Wednesday 15 May 2013

Book Review: The Edge of Never by J.A Redmerski

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she's ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she'd do. He shows her what it's really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew's dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

For my Eclectic Reader Challenge I needed to read a New Adult novel. I'd heard about The Edge of Never because it is a self-publishing success story. The novel became a New York Times bestseller and was subsequently picked up by major publishing houses. I was intrigued and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

This is a hard review to write. I didn't hate the novel - in fact I read it quite quickly because it hooked me in - but it did drive me crazy. Right from the beginning I found Redmerski's every-little-detail descriptions a big distraction. I would have preferred if Redmerski had let the dialogue speak for itself and allowed my imagination to fill in the details.

The Edge of Never is a romance novel first and foremost. Camryn is a young girl searching for herself when she meets older Andrew, the quintessential sexy man who will show her what she's been missing in life, and in sex. There is nothing too serious here plotwise. The entire book reads like a type of young woman's fantasy - girl meets sexy guy on a bus who then takes her on an adventurous road trip where he pays for everything and awakens her secret sexual desires. There is a hint of Fifty Shades of Grey here, although The Edge of Never is more romance than erotica.

Funnily enough, the things that annoyed me in Fifty Shades were the same things that annoyed me in The Edge of Never. I don't mind reading about a submissive female who wants to be dominated in bed, but when that submissive nature carries over into everyday life it starts to bother me. Why must the female character be the one to give in to her partner all the time? Why couldn't she be strong and confident? I liked Camryn at the start of the novel - she is a dreamer who longs to live an unconventional life - but by the end I'd had enough of her. In my opinion she did the typical thing that a lot of young women do; she allowed herself to be influenced by her man. I suppose in a way that is often what happens when a woman is a 'new adult' who is unsure of herself, so that might explain why the novel has been so popular amongst its target audience; young women can relate to this kind of misplaced dependence.

That being said, I was able to let go and float along with the fantasy. I was enjoying reading the novel (even though I was rolling my eyes at its clichéd plot). That was until the ending. The last couple of chapters were a big let down. I felt Redmerski ran out of steam and just wanted to get the story over and done with quickly. There was a twist involving Andrew that was rushed and unrealistic. And the epilogue - well let's just say it sort of undid all the time Redmerski had put in portraying both Camryn and Andrew's desire to live outside the box. 

As an author myself I know the amount of effort required to complete a novel so I always have the greatest respect for any writer who manages to do so. Redmerski wrote her novel and is living the self-publisher's dream - her story has appealed to a wide audience and become a bestseller. I congratulate her on that success. I can see why people love The Edge of Never, why young women adore this kind of escapism. I liked it for that reason too. But for me the novel didn't really live up to all the hype.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm I don't think this would be for me, I'm finding the New Adult genre is skewing heavily towards sexual awakening type stories with 'shades of grey'
    Thanks for sharing your review