Review: When It Rains by Lisa De Jong

When it rains lisa de jong
When it rains lisa de jong

Title: When It Rains 
Author: Lisa De Jong 
Series: Rains #1 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, NA 
Publication date: September 25, 2013 
Rating: ★ 

One night changed my life forever. Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it's more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can't. I haven’t told anyone. I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone. Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn't care who I used to be, he's simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been saved. And I’ve found hope. I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…

From now on, when it rains, think of me.

When It Rains was a long cry from what I had hoped it to be. After seeing so many high ratings, I just had to fall in love with these characters and this story. But things turned out a little differently. This has instantly become the worst reading experience of the year. I’m not even going to pretend to soften the blow. I absolutely hated the book. There was not a single part I liked, except maybe the quote at the top. If I could give it only 0.5 stars, I would. I couldn’t even applaud it for being short, because it felt like it would never end.

Just a heads-up, this review is not spoiler-free. If you plan on reading the book you might want to stop here. Then again I’m not sure if it even matters because the story was awfully predictable anyway. But it’s up to you. You have officially been warned.

First let me tell you what the book is about. When It Rains tells the story of a girl who is raped. Then it deals with the struggles that come with such a horrific event. Trust issues, anger, shame and the fact that it is impossible to start a relationship with the best friend the girl is in love with. Then it becomes the tale of the best friend leaving for college. Then it becomes the story of the new hot guy in town. Soon that turns into a romance with the new hot guy. Then the hot guy has a secret. Then suddenly it becomes the story of a boyfriend with cancer. Then it becomes the story of a having a boyfriend dying of cancer. Then it goes on to dealing with the death of said boyfriend. After which the story settles on the girl falling back in love with the best friend. And they live happily ever after.

Okay, before you accuse me of being heartless, please take a minute to process this. The book is somewhere around 300 pages long, is told over a time span of less than a year and somehow manages to deal with all that. These themes are horrible and I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I don’t take these events seriously. I do. But in this book, I just couldn’t. I constantly felt like there was drama just for the sake of drama. None of the themes were given the thoughtfulness they deserved. In all honesty, I feel like this book is a disgrace.

I didn’t feel any connection to the characters or the story. Even when the big bad terrible happened, I just really didn’t care. In fact I almost didn’t finish. Around halfway through the book I was entirely ready to give it up. The only reason I didn’t, is because I’m not a quitter. But this one made it real damn hard. It was boring and insufferably cheesy. There was all this drama going on and I was in no way compelled to keep reading. Instead I had to force myself through every chapter. 

And to make matters even worse, I couldn’t stand main character Kate. I wish I had just been indifferent towards her but instead I thought she was a real bitch and a walking contradiction. She is in love with her best friend Beau but because of what she’s been through she can’t commit herself to a relationship with him. She can’t even touch people. I get that. Trust issues are to be expected after what had been done to her. Then Beau leaves for college and she doesn’t know how she will ever manage without him. BUT! Tadaddaa, a couple of days later a complete stranger (Asher) asks her out and before long she is holding hands with the guy she has literally just met. Makes perfect sense. What is making even more sense is her completely ignoring best friend Beau when he calls. Or texts. Or wants to visit. The one time she does pick up the phone, she asks him to please leave her alone and stop pining for her. I mean, it has been two weeks - can the guy get a grip already? … Do you see what I mean? The book is basically the epic tale of Kate ditching her best friend for the guy she is in love with. But oh - when things turn bad, then she needs him. I absolutely loathe this kind of people.

There’s a difference between soul mates and true love. Looking at the surface, they are similar, but when I dug deep down inside, I found they were different. Is one type of love better than the other? I don’t know but I’m lucky enough to have found them both. 

The romance is as ridiculous as this quote. Asher goes to Kate’s diner once, and ‘just knows’ that Kate is special. And Kate looks into his eyes once and feels that Asher is a guy she can trust. She doesn’t trust anyone in the world, hasn’t even told her mother what she’s been through - plus, talk in town is that Asher can not be trusted - but Kate looks into his eyes and falls in love. Isn’t that beautiful? *wipes away tear* No, seriously. She can be attracted to him all she wants, but this is complete bullshit. He’s a stranger. He’s hot and seems kind, but he’s still a stranger. And she has major trust issues. But she goes on a date with him anyway. Because he dares her and she is real daredevil. Sorry, I should have told you that before. Except I had no idea up until that moment that she was one. And so it all starts. Their relationship is nothing but a couple of significant moments, there is never a ‘true’ feeling of them being together. I never felt like any time had passed or that they got to know each other on a deeper lever.

Everything was so rushed, it was impossible to believe any of it. The relationship between Asher and Kate was instalove to the core. Kate was talking about ‘always and forever’ when she had known him for all but a couple of days. There is also the fact that Asher seems absolutely fine until suddenly Kate finds him throwing up in the bathroom. The next day he isn’t even able to get out of bed anymore. Cancer is a terrible disease but it doesn’t work this way. She hadn’t even noticed he was sick and the next day he’s practically dead. Sorry for not buying it. And of course this is the perfect incentive for lots of drama and cheese. 

But the best part is yet to come. A couple of weeks after Asher passed away, Kate starts to feel like she should move on. And who has been waiting for her all this time? Right, Beau! So she goes back to him and realises he has always been her true love and that in fact, he is her forever. That she pushed him away and treated him like a piece of shit is easily forgotten as they live happily ever after.

The writing is terrible, which the story itself made pretty clear already. It is also endlessly repetitive. Whenever main character Kate had a thought, I rolled my eyes thinking Yes, you said that at least three times before. Time to move on. I get that the character was struggling, but a little creativity surely isn’t too much to ask. As a writer it is your job to find different ways to same things. And it was all so impossibly cheesy. Like the sentences were picked straight out of a bad romcom. But the problem wasn’t in the inner monologue alone. It was in everything. For instance the descriptions of Asher. The guy was always wearing blue. It seems silly, but once I started noticing it, it was impossible to let it go. His shirts were marine blue, light blue, sky blue, his jeans were grey blue or dark blue - I MEAN SERIOUSLY. I would really like to see the guy’s closet. Must be a real sight. And I could go on and on about similar examples of poor writing.

There were also a whole lot of things that didn’t make sense. I told you about the many contradictions, but there was also a huge lack of common sense. Like when Asher is sick and suddenly Kate is the only one to take care of him. They have known each other for a couple of weeks and suddenly she is the one to tell his father what to do. Or to invite his mother who lives a couple of hours away. WHAT MOTHER ISN’T AT HER SON’S SIDE WHEN HE IS DYING? And even then she visits and an hour later she is out the door already. And no, they did not have a strained relationship.

The more I write, the more of my initial frustrations come up again. I could fill at least three more pages with everything that was wrong with this book, but you didn’t sign up for that. I’m going to let it go here. Unsurprisingly, I’m not planning on reading the sequel. 

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