99 Percent Mine - Sally Thorne
A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Darcy Barrett has travelled the world and can safely say that there is no man that measures up to Tom Valeska. Tom's only flaw is that Darcy's twin brother, Jamie, claimed him first and that he is 99% loyal to her brother.
When the twins inherit a rundown cottage from their grandmother, they are tasked with restoring it and selling it. Before Darcy can set sail on her next adventure, house-flipper Tom has arrived in a tight t-shirt with his power tools (and hot tool belt) and he's single.
Darcy decides to stick around for a while. It's not because she's been in love with Tom since she was eight-years-old, or that his face has inspired her to pick up her camera after her failed stint as a wedding photographer left her doubting her talent, it's to make sure that Jamie doesn't ruin the cottage's aesthetic with his modern taste. Right?
Can Darcy's delicate heart take being this close to Tom? And can she turn the tables and make Tom 99 percent hers?
I loved The Hating Game. It was clever, sharp, and cheeky! But this book...I only liked it. Okay so here's what I think happened: Thorne fell down with her character development. Take Darcy for example, she's honest, and raw, but uses sarcasm and snark to hide behind her perceived tough exterior. But this felt a bit forced and clichéd, and she ends up just being difficult and unlikeable. Tom is your classic 'boy next door' type and although endearing, he was almost too good and dare I say...flat? It felt like he was written to be the polar opposite of Darcy to make their relationship more layered and complicated, but again, this seemed to be a tactic. You never get a sense of who he really is and he seems to be constantly eclipsed by those closest to him (his mother, his best friend, and now Darcy). And can we just talk about Jamie for a second? What a jerk. I have the sneaking suspicion that he was underdeveloped because he will be a main character in another book.
The plot came off as formulaic and a bit basic. I don't want to get into too much detail here as to not give anything away, but I'm sure you can guess what happens. I wanted the goods—I wanted more of their childhood, more about Tom and his mother, about Darcy's travels and her "Felicity" moment of cutting her hair, and more about Jamie (maybe then I wouldn't think he was such a tosser). These relationships are the framework of the character development but they were underdeveloped and therefore produce some underwhelming characters.
Where Thorne excels is with the ability to completely draw the reader in and not let go until the end. She is incredibly engaging and I completely devoured both of her books in one sitting. It is for this reason that she is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I will read anything she writes. There is an ease to her writing and she has such an ear for conversation and banter which translates extremely well on the page.
While this book might not have been everything I had hoped it would be, there are going to be those that love it. I just didn't love it as much as The Hating Game. I mean, Josh Templeman... Enough said.