Sunday 21 November 2021

BOOK REVIEW: I Hate You, Fuller James by Kelly Anne Blount

I Hate You, Fuller James
Author: Kelly Anne Blount
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance / Sports
Publication Date: 2nd March 2020

Book Description:
I hate you, Fuller James.

I hate your floppy hair and your lopsided grin and those laughing blue eyes that always seem to be laughing at me.

I hate that you’re the most popular guy in school and I’m still the girl who sneezed and spit out her retainer on someone at a middle school dance. It’s just such a cliché.

I hate that I’m being forced to tutor you in English and keep it a secret from everyone. Because otherwise it might put our basketball team’s chances at winning State in jeopardy, and even though I hate you, I love basketball.

I hate that it seems like you’re keeping a secret from me…and that the more time we spend together, the less I feel like I’m on solid ground. Because I’m starting to realize there’s so much more to you than meets the eye. Underneath it all, you’re real.

But what I hate most is that I really don’t hate you at all.

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I hate downgrading a book with potential, but sometimes, you have to do what you have to do. Another thing I hate: not finishing a book. I honestly gave this a good try. I put it down, then picked it up and continued reading and repeated this process twice until finally giving up at 54%. I just could not for the life of me like either Fuller or Wren, and it's very important for me to feel a connection with the main character(s) in some way or other. I don't have to love them, I just need to be able to tolerate them long enough to get to the end of the book. What exactly is this book about, exactly? Well, from the 54% I read, I would fathom that it's about two high school students who are too proud to admit their feelings for each other due to societal expectations and ideals they have conjured up for themselves based on what they believe is acceptable by their peers rather than just going with what makes them truly happy. Fuller James is a popular jock whose grades are slipping, and in order for him to stay on the basketball team, he has to bring his grade up. Enter Wren Carter, Fuller's least favourite person, who hates him just as much as he hates her. Wren is blackmailed by the principal into tutoring Fuller, and as the two start to spend time together, they start to realise the other isn't as horrible a person as they had first imagined.

I expected cliches, but I also expected something fun, cute and enjoyable. I wanted a journey I would enjoy. Both Wren and Fuller, Fuller more so than Wren, made decisions that were senseless and irrational. I often found myself wondering if their actions were plausible as I couldn't imagine people behaving the way they did, but perhaps I had too much expectations for their characters and just overanalysed everything. Perhaps principal's blackmailing their students is a common thing. Perhaps Wren's uncle (coach) asking both her and Fuller to keep their tutoring session a secret from the team to stop them from worrying about not making it to State if their star player isn't playing is the best decision for the team. It's not like he's putting more pressure on his star athlete. For a coach who is keen on making it to State, he doesn't seem too keen on helping Fuller in his bid to improve. I mean he could have rallied the team together and have them support Fuller, perhaps even pitching in with his tutoring. They want to make it to State so surely they would do anything for their star player. Instead, coach has Fuller worry about not starting in the first game, worrying about what would happen if he didn't improve his grades, having to figure out how to keep everyone from finding out about his tutoring sessions (people who are practically obsessed with him and always know what he's up to, mind you), which means coming up with excuses for why he's hanging out with the least popular girl in school and not to mention having to keep Wren from finding out that he's making up lies about her to keep their tutoring session a secret. Since coach told them both to keep it a secret, things would probably have been easier if Fuller and Wren just agreed to pretend to date each other for the duration that it took for his grade to improve. Basically, most of the things the characters did in this book didn't make a lot of sense. I'm not going to say there weren't moments that I found pleasant and cute, because there were. When I first started reading it, I really thought I was going to love it, but it just never managed to sustain my interest. It's not a terrible story. It just needs some editing, as there is a lot of room for improvement.

If it wasn't already obvious, I didn't enjoy this book. I was expecting something more on the lines of Perfect Chemisty by Simone Elkeles (the first book, that is). That book was all cliches but at least it was full of romance, mischief and a whole lot of bad decisions but with good and more importantly logical reasoning behind the decisions. While there were a few cute moments between Wren and Fuller, I didn't care about their characters enough to invest my time rooting for them. It just wasn't for me.


Rating: 2 Star
Source: Own Copy

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