Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Review ~ Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley

Upside Down (Off the Map, #1)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 5th 2014

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

My Opinion

It was the cover that drew me to this book. I love the colours and the image as it made me think Upside Down looked like a book that would be a good summer read. And in essence that's what this book was. I will admit I had a few qualms but I'll get to those in a minute.

Firstly, I liked the setting. I'm enjoying books that are set in different locations right now so Australia made a nice change from the city books I read. I also liked the fact that Talia was running from her life back home and trying to change herself by heading abroad. She wasn't expecting to find someone like Bran, which made it all the more interesting as their relationship progressed.

I will admit that I didn't like Bran at the start. He came across as an asshole with how he acted. However, he did grow on me and won me over by the end. I liked his playful side, and the witty remarks the two traded--they made me smile and grow to like them together. I also liked how, at times, he could come across a really genuine and concerned. It wasn't as often as I normally like from the male lead, and he did keep his jerk qualities, but at least I saw this side of him.

My main problem with the characters though, was that although I liked them, I didn't care for them--especially Talia. Her inner thoughts were sometimes irritating and I don't think she developed enough. I wish the author had made more of a story out of her OCD and sister's death as they were really only inserted in small one-liner reminders here and there. I felt this side of the book needed to be developed more as it all kind of came out of nowhere and ended in the same way. Her character felt a bit all over the place and she acted too normal. I wanted to see her troubles more so that I could route for her to get past them with Bran's help, but I just couldn't.

Also, the book did get more and more predictable towards the end. For me, it started off great: original setting, fun characters, hint of mysterious guilt, running away etc. but as the book moved on these features were lost to a stereotypical storyline of the new adult genre. The characters had sex way to quickly and I just didn't buy into the relationship. I feel the author tried to fit too many things in and the book can't decide what I wants to be--especially at the end.

However, saying that, overall it was an enjoyable read. It didn't have the wow factor or take my breath away like some new adult books, but it was a pleasant summery read. Would recommend if you're looking for a book with a light amount of angst.


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