PJV Quickie: I was really excited to read this one based on the synopsis, but the spelling error on page one was a sign of trouble ahead. While I feel that the author has potential and this novel had some elements that indicate it could have been a great read, it just didn’t come together for me in the end.[frame align=”left”][/frame]
Author: Jessica Miller
Type: Paranormal Romance
Published: December 6, 2012, self-published
Starting college isn’t easy, especially when you’re still trying to come to terms with your boyfriend’s untimely death. Tired of dealing with her obnoxious brothers and determined to get out on her own, Ella is excited about going to school across the country. She isn’t alone though; her best friend Josie is attending the same school. She’s thrust right into the middle of college life, full of boys, drinking, parties, and a persistent sorority. One guy stands out above the rest: Tristan. He’s rude, crude, and likes to drink entirely too much. Even so, Ella finds herself strangely drawn to him, although it’s mostly a love/hate relationship. He also has an air of mystery about him, and when a fellow student is brutally murdered, she has to figure out whom she can trust. Between trying to figure out her feelings for Tristan and what secrets her family might be hiding, Ella has a lot on her plate. She also has to wonder: could she be the killer’s next victim?
I found myself really enjoying the characters at the beginning of The Wanderers. Ella seemed like a normal (albeit insanely rich), sweet girl with an impulsive, boy-crazy best friend named Josie. Ella’s brothers reminded me of my own; loving, but always teasing or giving her a rough time. As soon as Ella arrives at school though, we see a totally different side of her. She is more confident and out-spoken, especially where Tristan is concerned. Tristan is the stereotypical bad boy, except with a little more vulgarity and a lot more drinking. Seriously, when was he not drunk? He’s not the only guy that comes into Ella’s life though; Jack lives on the same floor of the dorm and helps her out on her first day, forming a sort of immediate friendship. It was hard to have any sort of feelings for this character because he wasn’t very well developed. Most of the time it seemed like he was just there to entertain Ella when she was mad at Tristan, which was extremely often, but we don’t learn anything of value about him. Most of their interactions involve walking to class together, studying in the library, or sitting by each other in art class. The only thing we know for sure is that Tristan and Jack do not get along for a reason that isn’t revealed until pretty much the end of the book.
I really wanted to like the romance aspect of this book, and at first I did. I enjoyed the fact that Ella didn’t fall head over heels for Tristan right away; in fact, he pretty much repulsed her with his sexual innuendos and promiscuity. After a while she found that she had a sort of connection to him, but as I said it seemed like every other page she was mad at him. One minute she was enjoying his company, the next she was yelling at him for something he had already done 20 other times. The entire middle of the book was basically just one big loop, with a few murders thrown in for dramatic effect. It reminded me a lot of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick in the back and forth, love-hate relationship. At first it’s sort of endearing to see them argue, because you know they’ll eventually end up together, but after a while you just want to say, “Enough already, we get it! Their relationship is flawed, let’s move on.” By the end I found myself not caring if they were a couple or not because it infuriated me so much.
I had some issues with the plot as well. Again, the beginning grabbed my interest with shady parents keeping secrets, Ella dealing with her boyfriend’s death, and her recurrent dreams of an evil man with yellow glowing eyes. Once she heads off to college, it’s like a whole new story. The previous plot set-ups seem all but forgotten, focusing instead on Ella and Tristan’s “relationship”. That made up at least ½ to ¾ of the book and it felt like the underlying plot got lost along the way. I kept waiting to find out why her parents and Tristan were being secretive, and it turned out I had to wait quite a while for things to be revealed. Too long for my taste. I have to admit that when the big secret was dropped, I groaned out loud. It wasn’t what I was expecting and frankly the entire end of the book was a big disappointment.
The biggest issue I had with this novel, however, was the spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. They plagued just about every page and it was insanely distracting. I thought maybe I had gotten an early draft version of the novel and possibly it hadn’t been proofread yet, so I downloaded the sample from Amazon. There on the first page was that same spelling error staring me in the face (“rode” instead of “road”), as well as some other issues I had noted in my copy. Obviously spell check is not going to catch this since both are actual words, but in the context it’s very obvious while reading which word is appropriate. On the first page no less! Unfortunately it isn’t only found on the first page; as I said just about every page had some sort of mistake that caught my attention. I usually give self-published books a pass if I only see a few minor mistakes, because hey, we’re human and sometimes we just don’t catch every little thing. Professionally edited books are guilty a lot of times too. I feel like most of these errors could have been caught and corrected with a final, careful read-through of the novel before publishing.
The characters and story both had potential, but the numerous errors, irritating character interactions, and insanely long wait to reveal the mystery surrounding Ella’s family and her dreams caused it to ultimately fizzle in my opinion.
Readers who don’t mind romances that are constantly hot and cold, as well as intriguing plot aspects that all but disappear, will probably enjoy this one.
Books similar to The Wanderers:
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick