Monday, May 19, 2014

DNF Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
Release date: May 20th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Superlatives series
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 336 pages
Rating: Whomp whomppppp


Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

So... that didn't last long. Usually when I DNF a book as early as this, I don't review it, but I wanted to do a little review of Biggest Flirts because it's definitely an "it's not you, it's me" situation. For the right person at the right time, this book could work. With a little bit more patience, I might have broken through the rough beginning and partially enjoyed this, but we just didn't connect, and so I couldn't.
Anyway, Biggest Flirts stars Tia Cruz (diversity ftw!) (though I did not get far enough into this book to find out if the redhaired girl on the cover is white washing). The book opens with Tia meeting the new kid in school, Will from Minnesota, at a party. Here are some choice quotes so you can see if the writing in this book will work for you (commentary obviously by me explaining why, well, it did not work for me):

The diffuse light made everybody look better: smoothed out acne, canceled a bad hair day.

That's an annoying sentence with some wonky grammar in it that I'm just itching to correct.

The lukewarm welcome probably wasn't fair. It's just that we remembered what a tattletale she'd been in ninth grade...As she walked through, some people turned their heads away so she couldn't jot down their names and report back to their parents.

What drew me in despite my misgivings was the diamond stud in his ear. Who knew what he was trying to say with this fashion statement. Unfortunately for me, I was a sucker for a bad boy, and his earring flashed moonlight at me like a homing beacon under a banner that said This Way to Pirate.

What? No really, what? Does Will have a diamond in his ear or a lighthouse? This Way to Pirate?!

"The Crab Lab may sound unappetizing, but it's an unwritten rule that names of stores in a tourist town have to alliterate or rhyme. What else are you going to call a seafood joint? Lobster Mobster? Hey, that's actually pretty good." I doubled over, cracking up at my own joke.

Echols is clearly going for a bubbly, talkative, life-of-the-party girl, but she's not funny, she's bugging me, and I keep thinking her name is Aunt Cruz, since tia means aunt in Spanish. I don't mind Tia's self-described "drunk floozy"-ness, because let's be honest, I am very fond of drunk floozies, but this girl's narrative voice is just grating to me. Stop keeling over to guffaw at your own jokes, girl.

We're flung right into Tia and Will's first meeting at a party (as in, the very first line of the book is Will's opening line to Tia, which is the brilliant, "Are you Tia Cruz?"). So I wasn't really sure a) why I cared about these people b) what the actual story is going to be or c) why we couldn't have gotten like one tiny half conversation to put this in some sort of context. I don't know. We just get a really long semi-flirty semi-obnoxious conversation for pages and pages. Also she calls Will a sexy pirate because he has longish hair and a diamond stud, which, ew.

Also we meet soooo many characters in the opening chapter, and we're just expected to CARE but there is no PLOT yet. Like we get this verrry detailed, paragraph-long description of this Sawyer kid's hair and Italian heritage and that his mom lives in Georgia and his dad is in prison and the fact that he's the school mascot and that he saunters and to be honest it kind of read like slightly-better-than-average fan fiction. And then two characters get into a macho-off because this is a stereotypical high school party that was nothing like the beer-drinking parties I ever went to. I don't know. None of this is as hip as funny as it thinks it is. Whaaatever.

So, yeah. Grating narrative voice is grating, life is too short, goodbye book. I am sure you will go to a very loving readerly home to be enjoyed by a person who is not old and grumpy like I am. I wish you well, but we are just not mean to be. I tried. I did. I'm sorry.


  1. I had a feeling this book wasn't for me when you stated that the heroine couldn't get enough of the hero's Midwestern accent. Say what? I'm from the Midwest and we don't have accents. ;) Really, I've tried several of Echol's books and they never really work for me. I find her writing to be awkward. Even the handful of lines you've quoted serve to show why every time I pick up one of her books, it ends up on my DNF pile. And I agree with you that what I guess is supposed to be hilariously funny just...isn't at all. Who talks like that? I'm glad she works for other readers - different strokes - but thanks for saving me from wasting time trying again.

  2. I've really struggled with Jennifer Echols' books. The first one I read was Major Crush and I loved that one. Then I read Love Story, and I hated that book. The third book I read was The One That I Want which was so-so for me. And after that I just haven't had any desire to read her books. Based on your review, I'm quite sure that Biggest Flirts is definitely not for me. I am pretty sure that Tia would also just annoy me, and I have no desire to read about such an annoying character.

  3. Welllllll I am definitely not going to be reading this one. Like, just your review of the book makes it sound super annoying. And those sentences are so awkward and do not flow at all. Ew.

  4. Okay, so definitely don't want to read this, but DO want to go hunt for some cheese fries. Even though I just ate. Curse you and your food-taunting.

  5. I had all the same issues with the beginning chapter, but ended up really liking this in the end. I very nearly DNFed it at the same point but decided to give it one more chapter. Tia's voice changes (as does the writing) once she is sober the next day. It certainly isn't perfect, but yes, at the right time makes for a fun read.

  6. I saw this one coming! I've read three or four of Echols' books by this point and they're all pretty terrible. We don't even TALK about her NA novel Levitating Las Vegas because it was just that bad. It sucks you DNFed this one, but in the aftermath of you making me read Frozen, I'm indulging in more than a little schadenfreude at you reading one of her books and not liking it.

  7. ...No...just no. I will not be touching this one.

  8. I heard some good things about this book, and then I read your post. Those quotes...just no.


Note: comments on posts older than 90 days are automatically moderated, so they won't show up here immediately. Thanks for commenting! :)