Reviewed by Chris
SERIES: Responsible Adult #1
AUTHOR: C.F. White
PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing
LENGTH: 298 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 4, 2017
Love isn’t responsible
After his mother tragically dies and his deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for his disabled little brother, Flynn.
Juggling college, a dead-end job and Flynn’s special needs means Micky has to put his bad-boy past behind him and be the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn’t have time for anything else in his life.
Until he meets Dan…
Micky hasn’t always been the best of guys, sons, or brothers…but with a alcoholic dad, a dead mum, and a young brother with developmental issues, he might just have to do better. Or face losing Flynn, his brother, since Micky is the only one around to raise him. Unfortunately he has a bit of a past (and a criminal record) so going to the authorities for help is the last thing he can do. He figures, though, that if he can get a job, finish the education his skipped out on, and not start fights with random assholes, he might just be able to swing it.
Dan might not be all that impressed with Micky’s past, but he is willing to give the guy a second chance. He just might have to not tell his manager that Micky’s employment application is a bit thin on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Still, Dan is only hiring the guy to help stack shelves in a groceries store, not guard the Queen’s family jewels. A little fibbing couldn’t hurt…could it? And of course, his desire to stretch the truth has nothing to do with the way Micky fills out the god-awful store uniform. Not at all.
Ugh. Ok. The things I liked about this book.
I liked the way Flynn, Micky’s brother was written in this. He was a bit annoying, but then again I think he was supposed to be. I don’t know, there was just something about it that made me feel all the frustration, yet caring, that Micky feels when he is around the kid. He clearly loves his brother, and it shows, but Micky is also barely an adult himself stuck taking care of this kid who just doesn’t get the world the way most kids do. And raising any kid at that age has to be frustrating. Raising one with special needs has to be doubly so. I liked how the book balanced both those feelings out.
I also like Jason, Micky’s best friend. Sure he is an asshole, but by the end of this book he really started to be much more than that. This story could have easily left him as nothing more than this two-bit thug, but he genuinely cares about Micky and Flynn. And yeah, he is a bit of a douche, and I wanted to take a bat to his shins for what he does to Dan, but in the end I think you really get to see another side to him. For all that his book tends to lean a bit too much on the side of cliche, it doesn’t do that here and I appreciated it.
On the other hand…Dougie gets to be beaten to near death by the cliche bat. Fat, lazy, with poor hygiene and less than stellar mental capacity…Dougie is this stories punching bag from start to finish. Something about the way this character was written was really annoying. And I don’t know if it is just me, but it felt like the story wanted you to ridicule him, even though he doesn’t do anything to deserve it except not be someone sexually desirable to most people. He isn’t a bad guy, or mean–in fact he is the exact opposite. It felt mean and petty. Like he was written just to be there to be made fun of. Almost every scene he is in involves him either eating, or talking about eating–because heaven knows that is all fat people do. He is never once described in a positive light. He is a joke…and one I found to be not at all funny.
This book rides a bit too hard on the cliches to be honest. And while there was honest attempts at subverting some of them, there were others that I was less than impressed by. The women in this book do not come out in the best light. Except for the poor-sainted-dead-mother and maybe the roommate. But they don’t feature all that much in this story. True, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but I would have liked if it toned down the man-eating slut vibe on some of the female characters. There were also a few scenes of violence against one of the MCs, that was just shrugged off nearly three seconds later, which I found really odd.
Yet honestly a lot of the flaws of this book I was more than willing to shrug off. They were flawed characters, sure, but there was enough here for me to really get into the story and sympathize with them. And then the ending happened.
And by ending I mean it just ended. It felt like the last 10 percent of this book was just missing. There is no conclusion, no wrap up. The story culminates to this big reveal that it has been building up to for the whole story…and then just leaves you there hanging and going “what the fuck?”. I find cliffhangers annoying, but what I find unacceptable is an author that decides to purposefully end a story just so you will have to buy the next book to find out what happens–mostly because they don’t think their story is good enough hook you into the series in the first place (which annoyingly enough wasn’t actually an issue here). This ending felt like nothing more than a cash-grab, and it pissed me off to no end. People don’t give authors their hard-earned cash to just read 4/5 of a story. You want more of their money? Write a good story that compels them to want to know more about the characters or the world you’ve given them. Don’t play games with them.
Because my response to these types of things has been and always will be: fuck off. I honestly have no intention of reading book two now. Hell, I have no intention of reading this author again. I don’t care if I never find out what happens to these characters. I don’t like being played with. This story might have been flawed, but I could have easily seen myself coming back for another book before this stupid ending. I don’t demand happy-ever-afters out of my books. Hell, I can stomach cliffhangers if it feels like the author truly believes that the story needs more than one book to be told. I’ll happily read 800 pages books, but sometimes that is an unrealistic expectation on the author or other readers. I can deal. But this didn’t feel like that at all. It felt like the author just cut of the last 3 to 4 chapters of this book with the sole intent of selling another book. And that is something I will never find acceptable.
So, what was easily shaping up to be a 3.5-4 star read is now at 2 stars. Because I was that fucking annoyed when I finished reading this book. And maybe some might see that as a drastic overreaction, but I honestly don’t care. I expect more out of authors than tacky cash-grabs. I get that this is a livelihood for some, but you shouldn’t make money by purposefully short-changing your consumer base. It is a dickish move. This story deserved better than this. Or, at least, what this story could have been. I guess I’ll never know.