**ARC provided by author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
So you know that saying about not judging a book by it's cover? It is true. This book was judged based on the cover. In my defense, the cover is pretty cool with the bit of bokeh effect, and the faded image of the carnival, right? Right? Maybe not. So then I read the description, and it also looked decent. And I decided, why not? And....I shouldn't have done it. The book started off pretty good, meaningless hookup with a hot carnie (this should have been the first warning bell), followed by a night of crazy teenage partying (this should have been the second warning bell, but I did not listen). I guess I do know people who behave like this, but they drive me nuts in real life, so no surprise they drove me nuts in the book. I am NOT a partier like these people, throwing drugs around because I've never done it and don't want my boyfriend to feel he needs to hide it from me (alarm bells are blaring in the background now...but I still do not listen). I guess some people may like this book, but it just wasn't for me.
Between all of the above mentioned situations, and being a rude bitch to her ex, rolling with a drug dealer, staying at home instead of leaving for college, even though she has a very weak reason for doing so, I did not care for Charlie, our female lead character. The further I went into the book, the more ridiculous things she did. After realizing that her best friend had the hots for Charlie's ex and her dad (alarm bells gave up at this point, figuring I was just an idiot) I had a hard time finishing the book.
Charlie falls for Blue (our male lead), who is many things, but I do have to admit he is sweet, not the most upstanding citizen, but he does care for Charlie, and wants her to be happy in life. He even mentions that he would go back and let her be with her ex, if that is what she wants, yet she just didn't seem to care what he did for her. Blue has a few friends from the carnival, but he hates his dad, yet we never really get an explanation as why or how this came about (aside from the fact that his dad had him dealing drugs). Blue has gone and traveled much more than Charlie, who lives in a small town. Now, I was born and raised in a small town, and I know they are boring, but not boring enough to do many of the things done in this book. Blue wants to protect Charlie, and does a pretty decent job. Deep down they do care for each other, it just shows differently.
Overall, this book was ok, and I use that term loosely. The beginning was great, then progressively got worse. Which could be why I do not like it. It is hard to remember the good parts. I really liked Charlie's ex, he was a good guy, and would have taken care of Charlie until they died. I was shocked to see what happened to him by the end of the book (I'm trying not to give anything away here people, but I tip my hat to you if you make it that far). There were some funny parts in the book, but at most it made me giggle in my head, and I really give authors props when they can make me laugh out loud, instead of sitting on the couch with a scowl on my face. I may give this author another chance, the whole falling in love with a carnie and carnival aspect was original, and I liked that, but could have been done a bit better.
The plot had a few holes, and the story skipped around a bit. But, let's be honest here, the depiction of teenagers and college kids in the book was pretty dead on. To me this wasn't funny, it was sad, but true.