The Girl on the Half Shell by Susan Ward

Ok, friends.  I’m super torn.  I’ve been in such a funk this week.  Like read-6-books-hiding-from-the-world kind of funk this week.  I think it was part birthday (getting old makes us all a little more pensive) and part this book.  To be fair, 4 of the 6 books were this series, so maybe that only counts as 3 books?  I digress, it doesn’t really matter…

To start, I’ll be posting my reviews over the next few days, so be ready for a LOT of book reviews.  I think now I just have to get it all on paper to complete the “feel better” portion of my phase. So:

The Girl on the Half Shell – I seriously think none of the titles in this series make any sense.  None.  The first book in the series introduces us to our main players: Chrissie Parker and her best friend Rene make trouble in Santa Barbara, meeting wannabe rocker Neil Stanton, and later actual rocker Alan Manzone in NY while on Spring Break.

  • Rene is annoying.  Everyone in the book questions why Chrissie is friends with her, and honestly I do as well.  She’s pushy, obnoxious, and seemingly breaks girl code when it comes to guys.  What’s up with that?  If you’re going to make her a series bestie, give her a redeeming quality.  Please.
  • Chrissie is a rich girl.  Ward tries to make her down to earth, but it doesn’t really work.  She auditions at Julliard but tanks it on purpose because she doesn’t want to go, but doesn’t “know” how to say she doesn’t want to go.  Waste of money on the trip out there and time/encouragement from family and friends.  This is just one of the ways she exhibits spoiled behavior.
  • The relationship with Alan Manzone is weird.  Like controlling, drug fueled, Twilight-esque controlling weird.  While I think the drinking and drugs are fair for rockers in the ’80s as the book is set, the relationship feels super unhealthy.

Ok, I feel like I just dumped all over the book, but I read all four of them in 2 days.  Like called in sick, didn’t talk to my husband, two days, so clearly there was something about this book that was redeeming…

  • Chrissie has stuff to work through.  I think it seems perfectly plausible that after some of what she’s lived through, she’s screwed up.  Which kind of supports the unhealthy Alan relationship she has over Spring Break.
  • Minus falling for a rock star and having him feel the same way (which the book does provide a feasible answer to with her dad being a famous artist from the ’60s), the book seems super realistic.  All 4 books feel like you’re just living someone’s life.  There’s not some super dangerous stalker out to kill her or other nonsense.  I think this is part of why the book hit me so hard.  It seriously feels like living someone else’s life.

I honestly don’t know if I recommend the book.  If you’re looking for a breezy contemporary romance (the reason I started it), this isn’t necessarily it.  Yes, it’s like a much longer contemporary romance with conflict and sex, but it feels a little too heavy to be light reading like one would expect with that type of book.  Overall the series left me pensive, so there’s that going for it.

Read my review of the other books here: Book 2, Book 3, Book 4

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