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"I don't know how I ended up on the side of Hollister Road, lying in this ditch."
Book: Ditched: A Love Story
Author: Robin Mellom
Published: Hyperion 2012
Medium Read In: Hardcover
Rating (Scaled 1-10): 4
Why I'm Reading It: I found it in my local library, and was mildly intrigued by the cover. Then, I read the blurb on the cover and was further drawn into the novel because of the whole "Bad Prom" theme, which I can relate to. It seemed like a fun read, so I read on.
Summary: Justina Griffith is ditched after Prom by her date and longtime friend, Ian Clark. She goes into a Seven Eleven and talks to the lady behind the counter about her horrible night. As she recounts the night, she slowly begins to figure out the reason things went wrong.
Review: I really wanted to like this book. I really, really, really wanted to like Justina. And believe me, I really tried to like her and sympathize with her and all those things I am meant to. But there was just something totally and completely off about this book. It may have been that I wasn't in too much of a prom-book reading mood, or that I had a stack of other books I was even more excited to read (see: The Pirate Captain's Daughter), but this just didn't work for me.
I felt no sympathy towards the main character, Justina. First off, I don't particularly like the name. Sorry to any Justinas out there, but it isn't one of my favorite names anyway. Besides that, the sort of punk-ish but-not-really POV character doesn't fit my idea of the name. Besides that, she just sort of managed to get on my nerves. I don't even know why. Its sort of like those kinds of people who you don't know why, but you just can't stand them.
And the rest of the characters didn't really fit what they should have been like, either. The most obvious example is the two girls who were best friends and got matching Jimmy Choos for prom. There is nothing wrong with matching shoes for a school dance. One of my best friends and I did it sophomore year (give it, they were both in different colors, mine a sparkly blue and hers purple, but its the same concept). However, the two girls with the matching shoes were hard core judgy, and Justina was just as judgy back.
The language used in those scenarios didn't particularly fit the bill for high schoolers and how they behave. The author obviously hasn't been to high school in a very long time. I'm in the place now, and I don't think anyone at my school would ever act in such a manner. With such out-of-character high schoolers, I just barely managed to trudge through this read.
When I picked up this book, I was promised a "best friends finally get together" romance. Justina and Ian have been friends for several months. And all of that happens before the novel starts. So it isn't really the kind of frame I was looking for. I was heavily disappointed with the set-up of their romance, and so this book sort of fell flat. The friendship didn't have much substance to it, either, so I couldn't even properly respect their friend zone status.
Furthermore, the ending came together a little too quickly- I didn't feel a buildup, no rise in action to make me sort of know where it could be going. It came out of left field. It was almost as if the author suddenly realized she should probably end the book, and decided to throw it all together randomly. The slightly random ending threw me off, and that was the end of that.
Don't get me wrong- I don't want to diss on the writer. It almost hurts to dislike a book this much. But I just didn't like the narrator, and when that kind of opinion happens, it all goes down from there. I really and truly wish I could have liked this book, but since I didn't, I do feel the need to let people know what they are getting into with Ditched. Hopefully someone else can enjoy it more than I.