I received a free copy of a book in exchange for an honest review. It’s a common enough deal. Unfortunately, I detested the book so much that I didn’t read the whole thing.

I’m not disparaging the author. She writes well. The editing was clean. Technically, the book was darned near flawless. It was the characters I detested.

There’s a reason I avoid “New Adult” romance and this book book exemplified that reason. “New Adult” romances often have stock characters: the naive and innocent heroine, the heroine’s wild and reckless best friend, and the “bad boy” hero who’s a man-whore and proud of it. The author nailed each stereotype, then it went downhill.

The heroine is not only sheltered and innocent, but she’s a blithering idiot. A musical prodigy, she’s led a sheltered, rigidly scheduled life. She’s 19 now and wants to loosen up and have some fun before heading off to college. Understandable. But, does she sit down with her parents and talk to them about feeling stifled before resorting to subterfuge? Of course not, she lets her best friend persuade her to sneak out, go to a club, get drunk right off the bat, and have unprotected sex with the club’s owner within half an hour of meeting him. Further idiocy comes in when she thinks that she won’t get pregnant and implies to our hero that she’s on birth control.

The best friend isn’t going to college because her mother–who works three jobs to put food on the table–can’t afford it. It doesn’t occur to this young woman to get a job, apply for student loans and scholarships, etc. to pay for tuition. No, she’d rather spend her mother’s limited funds on obtaining fake IDs and booze. With a best friend like that, our heroine doesn’t need an enemy.

The hero is a swine. He’s the stereotypical wealthy, handsome womanizer. He sees our heroine, practically drags her to his apartment, and deflowers her. I can suspend disbelief to accept werewolves and vampires, but not enough to believe that an admitted man-whore doesn’t have a condom available and can’t figure out that he’s breached a young woman’s hymen. The next day, he takes her again. And so on and so on. No condom involved.

Shortly after that I quit reading. I’m not prudish in either my reading or writing, but I don’t tolerate blatant stupidity and irresponsibility.

The sad part is that the author’s storytelling is very good. Now she just needs to write a book worth reading that’s populated by characters worth knowing.

This review doesn’t mean that a book should be populated only by wonderful, good, and perfect characters. Far from it. Flaws are what makes characters interesting. But there ought to be at least one main character who has some sense. So, even though the writing may be good, the grammar flawless, the punctuation and syntax error-free, if your reader finds nothing in any of your characters to admire or at least cozy up to, then you’ve failed.