ARC Review: Ever by Jessa Russo

Paperback: 295 Pages

Series: Ever #1

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

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BOOK ONE in The EVER Trilogy.

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.

Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

Some girls lose their hearts to love.

Some girls lose their minds.

Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.

I remember reading the blurb and thinking this was going to be a great read. Even though “Ever” must be the most unfortunate name a character ever had and the story, for me, was similar to Shade, I was sure I was going to like the book. Ghost stories are a personal favorite.

To be honest, the first quarter of the book was okay. The prose a bit too purple for my taste, but I could easily see Ever’s confusion over her feelings for Frankie and her growing attraction to Toby. I actually thought Jessie was a good friend, trying to make her move on to healthier love interests.

I thought the mystery behind Frankie’s stay in the realm of the living was interesting and plot-worthy, as well as the sudden apparition of the hot next door boy, all mysterious and clad in black.

I was put off the second Ever  turned into a ‘self-flagellation over silly nonsense’ guide. Ever and Frankie have never been more than best friends, knowing each other since they were kids, even though Ever says she’s been in love with him all her life. Then in walks Toby and he’s hot. Naturally, Ever’s attracted to him like crazy and she’s feeling guilty all the time because she’s thinking of him, rather than of Frankie. And I do mean guilty. Really, really guilty.

First reason in a long series of why I didn’t like Ever’s character, not one bit. Nevermind today she professes her love for one guy and the second day she’s lusting after the other, but her inner dialogue and thoughts, around Toby, scream “socially awkward stalker”. That for me was annoying, because no one, and I do mean no one, is THAT socially inept.

Ever was unlikable, period. I couldn’t relate to her past the dozen or so first pages, if you had paid me. Her dance between the two was unbelievable and in poor taste, her mood swings were unbearable – she cried 100 times during the book; also threw fits and tantrums for no reason whatsoever. Apparently, having no boyfriend is equal to being in purgatory. Ehm, okay. She doesn’t once stand up for herself or demand an explanation for what’s going on.

Just for future reference, dear reader: if you find yourself eavesdropping on a conversation and hear talk about how your “boyfriend” was supposed to get close to you, to your family, basically anything that screams serial killer/stalker, don’t just feel naughty for listening in! Confront the situation, ask a damn question, use your brain. Ever does none of that because..well, Toby’s hot. Sooo dreamy, so Nick at Nite. She comes across as incredibly shallow. She knows nothing about him, yet she luuuvs him.

Also, why is she portrayed as losing every last brain cell she has in her head, every time Toby looks at her and kisses her? Let it be a life or death situation or a “he cheated and lied and he’s an asshole” situation. If he so much as touches her, all questions fly out to window..smoochie time!

No. No, no, no. Wrong.

I wanted less time spent on the mysterious ways in which Ever’s brain worked and more time on the ghost lore and the other characters. Like, where did Frankie go when he wasn’t in the house? Why did he need to use the door to enter a room or how could he sit on a chair, yet be unable to touch Ever? He did seem to be able to perch on top of her bed so..color me confused.

Also, how come every single person in the book could see Frankie?

Too much time and words were wasted on kind of unimportant details. I DIDN’T need to know, in detail, what Ever or Jessie were wearing, every single day, three times a day!

Until the plot reared its pretty head, the book fell into a rut: Ever had nightmares, Frankie consoled her, she ate, she kissed Toby, she saw Jessie, occasionally she cried, come night again and repeat.

Ever almost didn’t have a plot, until the second half of the book. Too much time spent on the dysfunctional romance(s), not enough of anything else.

This novel might appeal to some, it just really didn’t to me.

*I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged.

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