Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unlovable by Sherry Gammon: Book Review

Title: Unlovable
Author: Sherry Gammon
Pages: 307
Published: January 19, 2011 by Wordpainting Unlimited, Inc.


Summary: Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He's been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren't going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He's harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he's trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love.

Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.
Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother. A task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother's health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie's life into a tale-spin.

While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly.

Seth and Maggie's romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery.
My Thoughts:

A mother too drunk to get off the couch, a girl who has put up with her drunk mother since she lost her grandparents at the age of four, an undercover cop who is trying to breakup the drug ring that has been circling around the city killing off people: that is what awaits in Unlovable by Sherry Gammon.

A heart wrenching contemporary thriller, Unlovable is the story of a girl and what she must do to survive. Maggie's mother has always drank, at least as far back as Maggie can remember. If it wouldn't have been for the drunk driver that killed her grandparents, Maggie wouldn't have had to move in and take care of her mother at the age of four. Most days and nights her mom is passed out on the couch, drunk. But for Maggie, this has always been her life so she deals with it the best way she can.

Seth Prescott, a member of the Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) is currently undercover as a senior at Port Fare High School. Seth and a couple others from his team have infiltrated the school in an effort to find the supplier of the heroin that has been causing the deaths around the city. Highly trained and highly attractive, Seth must find the supplier before more people wind up dead.

I had mixed feelings when reading Unlovable and if I could rate it in sections I would say I liked the first half, but I loved the second half. It was like Ms. Gammon's writing just kept getting better and better as the book progressed. Writing in a double narrative, as Unlovable is, is never an easy thing [as I said in a totally unrelated book review], but Ms. Gammon was able to make it mostly work. I could definitely differentiate between the two narrators, Maggie and Seth, their unique voices pushing through the chapters. I could feel the older voice of Seth when he spoke and Maggie's younger voice with an added judgmental air about it almost always told me it was her speaking.

Seth--sans some of the beginning chapters because he was kind of cheesy--was actually a freakishly awesome guy. He was strong, kind, sweet and understanding more than anyone ever should be. He was pretty humble and protective and full of this unyielding passion for most things around him and most people for that matter. Seth had suffered a lot in his life and I think it kind of made him into this saintlike guy. I would say, the only problem I had with Seth was that he was too perfect. I had a hard time connecting with him if only for that reason, but in the end I still really loved him.

Maggie on the other hand I had a little trouble getting to like and I couldn't really figure out why Seth liked her. She was awfully judgmental and just assumed that Seth was a jerk because he hung out with the popular crowd and because he was freakishly sexy. Now, I can totally say that in high school I was guilty of the same thing so I guess I couldn't hold it against her...at first. But she kept at it for awhile and I kind of wanted to hurt her. About halfway through the book she finally develops enough as a human being to realize she's being an idiot, because Seth is unfailingly kind and sweet and doesn't deserve her attitude, and I could finally like her.

The last half of the book was so much different from the rest. I think it's because the characters finally took on a more layered characterization as did the plot. It kind of turned the whole book around for me and the only thing that I can say is that everything just kind of turned technicolor and seemed a lot more real. Seth was a little less perfect, Maggie had emotions every shade of the rainbow and the plot was fast paced and intense. A couple of the parts may have been a bit unrealistic, but it didn't really bother me.
"[...]He wrapped his warm hands around my face and pulled me next to him.

"Are you saying I don't matter to you?" (Seth)

"No. We're friends, good friends." I swallowed hard at my words.

"So if I were to kiss you, it wouldn't mean a thing to you?"

"It'd be like kissing my brother," I whispered.

"Is that right?" He ran his thumbs along my jaw, sending a shiver up my back. He smiled. "Let me show you who the delusional one is, Maggie. Oh, and if I'm boring you, feel free to stop me at any time." He leaned forward and in one swift motion captured my mouth with his before I could utter a word.

Overall, Unlovable turned out to be a pretty good read and the fact that I couldn't get Seth and his relationship with Maggie out of my head for a good couple days only proves as much. Sherry Gammon has a way with dialogue that really gets to a reader and I loved the interactions between Seth and Maggie and all of the sub-characters. I give Unlovable a 3.5/5 and recommend it to those who enjoy clean YA Fiction, Thrillers and Law and Order type books. And while it's not categorized as Christian Fiction, some of the writing reminds me of it. I'd definitely put it in Inspy Fiction.
The Author

11 comments:

  1. Gah that first paragraph is making me depressed! It sounds like the author did a really good job differentiating the narrative voices though, so that's good :)

    Thank you SO MUCH for adding our button! You are so filled with awesome :D I hope you enjoy our event!

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  2. Sounds pretty good. I like the sound of the second half especially with the characters. I still have to say though that title and the cover really draws you in!

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  3. Sounds like a good read, Jen. I couldn't help but picture Johnny Depp circa 21 Jump St. as Seth. Heh. I like how the second half is better than the first regarding the depth of the characters. And I really liked that quote you picked. Very swoony. :)

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  4. You know, just because I'm freakishly sexy, don't mean I don't have feelings, so I probably would have wanted to hurt Maggie too. :P

    I'm a huge fan of duel narrators, but I don't know about Seth. Sounds like he wasn't developed very organically, but rather, "this is why you should swoon over him". But I'm reluctant to give him or the author a hard time about it, because they essentially are giving me what I want, which is someone to swoon over. LOL

    Okay, I need to get out of here because I'm making no sense. Awesome review as always, Jen. You always manage to crack me up and make me think, which is a hard thing to do...well the last part at least. :)

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  5. "But she kept at it for awhile and I kind of wanted to hurt her."

    You never fail to make me laugh:) I think I would be forced to direct some violent thoughts Maggie's way as well for behaving like that, but I'm glad she sheds her skin of idiocy and becomes likable toward the end! Win.

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  6. Lol, a great review but I am not sure about the book. A close-to-perfect guys, those who seem to have it all, good looks, good manners and a good amount of intelligence not to mention some sensitivity - these are guys I avoid in fiction and in real life as well. Especially if they fall all of a sudden for a girl who seems to have no assets at all. Such a premise makes me always deeply suspicious.

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  7. Your reviews are so great Jen...:) I just got this one for review so Im looking forward to see what my take is on it....idiots who get smart...always=recipe for a good book.

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  8. I've had this one forever!! Really been wanting to read it!! The whole Christian fiction thing kinda puts me off... But I know there's a difference in clean and Christian- so we'll see!! Awesome review chick! <3

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  9. @Small - I was happily surprised that she was able to do so well with the double narrative. It's never an easy thing to accomplish.

    @Melissa - The cover is my VERY favorite thing about this book. I absolutely LOVE it to pieces.

    @Missie - *hugs freakishly sexy Missie* I know, hunny. It happens to the best of us...feelings. o_o And, I so get what you're saying. There's like this frustration at his perfection and yet that's what we want in a man...perfection. So, he's swoonworthy and yet so perfect. Maybe I'm not making sense...LOL!

    @Jenny - Yah, I have a hard time with judgmental people. I've dealt with my fair share and I'm easily frustrated. But we've discussed my anger issues. o_o LOL! :D

    @Ana - Yah, I don't think this book is really up your alley. In fact I was kind of thinking of you as I was reading thinking, Brig would so tear this apart!

    @Tina - This is true! I think its definitely up Inspy Fiction's alley. I hope you like it!:D

    @Bookish - It's definitely NOT Christian Fiction, but some of the writing is essentially similar. It was a pretty good read though. I think you may like it.

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  10. I like Inspy fiction ... also love a good clean YA read (so many aren't). Thanks for the review!

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  11. Unlovable is a remarkable love story. Captivated within the first pages, this was a thrilling and quick read. I have found myself to be a sucker for the undercover ops men, but this was much more than the mysterious undercover gorgeous man. It was a story about Maggie, and her acholoic mother. It was about this young woman's courage to overcome everything that she should be and could be; to become something exceptional. More importantly it was about this young man's ability to see the superficial layers, and fall in love this poor abused girl that is too stubborn and hard headed to accept charity from anyone. Readers will envy the relationship of these two love birds. Indiviually they are giving and wonderful people, but together they are awe inspiring and exceptional. Both with difficult pasts Maggie and Seth are mature beyond their years. The level of commitment in the store with stop readers dead in their tracks. I loved every heartfelt minute of this story, and I am distraught to see it all come to a close.

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XOXO Jen the Bibliophile

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