I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista
Series: No Love Allowed #1
Published by Swoon Reads on April 19th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
It's all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.
Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!
Fake dating, a.k.a. fauxmance – one of my favorite tropes in romance novels. So, yeah, I couldn’t resist No Love Allowed. I like contemporary romances because regardless of quality, they’re breezes to read and I can usually find something entertaining or fun about them. No Love Allowed had that… and it didn’t. It was rather average, though undeniably disappointing in some parts.
Caleb and Didi meet and quickly engage in a fake dating arrangement. Caleb is a notorious heartbreaker who needs a “girlfriend” so that he can get away unscathed during all the high society events. (He’s rich as fuck.) Didi is poor, her mother’s working two jobs, she just lost her part-time job, and it sounds like a fun enough adventure for the summer. Caleb is clear: no love allowed. He has issues (surprise) because of the death of his mother, which turned his dad into a cold and heartless guy. Better to have no love, than to risk losing it. (Right.) Can you guess at all where this is going?
Contemporary romances are cliché nine times out of ten, and most of the time I don’t really mind that. If the characters are vibrant enough and the chemistry they have lights up on the page, I can easily give a cliché story five stars. No Love Allowed was not that story. The characters remained rather flat because the story is told in third person. And I could have mapped out the plot from the first chapter. There were a couple of entertaining moments, when there were the slightest sparks of chemistry and I cheered the couple on. Some of the glitz and glamour of the high society parties was fun to read about, in a Gossip Girl kind of way, especially with how Didi actually held her own there. And I did genuinely like reading about her passion for art. But clichés gave way to sap and then before I knew it, the story was over already.
Honestly, the way that the book is written from two third person points of view kind of diminishes the effect that the book could have had. Didi is obviously coping with a certain mental health issue – she’s seen taking meds in one of the first chapters, so that is not a spoiler. But I think it’s sad to have that be such a crucial part of the story but not to delve into her mind and explain what it feels like to live with that condition. When I finished the book I was honestly most disappointed by that. This could have been a really important and eye-opening story. But it wasn’t.
Lastly, I don’t know if it’s because I read an advanced copy, but there appeared to be some continuity errors. I hope they were fixed by the time the final copy went to print, because otherwise some of the behavior of these characters would be hella random. For example, at the beginning of the story, Didi gets “fired” from the country club – but after she trips, Amber yells at her, and she’s only pretty dumbfounded before throwing her name badge at her manager. Where did she get fired? Where did she have View Spoiler »a bipolar episode « Hide Spoiler as she describes it later? Another example, so late in the game I’m putting it all behind spoilers: View Spoiler »after the car accident, Caleb yells at his dad for not mentioning that Didi is bipolar, and his dad says he wouldn’t talk to him after their argument so he couldn’t have told him. But after he ran out on his dad, he got in the accident, and after he woke up, literally the first thing he’s told is that she’s bipolar. Where exactly was the delay in him finding out? « Hide Spoiler This book made little sense sometimes.