Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review: The Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors

Pages: 336
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "WHAT HAPPENS when the teenage heirs of two bitterly FEUDING FAMILIES can’t stay away from each other? The Rhodales and the Whitfields have been sworn enemies for close on a hundred years, with a whole slew of adulterous affairs, financial backstabbing, and blackmailing that’s escalated the rivalry to its current state of tense ceasefire. IT’S TIME TO LIGHT THE FUSE . . . And now a meth lab explosion in rural Whitfield County is set to reignite the feud more viciously than ever before. Especially when the toxic fire that results throws together two unlikely spectators—proper good girl Victoria Whitfield, exiled from boarding school after her father’s real estate business melts down in disgrace, and town motorcycle rebel Mickey Rhodale, too late as always to thwart his older brothers’ dangerous drug deals. Victoria and Mickey are about to find out the most passionate romances are the forbidden ones. . . . ON A POWDER KEG FULL OF PENT-UP DESIRE, risk-taking daredevilry, and the desperate actions that erupt when a generation of teens inherits nothing but hate."
Victoria Whitfield moves back home to her family's Kentucky ranch after her father's business takes a turn for the worse and he can no longer afford her expensive boarding school.  The Whitfields are the richest family in town (the county is named after them!) and everyone knows them.  Victoria now has to go to the public school, but she makes the best of it, especially since she gets to see her little brother everyday now.  On her first day back in town, she finds herself at the scene of a meth lab fire and runs into Mickey Rhodale, resident bad boy and son of the sheriff.  Mickey isn't like the usual boys that Victoria comes across. He's a bad boy, rides a motorcycle and it's a well-known fact that the Rhodale family is usually up to no good. You see, the Whitfield vs. Rhodale rivalry has been going on for a hundred years and the feud is still alive and well today.  Mickey and Victoria don't know the details of their family's history with one another and despite warnings from family members, they form an unlikely connection.  The Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors is the quintessential bad-boy meets good-girl story along with a side of of Romeo and Juliet thrown in.

Victoria is the "perfect" daughter of the "perfect" Whitfield family. At least the family seems perfect at first glance, but when you peel back the layers, you'll find a family on the brink of demise.  For starters, Victoria's parents turn a blind eye to Victoria's sister's raging alcoholism and pretend that there's nothing wrong.  I really felt for Victoria in The Lonesome Young as she was dealt a tough hand in that her parents expected her to "control" her older sister when she would drink too much. They pretty much expected her to take care of it and they wouldn't admit that her sister, Melinda, had a problem.  She also had to deal with the stigma of being a Whitfield in a small town, which normally wouldn't be too bad, until her father starts lashing out at the Rhodales and anyone who is related to them.

Mickey's family isn't well off like the Whitfields and his step-brothers are on the wrong path along with his corrupt step-mother.  His eldest step-brother, Ethan, just got out of jail and hasn't learned the error of his ways. He's back to dealing drugs and wants to get Mickey involved despite the fact that Mickey has told him no many times; however, Ethan won't take no for an answer.  To make matters worse, just like Victoria, Mickey has to put up with a lot of prejudices in town and at school, just because he bears the last name of Rhodale.  I guess it doesn't help he recently was sent to juvenile detention for fighting, but in actuality he was defending his sister.  So, as you can see Mickey is a complex character and there's more to him than just being a "bad boy" in The Lonesome Young.

I wanted to love Victoria and Mickey's relationship and the whole "star-crossed" lovers trope, but I wasn't feeling it in The Lonesome Young. They had a bad case of insta-love and although I knew that would be the case, I wasn't on board as much I had hoped. I just wasn't feeling it.

For me, the best part of The Lonesome Young was the setting of Kentucky and the history of the feud.  I think Connors did a great job of capturing life in rural horse country as well as the whole small-town mentality and trying to escape the prejudices that are attached to a name. I liked learning about the Whitfield and Rhodale feud that dated back many, many years and Connors slowly gave us the history of the feud as the story unfolded. The backstory between the two families made The Lonesome Young more interesting to me---very Hatfield and McCoy.

Although I found The Lonesome Young to be entertaining, I wasn't in love with it. Connors ends the novel with a cliffhanger, which sets us up for a sequel. Unfortunately, I won't be picking up the sequel, but nonetheless, if you like the whole Romeo and Juliet vibe and deep rooted family grudges, check out Lucy Connors's debut, The Lonesome Young.


8 comments:

  1. This book has has my attention despite its cover. In fact, I went to the bookstore yesterday to pick one up only to be disappointed that they don't have any. Sorry it wasn't all that memorable for you, Christina.

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    1. Yes, I am not a fan of the cover. The book doesn't come out till next week, so that may be why. If you read it, be sure to let me know your thoughts. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Oh shoot. I love the premise for this one, but I can't deal with insta-love anymore. I need a bit more backstory and understanding behind their connection - without that, a book tends to fall flat for me. Thanks for your honest take on this one though!

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    1. Me too. I love the premise and the whole familial feud, but like you, I think I have reached my threshold for insta-love. Thanks for visiting, Melissa!

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  3. I was hoping for so much more from this one! My Netgalley request was rejected, and I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy a copy now. If it was just an OK read for you, it'll probably be the same for me, so I'll pass.

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    1. Yeah, I am thinking since we have the same taste that this book wouldn't wow you. I don't blame you for passing. Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

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  4. This is a series? What! The premise reminded me a lot of the Hatfields and the McCoys which made it seem really interesting, so I'm sure that would be my favorite aspect of the story as well. I read the first chapter of this and when the second chapter started with the dude saying he couldn't get the girl he just saw out of his head I stopped reading. He was racing toward a fire a couldn't stop thinking of the girl he saw for a split second on the side of the road? And she was all about his, too, even though he sped by and had on a helmet? It just didn't make any sense...and doesn't sound like it gets better. Boo. Great review!

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    1. Yes! I loved the whole Hatfield and McCoy vibe to the story, but you are right…the insta-love is pretty bad in this book. I let it go b/c of the whole R&J aspect of the story…I mean R&J had a bad case of insta-love as well, but the rest of the book left me feeling sort of "meh." So, you probably made the right choice adding it to your DNF pile. Thanks for visiting, Natalie!

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