Maddy thought she had it all together. An awesome new place with her best friend, an amazing boyfriend, and a great job. But it was all turned upside down when that same best friend and boyfriend turned out to be hooking up behind her back. So much for friendship and relationships and being able to split the rent, right? But going back home wasn't an option either, at least not for long, since her mom doesn't intend to let her stay. And that's when she found herself working at her old summer camp, alongside a guy who just might have been perfect for her — if only he didn't have a girlfriend.
The Verdict: I'm not a big fan of stories that begin with the boyfriend cheating and resulting break-up. I know it's usually a way to re-introduce the heroine to the dating world and maybe give her a few issues to work through, but when it's the cliched boyfriend+best friend = cheating scenario, it just doesn't start out well for me.
I guess I should point out that I also have trouble when the woman we're all supposed to cheer for is being kicked down left and right, which is pretty much how this whole book went for Maddy. First, she loses her boyfriend, and by extension her best friend and their new apartment. Then she loses the security of living at home with mom. Then she gets stuck with the bottom-of-the-totem-pole job at her old summer camp. Then she meets Mr. Right, only to learn that he already has a girlfriend, and they seem to be pretty happy together. The only thing that could possibly make her situation worse would be if she lied about everything in an attempt to make herself look cooler. Oh, wait. That's exactly what she did!
Somehow I managed to finish the book (thank God it was a short one!), but it never did turn itself around for me. I was stuck with a heroine I couldn't really identify with and certainly couldn't respect, as well as a potential hero who simply didn't make sense to me. Perhaps if more of their story had been included and made into a normal novel-length book, I would have found that connection eventually, but it was cut off too soon, before anything redeeming or even really that interesting could happen.
Part of me wonders if I should continue with the series because… Well, surely the whole story can't be that bad, can it? But if this intro was any indication, I should probably cut my losses with this one and find something else to read.
When I saw Madly, Deeply on NetGalley, I didn't know what I was getting into. The cover was lovely, the blurb even more so, and my expectations were spiraling upwards faster than I can scream, "Stop, it could be a TRAP!!!" as lots of books with gorgeous covers and equally arresting blurbs are wont to do. But before I knew it, the green button touted the words PENDING, and my request was sent. Fast forward a few days, and a copy pops up on my dashboard. And because I want to prolong the delicious suspense that is just killing me, I finish off the other new books first. (Yep, selecting which book to read first - and last - is this dramatic for me.) When I finished those, I sprawled on my bed, just because I have had enough of draping myself in my mother's chaise lounge earlier, and read.
And read, and made pitiful moaning sounds read, and made more wounded, dying animal sounds read.
Until it was The End.
Ladies and gents, Madly Deeply, is a short book, but it has also got to be the up there with the most gutting, let-me-splash-some-alcohol-on-your-wounds-and-sucker-punch-said-wounds book I've ever read.
My dear Ms Crouch, do you have poetry book-protein shakes for breakfast? Grilled poetry books for lunch? A light poetry book salad for dinner? No? ARE YOU SURE? Everything in this book is just pure poetry - the kind that is just obviously effortless, and sounds like it just comes naturally to the author. The narrative is lush, evocative, and all sorts of wonderful that it just is very fitting for the novel, which is a derivation of Poe's Annabel Lee.
I LOVED it because it has just the right amount of length to it - effectively without overstretching the story and overdramatizing the plot that some books are wont to do. It's short, but it's incredibly bittersweet because you have these two amazing characters who are so in love with each other and who are just about to start an amazing life together, only to have Fate intervene and crush everyone's dreams.
Madly, Deeply inevitably cuts readers where it hurts the most, but it will slowly soothe you, and at the end of the book, the reader will inevitably subconsciously touch the gash, only to find healed, yet puckered skin.
I cannot recommend Madly, Deeply enough to Poe fans and bittersweet romance aficionados alike.
"'Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" indeed.