“The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to be a new beginning for Sadie Bryant. Moving across the country is exactly what she needs to escape the gossip surrounding her injury, the devastating betrayal of her ex-partner, and to rebuild her career as a solo dancer.
When the school announces that the annual Fall Showcase, a performance that secures a spot studying in London, will now require each dancer to have a partner, Sadie’s fresh start is a nightmare. Now she has to dance with Luke Morrison, the school womanizer with a big ego. Sadie doesn’t know how to trust Luke enough to dance with him after her last partner left her broken, but Luke is determined to change that.
Then, The Hit List comes out. A game of sexual conquest where guys get points for all the girls they hook up with—and it seems like every guy at the school is playing.
The girl worth the most points? Sadie.”
A bit of a surprise, this one. I bought it on a complete whim and didn’t wait around, I just got stuck in. And I’m glad that I did. There was something about the story, and the characters, that I just ‘clicked’ with.
But let’s get to the nitty gritty.
What worked for me?
The concept – Because, irk! A points based, secret/underground sex game set at a residential arts school? I mean, hello! This had such a cool premise and I liked how it was executed. I think there was probably room to push it a little further in terms of how extreme people acted while ‘playing the game’ though.
Setting – There were Gossip Girl type glimmers in this, for me. Or like a Gossip Girl/Step Up hybrid. Or NYADA on steroids! Ha ha! I felt like the sense of place made some scenes feel richer, more effecting emotionally. Which leads nicely on to…
Emotion – I was caught on the emotional hooks. For sure. The writing isn’t going to blow you away with its poetics, but my GOSH I was feeling it.
Luke – He’s one cool operator. Luke and Sadie had a good chemistry.
The annoying ex – I loved how this aspect played out. I think it added a depth to Sadie’s character that would have left her a little lacking without.
What didn’t work for me?
The ending – Bombed. It felt too neat and tidy, and also a tad obvious. It wasn’t shocking. But it did have an easy sense of ‘closure’.
Luke – He may be cool, but why couldn’t he have also royally fucked up? I wanted it to be him. The guy. The guy that had given everyone a bad day. I wanted him to admit it. Then grovel. Much like the ending, his involvement in the plot was too nice and neat. I wanted to rough him up a bit more. Ditch the righteousness.
The scandal – I didn’t get it. Sadie moves across half a country.. because..? I also felt like the book doesn’t focus enough on the what appears to be the main plot driver, ‘The Hit List’. I felt like Sadie could have found herself embroiled in the dodginess a bit more.
There were some general niggly things that I didn’t like about this book, but I can’t deny how much I actually enjoyed it. Forget everything else, it was a damn good read. I gave it an easy 4 out of 5.