Getting What You Want, by Kathy Love

>> Monday, June 20, 2005

Kathy Love was one of the debut authors who got the most buzz last year. Her first book, Getting What You Want, got quite a bit of attention.

NOTE TO SELF: Remind me to have my head examined. What exactly possessed me to come home to Millbrook, Maine, where nothing changes but the weather? Oh, right. A six-month grant to do genetics research at Rand laboratories. What can I say—I’m a smart girl. And smart girls get what they need and get out again. Smart girls don’t dream, they settle. And smart girls do not get completely tongue-tied while holding a basket of fried clams when they bump into the most gorgeous man they haven’t seen in fifteen years: Chase Jordan.

Remind me to have my hormones removed. Chase Jordan. Town bad boy. Rebel with a cause to show up in my dreams unannounced. Oh boy, this is not good. Not smart. It’s like high school all over again. But in a good way. A heart-thumping way. An I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-to-happen way. A way that’s making me feel like maybe settling for what I have isn’t so smart…but really going after what I want is the craziest thing I may ever do...
After coming close to faltering in the first pages, GWYW shows a lot of promise. A B.

It took me almost a week to really get into it. I read the first 50 or so pages on the bus, but after that, I kept finding other stuff I wanted to read instead of picking this one up again. Why? In a word: Abby. The way she behaved at first was just painful. I hate books which have the supposedly intelligent and level-headed heroine behaving like a blabbing idiot whose mind just flies away the minute she goes near a good looking guy, and one she doesn't particularly like, at that.

But things improved when I decided to push on. Abby got her act together and stopped behaving like an idiot. She still had her insecurities and had a hard time believing Chase could really be attracted to her, but she soon lost that high-school sense of awe that the popular guy could really be interested in the class nerd and she and Chase startd relating like grown-ups.

Chase was a wonderful guy. He's sweet and responsible and crazy about Abby right from the first. He's got his own insecurities about something that isn't spelled out until right at the end of the book but was pretty obvious from early on. This felt to me at first like much ado about nothing, a manufactured conflict (a bit like that book in which the hero's (or heroine's? Can't remember) big secret, what made him so ashamed that he felt that any woman who found out would leave him, was that he was diabetic). However, when the secret became public, the author managed to convince me of the fact that this was a very big deal for Chase and that his insecurities were understandable.

Something I really liked about GWYW was that it often felt as if Love was coming really close to some truly irritating plot developments, but she changed tracks every time. For instance, there was Abby's relationship with her boyfriend Nelson. I feared the book would become bogged down in a really dumb conflict about Abby staying with him for no good reason, in spite of her feelings for Chase, but then, zoom! She quickly realized she was with Nelson for all the wrong reasons and immediately ended the relationship AND told Chase.

And then there were Summer's machinations, which had the potential to create some really stupid misunderstandings. They did create one, but Abby and Chase soon came to their senses and TALKED about it and got over the problem. Extra points for a) making Summer a real person, not completely evil, not completely nice b) having Chase be completely aware of Summer's true personality. No gullible idiot, he.

I also liked how the whole deal about Abby having been bullied at school was dealt with. She started out pretty unforgiving, and I confess I pretty much cheered her on when she delivered some stinging set-downs to her former tormentors. The good thing about this is that she progresses throughout the book, from somone still very much emotionally stuck in high school to someone who was ready to let go, to realize that all that was in the past and that some of the people who'd bullied her had changed as much as she had. I was especially happy that Love did this without making Abby look like an idiot. Even when she shows us how Abby used to come across as snobbish and cold, she doesn't blame her for it at all.

This was one of those increasingly rare contemps which are straight romance, no suspense subplot at all. I kept expecting something to come up (sabotage at the lab! a plot to take over the mayor's office!), but nothing happened, luckily!

Has anyone read Wanting What You Get, the book about the second Stepp sister, Ellie? How was it? I have to confess that for all that I liked GWYW, I didn't find Ellie or Mason all that interesting here, so I don't know whether to get that book. Any advice?


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP