Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough (2 out of 5)

This was my third go-round with Sarah. I read and loved “Behind Her Eyes”, her first book. I read her young adult book, 13 Minutes. I didn’t get into it as much because it was very predictable, and I wanted to smack all of the full-of-themselves teenagers. This book was okay, but again, missing something. Sadly, I guessed what was going to happen, but it did rally toward the end and that saved it somewhat. As in, a 3-starred review instead of a 2-starred review. It delivered a spinach lasagna instead of a ham and cheese Hot Pocket. Don’t run into this thinking it’s a 3 alarm fire; it’s barely a smoldering campfire.

Lisa’s got a good job, a great teenage daughter named Ava, and her best friend Marilyn. Her world is small and kept that way for a reason. Then one of her clients begins flirting with her, and she entertains the thought that maybe she can stop trying to outrun her past. Lisa isn’t aware that her social media savvy daughter is communicating with some mysterious man online and that she is “in love” with the mystery man. Then Ava saves a little boy from drowning and she becomes a heroine, with the paparazzi in pursuit. This part of the novel rings true; once the media gets a tasty nugget, they follow in hot pursuit. Someone gets splashed all over the news, and Lisa’s past comes out. Ava is pissed at her mom for lying all these years…but Ava, too, has secrets. Everything grinds to a halt when Ava disappears. Marilyn, being not only the best friend but also the best thing about this book, steps up and in and tries to protect Lisa, even when it all blows up around her. Everything from this point up to the reveal of who Ava’s secret online paramour is and why this was orchestrated in the first place, is great. But once everything is out in the open? A collectively loud emphatic groan for how Pinborough winds it up. It was like “Fatal Attraction” for gophers playing miniature golf in cornfields. The intent to deliver a good time is strong with this one, but it fails on execution in multiple areas. Marilyn is a saint for putting up with Lisa; Ava is a typical teenager whose curiosities get the best, and almost, the last of her. Lisa is a weird juxtaposition between sympathetic and annoying, and the reader is never quite sure where to go with her. I would advise to hunt for that hard-to-put-down novel elsewhere.

~ by generationgbooks on September 17, 2018.

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