Monday, March 7, 2016

Brightside by Kim Holden Book (Rant) Review



Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you ... 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 

But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you.

I am going to have some angry readers on my hands, I just know it. Somebody is going to take offense to this review. Someone is going to think that I am absolutely out of mind and despite knowing all of that I AM NOT changing my opinion on this book.

So here we go. I picked this book up because so many, SO MANY people gave this book five stars. I thought, there is no way possible this many people are wrong about this book. No way, and then I read the book. (I read this book with my girl, Tika from Fangirl Confessions. We felt exactly the same way about this novel and you will see some mentions of her in this review.)

You guys, I could not stand this book. At. All.

Let's start off with me telling you why I did not like this novel:

Inconsistencies: There were so many situations in this novel where things just didn't add up. Emotions didn't match situations. Characters didn't match their personalities. There were just so many things that didn't connect for me. I really want to break it down but I'm afraid I can't do so without spoiling something. Let's just say I couldn't always believe what I read--and that's an odd feeling especially if you're not reading a mystery novel.

Dual POV's: I have no problems with dual POV's. Really, I don't. But here it just didn't work. It wasn't paced right. It didn't work. It made no sense. For one, the book is mostly in Kate's perspective but you get these little tid bits where Keller comes in and then he's gone. It felt like a bad game of telephone. It just did not work.

Kate: I am a firm believer in positive thinking. I think it's the best way to go about your day. I always like to believe the glass is half full rather than half empty. My mother is like that and now so am I--for the most part.

And this is where the story lost me. On the one hand I commend Kate for being strong despite the unfair hand she had been dealt. She stood strong and remained positive. But for the life of me I didn't buy it. Nobody is this perfect. She was rainbows, flowers, cute kitten YouTube videos, laughing babies and never ending sunshine. It didn't make her real for me. I couldn't connect with that. The only time you saw even a fissure in her shell was at the end which was understandable--but I can honestly say if I saw her come even a little out of her character I would have connected more with her as another human being.

Not to mention she came off as very judgmental. I think it was supposed to be helpful but I can't help but feel like if I put in even a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, she'll be somewhere judging me.

I hate to say it but she got on my nerves. For about 90 percent of the book.

I think Tika and I both had shouting matches about this character. And yes it featured some expletives--we felt that strongly.

The friendship between Gus and Kate. This has got to be the most strangest friendship. They loved each other, they grew up together--there was a seriously strong connection between the two of them. But nobody could tell me they weren't in love with each other which for me made Keller seem unnecessary. He felt like a prop. A horribly cheesy and unromantic prop. (We'll get to him.)

And the very fact that I had to endure at least every other chapter of a phone and/or skype conversation between them had me pulling at my hair. It was awfully repetitive and downright frustrating. I GET IT THEY'RE BEST FRIENDS! I understand he was essential to Kate's story but the book is filled upon page after page of their mundane phone conversations 

I can feel myself getting a headache right between my eyes thinking about it.

The words DUDE need to be wiped from existence. If I could have counted down right to the very end how many times this word was used. I could cover the entirety of the earth. Okay, that's heavily exaggerated but it was extremely overused.

(If you're a Californian, do you really say Dude, and righteous still? Let me know. I'm honestly curious.)

Keller--The cheese ball of this story. I think Tika and I can concur. This boy acted like this was the very first woman he's ever seen. Because when he meets her he literally falls head over heels, feet in mouth for this girl. He's amazed by her. And we get to read it in painstaking detail. I think I got a headache from rolling my eyes.

Oh, but let me let not forget how this book had more going on then the busiest socialite. Everybody had a problem. I mean EVERY character. So much forced drama.

 Don't be fooled by the revealing of their secrets either--because perfect Kate, came to everybody's rescue--and solved all of their problems. GIVE ME A BREAK!

My main issue with this novel for sake of my fingers--is that none of it read as authentic. Sure, the situations are but the way they were portrayed weren't. Everything was connected. Everything was tied up in a perfect, perfect bow. I honestly believe the author deliberately created a character that you simply could not dislike. She gave her no personality flaws. Not a one. She made her perfect so that we could empathize with her. So that once the story ended we could cry our eyes out. 

But you know what it didn't work on me. Sure, I got sad about it but it was the situation itself not the characters.

I literally could fill two pages with how I felt about this book but I won't. AND TRUST ME I did not write this review with the purpose of down playing this author's work because I'm sure it's for someone. I mean this book has more five stars than it doesn't. So there's that.

I am just here to share my honest and true opinion. And this is it. I do not like this book. I am bothered by the characters and I don't want anything else to do with this book. I want to act like it never happened.

(I will be sharing Tika's review which is probably far more funny and better than my own--when it's posted. I wish you all could have been a fly on the wall.)


  1. Aww I'm sorry you guys didn't like it. I'm one of the five star reviews because I just fell for it hard which means I'm sure I overlooked it's issues. Totally respect your opinion though.

    1. Yeah we hated it but thanks for respecting my opinion like I respect yours! :)

  2. There is nothing worse than being sure you are going to love a book and then being so disappointed with it. I'm so sorry this didn't work out for either of you.

  3. As a Californian, I can say that I say dude at least once a day, but not in every one of my conversations. But I have never in my life used the word "righteous" outside of poking fun at it. I'm sorry you guys didn't like this one but I really appreciate your honest review/rant! I definitely don't think I'll be picking this one up anytime soon, I don't think I could stand the mundane phone conversations or the MC's overly happy/fake outlook. Thanks for the honesty!

    1. You know I was honestly curious if people really said dude that often. I didn't know if the author was putting me on or not. I've never been to California and only know what Californian--who doesn't say dude.

      If you do ever pick this one up--I hope you feel it does Californian's justice!

  4. Doesn't it piss you off when EVERYONE loves a book, but you just don't see why they love it? Dumplin' and a few others I've read this year have made me stop going crazy about reading a book that everyone loves. I think everyone loved Dumplin' because the MC is a big girl. That's it. Nothing else in that book is any different from other YA books. I'm scratching this one off my list. I trust you and Tika on this one. I can't wait to read her review, because that girl has no shame. LOL

    1. It kind of does because it has you thinking well, what's wrong with me? What did I read? No, what's wrong with them? I'm just glad it's all said and done!

  5. There's nothing worse than reading a book that everyone else likes but you can't stand. At least you're being honest about it! I've read so many over-hyped books and not liked them I often feel a bit left out but if you don't like it you don't like it. I hate characters that are too upbeat. I just read a book where the MC was so dang peppy all the time it annoyed the heck out of me. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this I hope you find something wonderful soon.

    1. Thanks, Taylor. I definitely didn't think this one lived up to the hype--not for me anyway!

  6. Oh boy, issues galore. Typically these same issues bug me too so I'm interested to see how I fare with it. This one has been high on my TBR for quite a while and I hope to get to it soon. But, for good or for bad, when I'm loving a book - the storyline or the characters or whatever - I tend to overlook any issues and be uber forgiving of its weaknesses just because I love other elements so much. Guess I'll see what side I come out on with this one. Sorry that it just didn't work for you, Jazmen.

  7. Oh I just hate it when everyone loves a book and then I'm the one that hates it. I always worry people will want to lynch me over it. *Cough, The Martian...cough, cough* I'm glad you won't change your mind though! Not every book is for everyone and as much as it stinks being the odd one out that doesn't like it, that's okay though. I think I will pass on this one because it doesn't even sound like a book that I would like. I hope your next read is better and thanks for the honest review. :D :D

  8. I've never even heard of this book, but it does sound like the author took great liberties at making the character seem larger than life, as it were. I can sense your disappointment and frustration with this book. Lol.

  9. It always feels bad and kind of unbelievable when you dislike a popular book. But if you do, you do! I have been at same place as yours in case of quite a few books. I have not heard about this book but the plot doesn't sound that great. After reading your review am not sure if I will pick it up.

  10. As a native So Cal person, dude is definitely in my vocabulary and is used between 1 and 10 times a day (when I'm not making fun of it). As far as righteous.....As I told Tika on twitter, outside of 80s stoner movies (and making fun of it and the surfer culture in general) I've NEVER heard it uttered seriously. Right on? yes. Righteous? no.

    And for me and my group of people I associate with, dude is gender neutral and applies to inanimate objects as well. But that's my own 2 cents

  11. Ouch I don't feel like this is one I could happily read! It sounds like the author really did try hard to make a character who was optimistic about life and strong - but that things went a little too overboard so that she became impossible to relate to as well as far too perfect...

  12. I have never heard of this book?? Ever? But I don't think I have really read any YA recently that took place in California, and I'm pretty sure it's because I won't really understand the cultural differences between the East Coast and the West Coast (another reason why I didn't apply to any colleges there).

    I don't think I would like the characters, I really HATE judgmental people (unless they are judging hateful and bigoted people, then I like them), and I have to agree that always being happy and rainbows is really hard to take in as a reader. I would be annoyed at said happiness. haha.

    Anyways, I really hope your next read is better! At least you had someone to rant about it with :)