: Dmitri’s absolute dislike of Sasha and Sasha’s desperate need/want of Dmitri. He didn’t like her and told her this. He didn’t find her attractive and told her this. He decided to indulge her with his company after she kissed him at some random party. (By the way he was still dating her friend and roommate, Teagan, at the time.) There’s nothing that this author showed me that made me believe that Sasha should like or even fall in love with Dmitri.
These two went out for a short few days/weeks and Sasha was already falling in love and seeing a future with this dude. They’d, rather Dmitri, had not even publicly acknowledged their romantic status. And just in case you wondered, Sasha’s skin color reference was upfront and present. Turns out that Dmitri’s family is a bunch of racists, not sure why they just couldn’t just not like her because they didn’t know her. And it also turns out that her good friends Faye and Jaelynn was secretly hating on Sasha because she’s black, not sure how that never manifested itself before considering how long their friendship was for.
The best part of this story is that the couple broke up at the end. For me, that was perfect.
Happy reading folks!
Click to purchase: Amazon
Sasha: The Wallflower
by R. J. Fletcher
Release Date: November 24, 2015