This, unfortunately, is a solid no from me.
Look, I have nothing against fluffy contemporaries. Nothing at all. In fact, I like to seek them out, because they’re refreshing. STAY SWEET, in particular, has this (from the outset, at least) a nice fun summery feeling. It promised ice cream and a a friendly squad of girls and a hint of romance. It looked GOOD, is my point. And I was looking forward to reading it.
Was it any good? *shakes head vehemently*
The main problem, I believe, was the lack of direction. The plot waffled between one direction and another, never grasping a thread and sticking with it. The main thrust of the plot, including its buildup and fallout, was so simple, so short, that there was all this extra space in the pages to fill up with the most frivolous of details.
There were many many chapters of straight up FILLER. Do I care what Amelia’s best friend Cate’s work place looks like, a place that she quits barely three days later? No. Do I care about the type of face mask and lipstick that Amelia uses, and where she bought it from? No. Do I care about tons and tons and tons of descriptions of Grady’s, the love interest’s, blue eyes and abs and every single outfit he wears in a given day, down to the shoes and socks? Hell no. Give me a break, stick to your plot, I beg you.
The characters were barely likable. Amelia irritated the everloving hell out of me with her WEAKNESS. She’s weak, okay? She allows Grady to walk all over her, use her to run HIS business, and drive wedges between her and the other girls. And the worst part is? Cait warns her from the get-go not to be swayed by a pretty (blue-eyed very very very *takes a break to breathe* very very gorgeous and handsome and prefect) face. And her friend’s warnings go in one ear and out the other.
And speaking of Cait – she’s a terrible friend. Terrible. If Amelia didn’t keep on forgiving her, I would’ve been happy.
And Grady? Please. He’s a misogynist trying to pretend otherwise. I was super not a fan of the way he treated the girls in front of his father. And he can apologize all he wants, but that behavior was gross and unforgivable. (Or, rather, gross and unforgivable for me, but not for Amelia, who lets it slide.)
Though this book claims to be ~feminist~, I failed to find anything faintly resembling that. The way the girls are portrayed – like your stereotypical airheads – grated on my nerves to no end. When Grady calls a business meeting, Cate is distracted because she’s blowing on her newly-manicured toes to dry. When Amelia asks for a stock update, the girls are busy trying on the “most perfect shade of lipstick” that Cate picked up at Walgreens. Amelia envies Cate’s perfectly tanned skin and interrupts her to ask what kind of coconut oil she uses. The girls cut work hours and waste money on balloons and booze. The desk and cash register hold, in addition to receipts and cash, some spare tampons, which everyone giggles and try to hide when Grady walks into the room.
And guys, by no means am saying that to be feminine is a negative thing. I complain about books like that, believe me. What I am saying, however, is how girls are portrayed as easily-distracted by stereotypical “””girly”””” things, while all Grady, the sole male, wants to do is succeed in his college courses, save money, make his daddy proud, and get the family business back together.
And disclaimer: by all means, I consider myself a girly girl. Some stereotypes apply to me personally: my nails are always painted. I care how I look like. Red lipstick FTW, always. I am also juggling college courses with book blogging. I am an engineer-in-progress. I prefer computers and written words over people.
It’s possible to be both the girls and Grady, believe me, and limiting your characters to either is unrealistic.
So all in all? I don’t know, y’all. If any of what I mentioned doesn’t bother you at all, then you’ll love this, I guess. But as far as fun contemporaries go? This was NOT fun at all. And it turned me off of ice cream.
Thank you, Simon and Schuster, for the ARC!