A month after losing her mother, Avery Edwards arrives on campus alone and shattered, hoping just to make it through the year and stay under the radar. Until she meets Declan Hargrove, ex-teen heartthrob and campus celebrity, who just so happens to be her Resident Advisor. With dark hair and striking blue eyes, Declan definitely lives up to the rumors…...unfortunately, so does his reputation.
The night before Avery arrived on campus, Declan was caught with his pants down. Literally. The “Stairwell Video”, as everyone dubs the sex tape, only makes Declan more desirable on campus, while it turns the girl into an instant pariah. Livid at the double standard, Avery does everything she can to stay away from him, which is easier said than done since they live in the same building…and considering the rumors definitely weren't exaggerating about his amazing abs.
But when they finally stop denying the sparks flying between them-in a closet at a frat party, no less-Avery panics and throws Declan under the bus in front of an entire audience ready to record them for posterity all over Instagram. But Avery's mistake on social media will affect more than just their social life. It turns out that rumors don't always tell the full truth, and when a new movie threatens to take Declan away from school, Avery might realize that falling for a star might not be so bad after all. (Goodreads)
*I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
2/5 stars, just okay...
To begin, let me say that I hate "instalove" in books, referring to when two characters instantly fall in love with each other when they barely know one another. I thought this was a cheeky nod to that trope, but it turns out that it referred to Instagram...and also the act of instalove. Sigh.
Also, this book is promoted as New Adult, which I didn't feel that it was. To me, this is a YA book. The main character is 17/18, but her love interest is a 21 year old...I found this gross, especially considering he's in a position of "power" over her as her RA. Why would an 'adult' even be interested in a teenager like that? Especially one he sees as innocent and vulnerable (eyeroll). He's always attempting to "protect" her from things, but he should keep himself away as the first step in doing that.
Overall, Instalove did not impress me. It took a bunch of played-out things (over protective love interest, guy who gets "friend-zoned," back and forth hate/love, "hot famous dude falls for 'average girl'," horrible communication between the love interests that is immediately dismissed as fine, among other things) and mushed them together. The book was not very cohesive when it came to characters, what they wanted, and how they acted on those wants. For example, in any given scene, the characters are fine with each other (whether it be the main character, her love interest, her roommates and dormmates) and the next scene they are mad at each other or mean to each other with no explanation. Not only that, but some characters were introduced off the page and then just show up and the main character, Avery, has a friendship with them even though it's been like a day? The timeline for this entire book is a month, but if the interactions don't involve talking about Declan or talking with Declan, the time is explained away with a few sentences.
Since there wasn't much of a plot, I guess it could be said that Avery lusts after her off-limits RA, Declan, like every other girl around her, but she tries to be "better" than them and act like she doesn't. He acts like he's trying to protect her from things by singling her out, bossing her around, and then being totally nice to her. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It got boring and frustrating. There was a lot of emotional manipulation going on that was poorly disguised as quirky romance. Avery has a lot of issues (her mother, her father, her ex-boyfriend) and yet Declan, who claims he wants to protect her, doesn't actually do that.
The only things I can say that I liked about this book were Raina, one of Avery's dormmates; the fact that the book was a quick read; and that there were a few fun college scenes. I will say that during an intense(ish) moment between Avery and her ex-boyfriend, I was expecting Declan to come to the "rescue," but THANK GOODNESS, he did not. There's only so much girl-can't-fend-for-herself crap I can take in a book.
Would I recommend this book? Probably not. It wasn't for me. Sometimes I like books like this, but there wasn't enough original/unique content for me to feel that it ended up being worthy of my time.
Instalove will be released March 8, 2016.