Friday, February 22, 2013

A DNF Review of The Downfall of a Good Girl by Kimberly Lang

The Downfall of a Good GirlWhen the Harlequin's new Kiss series came out, I bought all of them. I was pretty optimistic that they would be good, fluffy fun. This one, however, was something of a cliche filled mess.

The basic premise is that Vivienne and Connor are in a contest for charity, to see who can raise the most money--Vivi is the Saint, while Connor is the Sinner. Connor is a famous musician, while Vivi is a beloved community darling and former beauty queen. The two have a history, and so the whole community is eager to see the showdown as heat erupts between them.

I got a little over halfway through this book before I ultimately through in the towel. To begin with, I thought the premise was silly. I didn't imagine I could become invested in the race to raise money through charm and popularity, and I was not wrong. I found it impossible to relate to Vivi, the pretty, popular, and obsessively involved paragon. I couldn't find any depth in her, although admittedly I wasn't looking that hard.

And then there's the cliches. Now, let me be clear: tropes and cliches can work for a book. They can. Authors can find ways to write inside and outside and all around the box, mix things up, and put new spins on familiar cliches so that they don't come across as tired. That's pretty much all that good authors do. This book does not use it's cliches to it's advantage, though. The fun, bad boy hero needles the supposedly uptight heroine in the most obvious way possible. They don't end up coming across like real people, and the supposed "history" between them is too hollow to improve on that. So they trade a lot of very forced dialogue (the dialogue in this book is crappy overall), and they make each other's naughty bits tingle for some reason.

The scene that broke me was one one where Vivi and Connor get trapped in a closet together. A cliched scene based on the laziest of lazy writing. Writers like this cliche because of the forced intimacy it generates and, again, it can be done well. In this case though, I was already pretty frustrated, so having our couple play awkward boner in a broom closet was enough to destroy my resolve to finish the story.

To conclude, I of course recommend against this book on the grounds that it is poorly written and terribly unimaginative. I will not be reading any future offerings from Lang in the Kiss line. DNF

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