Monday, March 27, 2023

Review - The Climb

The Climb

by Amra Pajalic
Date: 2022
Publisher: Amra Pajalic
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novella
Pages: 86
Format: e-book
Source: newsletter

"Noah and Zephyra have been best friends since they started high school. Zephyra thinks of Noah as a brother. Noah thinks Zephyra is the one.

Zephyra’s only interest in romance is between the covers of her favourite romance novels. Noah believes now that they’re sixteen it’s just a matter of time until their friendship becomes a relationship.

When they are completing a one week bike marathon their friendship hits some unexpected speed bumps. Will their friendship turn into something more or will they crash?

The Climb, a young adult contemporary romance."

(synopsis from Goodreads)

There's a reason self-published authors are encouraged to hire editors. This book is a prime example of why. In the beginning, it wasn't too terrible, so I thought I'd just keep reading; the book is short, after all. But at around Chapter 5, things took a turn for the worse, and reading this book became more of an exercise in endurance than enjoyment. (I will admit that I did enjoy some of the unintentionally funny typos and turns of phrase... but that's probably the only enjoyment I got out of this.)

The basic premise isn't bad. Two friends, Zephyra and Noah, join a school-sponsored charity bike ride. This forms the backdrop for the rest of the story, which is basically all about the characters. Unfortunately, none of the characters are likeable, or even realistic. We're stuck with stereotypes, and strange adult characters who come across like they're preteens.

My biggest issue, though, is the relationship between Zephyra and Noah. They're best friends. But Noah has a thing for Zephyra. Like... a getting-a-boner-on-the-bus sort of thing. (This book gets pretty graphic in spots, especially for a YA novella. It's definitely not for the younger end of that age group!) The problem is... he doesn't seem to have heard of a little thing called consent. Throughout the book, he repeatedly kisses or tries to kiss Zephyra, then gets angry when she tells him (also repeatedly) that she's not interested. Eventually, she comes around because of jealousy, and Noah gets the girl. I hate this. Make a nuisance of yourself until you get what you want? Great lesson.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Even if the relationship aspects had been dealt with better, the editing was non-existent. Seriously. The book shifts from third person to first person... twice. Save your time and skip this one.

Premise: 1/5
Plot: 2/5
Characters: 0/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing: 1/5
Editing: 0/5
Originality: 2/5
Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 ladybugs