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cedWhat: Carefully Everywhere Descending by L.B. Bedford

Who: Harmony Ink Press

When: October 1st 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Harmony Ink Press for review via Net Galley.

Audrey Anderson has one chance to escape poverty—excel academically and get into a good school. She’ll let nothing stand between her and her goal: not dating and certainly not snotty Scarlett West. The girls can’t stand each other, so why is Scarlett hanging around Audrey and getting under Audrey’s skin—in more ways than one?

Scarlett needs a tutor, and Audrey doesn’t want the job. She still resents Scarlett offering to pay Audrey to do her homework, but her compassionate best friend talks Audrey into giving Scarlett a second chance. The more time they spend together, the harder it becomes for Audrey to fight her growing attraction to the other young woman.

At the same time, Audrey’s interest in her new neighbor’s bizarre behavior gnaws at her, and she can’t leave the mystery alone. Her relentless curiosity might cost her everything.

2cats2I … don’t really know what to say about this book.

For the first 85% or so, it’s a hate-to-love story, but with no “to” part to it. Just hate BAM love. And then the last 15% was just completely out of the blue. This book is primarily a contemporary, so when there was a thriller-esque part thrown in it seemed completely out of sync with the rest of the book and I found myself sinking further and further into my pool of disbelief that this book created.

I think this book had potential in terms of tackling topics that a lot of YA novels seem to sidestep. Audrey is living in a pretty disadvantaged living situation, with her older and younger brothers. Most days they don’t even get to eat, and when they do it’s not healthy or filling anyway. Instead of going in depth about what life can be for people who don’t have it all, Audrey’s character simply lamented about her poorness. Over and over again. There was no discussion, there was no exploration. It was just: I’m poor. I felt like this aspect was just tossed in to create some division between Audrey and her rich love interest, Scarlett, rather than having a novel with a focus on someone who isn’t middle class.

Audrey’s mother is bipolar, and spends most of her time in bed. In the book, the mum probably has about five words. And that’s it. Again, no discussion of what living with a parent with mental illness is like. No talk of treatment or therapy or anything. Just: my mother is bipolar and sleeps all day – end of story. Another huge missed opportunity.

I did like the fact that this wasn’t a story about girl falling for another girl and freaking out about it. Audrey is comfortable with her sexuality, and that deserves kudos. I didn’t really like how her family treated the topic at times, but that’s something that could be realistic. What wasn’t particularly realistic, whoever, was how completely okay everyone in Audrey’s life/school/town was with her sexuality. I mean: I want a world like that – where any couple is accepted, but it was a bit of a utopia element to the story, I think.

I didn’t really believe in the romance between Audrey and Scarlett, especially since Audrey is … unlikeable (to put it nicely). I thought Scarlett probably could have done better because she was super sweet. But even so, I felt nothing for the two as a couple because I felt like their relationship development was nonexistent from the time when Scarlett was Audrey’s bully to when they admit their feelings for each other.

Audrey befriends this random guy after he starts screaming in an ice-cream shop, and I have to say that their entire relationship creeped me out. If I saw a guy screaming at someone and then saw him again later on I would turn around and AVOID. But Audrey goes up to him and starts chatting to him, and then at one point goes to his apartment and the whole time I was expecting something to go terribly wrong. I just don’t think it’s okay for a high school student to become instant besties with some random thirty year old guy.

Carefully Everywhere Descending missed a lot of marks in terms of important discussions and relationship exploration, and I was quite disappointed overall.

© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: poverty, bullying, physical assault, and sexual assault in this novel

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Posted on: December 2, 2015 • By: Chiara

2 Responses to Review: Carefully Everywhere Descending by L.B. Bedford

  1. Goodness, Chiara, you are really having horrible luck with finding books lately, aren’t you? And here’s yet again a book with a lovely premise but a disappointing output :( So sorry to hear about another miss – here’s hoping you find a stellar book soon to make up for all of this mediocrity! xx

    • Chiara says:

      I know, right? My reading slump WAS HORRIBLE, and I definitely never want to experience one again.

      I had quite high hopes for this one, but it eventually fell flat. SIGH.

      Thank you, lovely! The Marvels by Brian Selznick was the book that rose from the ashes, haha XD <3

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