Michelle’s commentary on books, digital publishing and intersections between fiction & reality

Reading two Colleen Hoover books in Budapest, Hungary

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The Books: Verity and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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Verity: 1/5 stars

It Ends With Us: 3.5/5 stars

So, based off those ratings alone it’s pretty clear that I am not the biggest Colleen Hoover fan—which I’m bummed about. I really wanted to like her, which is why I read It Ends With Us even after absolutely hating Verity. And it was better, but I still have too many issues with her writing style.

As a heads up, this post will contain spoilers, as I need to explain why I disliked these books so much—even though they’re rated so highly.

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First up with Verity, I don’t know if there was anything I enjoyed about this book… I thought the main character Lowen was extremely unlikeable. I thought the love interest Jeremy was bland and definitely not worth obsessing over by two women. The plot was ridiculous and unrealistic—the twist at the end and the letter even more poorly executed. Pieces of information were just discarded like they never happened.

With It Ends With Us, I had a greater appreciation for the overall plot and the theme she was touching on. I think she did a really great job exploring the inner-workings of an abusive relationship and why it can be so hard to leave—she just didn’t do a very good job telling that story (in my opinion).

Again, the love interest was not appealing—he was downright creepy half the time—begging her for sex, pretty much stalking her, making way too forward of advancements reminiscent of old rom-coms that I thought we’d realized were creepy, not romantic.

I was engaged in the story of Atlas, and that’s what kept me turning the pages. But the characters were too cliché and none of them had much depth. I think this story had the potential to be extremely emotional, I just didn’t get attached enough to the characters to get to that point.

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My main issue comes down to Hoover’s writing style in a first-person perspective. I am biased against this POV just because I think it’s kind of a cop-out unless you’re doing something transformative or a really strong writer (like Sarah Hall and Burntcoat). Really good third-person limited POV should feel like it’s written in first-person, so first-person to me is already less impressive.

One of the most stressed rules of writing is to “show not tell” and well, Hoover does the opposite. She doesn’t let the reader learn about her characters through descriptive scene-building or reflective flashbacks, she just straight up tells you things about them.

I’m not trying to be harsh, but I did come across a GoodReads review that said her writing style was similar to a FanFic and well…I kind of agree. I was hoping to find a new favorite author with plenty of books to devour but I don’t think I need to—or want to—give her a third chance.

And to each their own—I can totally understand the appeal of her books for some, it was just not my personal cup of tea.

The Place: Budapest, Hungary during January

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When I first planned out my Europe trip, I only had Nice and Vienna on the radar before I came. But after I arrived, I had so many people—from back home and in Europe—telling me it was a must-see, so I decided to spend the next month and my birthday here.

It’s different than the first two because this time I’m actually staying in the city center, not on the outskirts. I still am a fan of smaller towns, but it’s been a nice change of pace.

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The first thing I do when I get to a new place is find my coffee shop—where I do all my work and well, write these blog posts. So far, the one in Budapest, Rézkígyó Coffee House, has been my favorite.

It’s strange how I’ve gotten so used to living places and not understanding the conversations going on around me or being able to read posted signs or pronounce street and building names. It will definitely be weird when (if) I go back to the U.S. and suddenly everything is in English again.

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Since Budapest is a bigger city, there’s already been more for me to do. Once again, Bumble BFF has landed me a plethora of really great friends. I’ve gone ice skating,—I tried to at least—visited the thermal baths, done karaoke, drank at the ruin bars, ate chimney cakes during sunset, celebrated a birthday, dyed my hair black, visited the small town of Viségrad and it’s only been two weeks.

I still have over half my time left, but I’m really going to miss this city and the people I’ve met. Very excited for my friends from France to come visit for my birthday, though.

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Michelle Newblom
About the Author

Michelle is fascinated by the power of the written word, the weight language holds and how influential writing can be. She has experience working in all different realms of publishing—including newspapers, magazines, blogs and research journals.

Feel free to contact her at mnewblom@gmail.com

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