Hello blogosphere, it’s ya girl Shiggy! If you follow my bookstagram, you I’m really trying to make a dent in my ‘to-be-read’ list– and I’ve actually been pretty successful! I’ve read like 3 books in the last week! Anyway, along with that, I think it’s important for me to take a little time after each book to get in the practice of reflecting about what I like and dislike so that I’m aware for my own writing, but also so I can see the warning signs of a book I’m not going to be a fan of much earlier on.
SO, introducing Rapid Fire Reviews! These reviews will consist of 5 parts; name and author, a quick spoiler-free synopsis, context of how I got the book and what my expectations were, if/how those expectations were met, and the most importantly question, ‘if I’m busy af and can only read a few of the amazing books out there, is this one worth it?’.
I know at some point I’ll want to write full reviews that are thoughtful and in-depth (with quoted sections and everything!), but I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that something I have the time or energy for at the moment, you know? Baby steps!
Anyway, without further ado, here’s my rapid review for The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close.
The Hopefuls is about a newlywed couple, Beth and Matt, who’ve recently moved to D.C. After being so involved in the Obama campaign, Matt has decided to leave his stable lawyer job for the fast life of American politics, and the story follows Beth as she struggles to deal with the changes. And oh boy, does she struggle– with the weather, her in-laws who she has to see more often, with finding a new job since she got fired from Vanity Fair. It isn’t until we’re introduced to Matt’s colleagues, Jimmy, and his wife, Ashleigh, that things start to get a little bit more interesting for the couple. They get incredibly close– dynamic duos on both sides– until Jimmy starts to rise in the political scene as Matt starts to trail. That’s when things take a turn, and by the end, rumors, jealousy, and competition take over their friendships for the worse.
Now I got this book as part of a big book haul after I got this free Amazon gift card, and since I have a great interest in politics, D.C., and power, I thought this cute chick-lit type of book on the topic would be a fun quick read. I didn’t expect it to be deep or all-around meaningful, but I did expect to get something out of it or at least fall in love with some new characters. I mean, politics? Drama? Love? A recipe for success!
Except, that did not happen for me. My biggest problem with the book is that it was clear within the first chapter that Beth and Matt were not happy together– they didn’t seem to have anything in common or passion in their relationship? That made the rest of the book really difficult because I couldn’t understand why she was putting in effort and trying to make things work if all signs scream go!. I would’ve been really interested to know a reason to add some complexity to a really passive Beth, but it just wasn’t there. (And it also pained me how passive she was! Like any time they had an argument, the chapter would end on Matt’s words and thoughts, not hers! Girl, get yours!!) Along with that, all of the characters in the book didn’t really have any redeeming qualities? I couldn’t tell why I was supposed to root for any single person’s interests (and there were so many at play here) beyond just general sympathy. And if one of these guys is supposed to be such a great politician, winning the hearts and minds everywhere, it was ironic to me that I didn’t feel that at all when reading the dialogue. The book is like a love letter to the Obama administration, which I needed a little bit in this political climate– but even so, I think it was a bit much. I understand the men were obsessed with their jobs, they idolized the White House, they idolized the president– but after that’s been established, why continue?
There was a lot of potential in this book– and I mean, I loved the Ash character because she was so eccentric and unique and fun to read. She was a bright spot in their, otherwise, dreary D.C. environment and I would’ve loved to have seen her character been developed more. But as it stands, I felt like there was a lot of missed opportunity, and if you were choosing between this and something else out there, I’ve got to regretfully say that this one isn’t worth it.
Anyway, this review ended up being a lot longer that I thought it would be– but I had a lot of thoughts because I had such high hopes!!! Definitely leave me a comment if you’ve read this book and agree/disagree or if you’ve ever been majorly let down by a book.
As always, thanks for stopping by!