A Happy Catastrophe by Maddie Dawson

Have you ever been disappointed to see a sequel for a book you loved? I wasn’t expecting a follow-up to Matchmaking for Beginners and, more than that, I didn’t really want one. Matchmaking for Beginners was close to perfect in my eyes and I didn’t want the author to mess with that. I just wanted to settle down and grow old with the memory of the magic that had originally captivated me. Anything more felt silly.

So I was not happy to see A Happy Catastrophe in my recommended section. I felt oddly betrayed by it. Why was she going to mess with this perfect world she had created for me? I didn’t want the love story of Patrick and Marnie to get bogged down with the mundane events of normal life. Why would I? When you can have the memory of magic, why would you want a mundane life?

Because of that feeling, I had low expectations. Really, really, really low expectations. I didn’t want this book. I didn’t want to like it. I didn’t even really want to read it. I started it out stubborn and determined not to like it.

But then the magic came back and I just couldn’t help myself. I fell in love again. Maddie Dawson has a gift to bring love into even the most normal of scenes. Her characters are charming and they have a way of weaseling right into your heart. Even when you don’t want to like them, you absolutely love them.

Plus, even the beginning of this book was absolutely enchanting. The love magic never ends! When Marnie introduced Graham and Winnie to each other, I knew I was a goner. And I even loved the fact that everyone thought Marnie could “magic” a baby into existence.

More than that, though, I loved Marnie’s personal development since the first book. She comes across as way more self possessed and exponentially happier. Character growth always appeals to me and there’s something magical to be found in self improvement, too.

Of course, I was a little bit confused by her personality becoming more free-form so to speak. She had a more hippie-like nature if that makes sense that I didn’t remember existing in the first place. Maybe the magic of matchmaking got to her. I just don’t remember her being as vibrant or as trusting in the universe. She seems to have absorbed more than a good of Blix’s personality. Not that that’s a bad thing. I love her all the more for it.

I did find myself loving Patrick a good bit less for the majority of this one though. He puts so many limits on himself. Comparing him to Marnie became a bit of a habit for me this book. Marnie was so amazing that it made him feel kind of bleh. Until, of course, he didn’t anymore.

And I’ve got to say I really loved this book in general. I recommend reading the first book and then this one, of course, but both are worth a read. The book ended perfectly (maybe a little predictably), and even though I didn’t want it at first… A Happy Catastrophe was everything I could have wanted if I had just been smart enough to know I wanted it! An absolutely lovely book.

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

Is it read-worth? “Whatever happens, love that.” And I loved this book. I absolutely loved it. The magic, the romance, the warm fuzzy feeling in your chest. I’ve never read a book where I read it smiling, put it down smiling, and spend the rest of the night smiling. Truly magical, enchanting, lovely. I am in love with this book.

Summary (Spoiler Free)

Marnie MacGraw wants a normal life more than anything else. She wants the husband, the kids, the white picket fence, and the house in the subpoards. And, when she’s planning the wedding with her fiance, Noah, she knows she’s going to get it.

That is until she meets Noah’s dying matchmaker great-aunt, Blix, who tells her that everything is about to change. 

Noah almost leaves her at the altar and they breakup officially during their honeymoon! 

Left in a state of shock, Marnie’s life feels like it’s falling apart and just when she starts to pick up the pieces another big shock happens. Great Aunt Blix passed away and Marnie’s inherited the house and all of Blix’s unfinished “projects.” Of course, those projects are people who need help finding love too.

And, luckily for them, Marnie’s the right person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps and it’s time for everyone in the neighborhood to learn how to love love

Whatever Happens, Love This Book

I’ll be honest with you – I don’t usually rant and rave about romance novels. I don’t reach for feel-good books. But this book? It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

It was funny in the right spots, heart-warming in the right spots, and even included just the right amount of heartbreak to make it 100% believable. 

The quirky, complex characters were completely to die for. No one was perfect, not everyone was likable, and every single character was overwhelmingly realistic. Maddie Dawson knocked it out of the park with character development! 

And this book ended up feeling like a hug. It was so warm and it made me believe in the power of love. Heck, I’d even say it made me believe in magic. 

And it kind of made me want to move to Brooklyn!

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Is it read-worth? Yes. I got to see romance grow up, getting to know Laurie, Jack, and Sarah and their twisted love triangle over a decade. I really enjoyed seeing the way love changes as you age. I loved it.

Back of Book Summary

“Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”

10 Years of Love

I’m just going to say this: I wish a book like this had fallen into my hands when I was 16. The way One Day in December displays love is so, so realistic and, at the same time, doesn’t lose that magic associated with young love (even as it ages over a ten year time period.) I feel like this is a great book – no matter your age – to show how relationships develop and how, sometimes, you miss out on things that could have been great because it doesn’t happen in the right way or at the right time… But, in the end, something good always works out. Truly a magical book with super relatable characters, an interesting storyline, and a beautiful take on what real love is.

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

Is it read-worth? Yes. Shreve’s sparse and clean writing style is what gives this book its simplistic beauty. A great, easy read with easy-to-connect-to characters and a heartbreaking break in what should have been the typical happy family. It’s a beautiful, well-written page turner and comes with some of my highest recommendations.

Summary (Spoilers!)

Twice-married, Sydney is lost in her own life after being once divorced and once widowed. As a result, she takes a seasonal job as a tutor for a young woman, Julie Edwards, who is spending her summer with her family at the New Hampshire home. Although Sydney seems to have no direction, she falls in love with the family.

She’s captivated by the family’s intricate relationships and struggles to make sense of them throughout the book. She likes Julie and her father, Mr. Edwards, and there is a mutual dislike between her and Mrs. Edwards. 

However, when Sydney meets Julie’s two older brothers, Ben and Jeff, the plot seems to thicken almost immediately. She is undeniably attracted to 31-year old Jeff who comes to the home with his gorgeous girlfriend. But she’s uncomfortable around Ben, who she thinks groped her when she went body surfing with the two brothers. 

When Julie’s late coming home one night, Jeff and Sydney go looking for a develop an emotional connection. They later go on to make love on the same night Julie happens to run away with a lesbian lover she had never mentioned to anyone. 

Later on in the story, Jeff proposes to Sydney to the dismay of his brother, Ben. For a good while, it seems to all like Sydney might finally get her happy ending. She’s in love with Jeff and excitedly prepares for the wedding.

Until she’s left at the altar and finds out that Jeff was only interested in her because Ben was. And Jeff was the one who sabotaged her relationship with Ben, her very ability to like being around Ben, by making her think it was Ben who touched her so intimately while body surfing even though it was him the whole time. 

And, then, Sydney is left to remake her life a third time. Once divorced, once widowed, and once left behind.

Why I Love It…

I always love books that make me look a little bit deeper into human emotions and this book really is a psychological study on the human emotion of jealousy. Even right from the beginning, Mrs. Edward’s jealousy and open dislike for Sydney was huge. But the most important example was the relationship between the two Edwards brothers… and how that impacted Sydney. 

For his entire life, Jeff felt like he was in Ben’s shadow. Ben was the family’s golden boy whereas Jeff just failed to live up to those expectations. But Jeff was better at one thing: seducing women. And he proved that to Ben time and time again by essentially stealing the affection of the women Ben introduced to the family or showed any level of interest in. 

The girlfriend that Jeff brought to the first family get-together? She was Ben’s ex-girlfriend. Getting engaged to Sydney? Ben had showed a slight bit of interest in Sydney and Jeff sabotaged her view of Ben and then proceeded to romance her. He even went as far as to propose to her and didn’t pull out of his game plan until the day of the wedding where he left her alone at the altar.

Be still my broken heart! Sydney never did ANYTHING to deserve that and the fact that it happened (and stuff like this does happen in real life) was shocking! How could anyone be so cruel? 

Jealousy. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. It’s interesting, that plot twist is crazy, and if you want to discuss it with me- send me a message. I always have more to say about a truly amazing book.

Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

Is it read-worth? This book was beautiful and I could not put it down. I felt Cassie’s love. I felt her sorrow. I felt her pain. And I’ve never been more proud of a character for changing her life in such a simple way. Yet, this book, so beautiful because of the complex and abusive relationship at the center of it, was made lacking because of the moments where Jodi Picoult tried to “spice up” that central story line. Cassie and Alex’s relationship should have remained at the center of it all. Stereotypical views of modern Native American culture seemed trite in the face of their relationship. With that, Picoult completely missed the mark. 

A Little Bit of Background (Spoiler Alert!!)

In the beginning of Picture Perfect, Cassie is found by an L.A. police officer, William Flying Horse, near a local graveyard. She is suffering from amnesia, cannot remember her own name, and is completely lost. 

Needless to say she’s surprised to find that she’s an extremely successful anthropologist married to the one and only, Hollywood beloved actor – Alex Rivers. 

Alex Rivers is a hollywood legend. Everyone loves him. His coworkers, his fans, and his wife. Everyone seems to be obsessed with him and because of their unending love, he gives them what he thinks they want: A perfect man with a perfect wife and a perfect job. He has everything he could ever want.

And when Cassie is reunited with him she’s shocked by it all. The gorgeous, sprawling mansion with a staff. She’s shocked by their famous friends. She has such a hard time taking it in to the point where it almost feels fake. 

In part, that’s because it is. 

Cassie and Alex were both raised by abusive, neglectful parents. Their childhood was shaped by alcohol and low self esteem. Alex was left feeling unloved and develops an overall sense of self-loathing. Cassie’s family left her feeling alone, even in the face of the death of her best friend Connor who seems to haunt her thoughts throughout the book. They both need love at any and all costs, but neither really know what love looks like. 

Alex Rivers beats his wife. Cassie blames herself for it. 

She hides from public eyes, constantly makes excuses for his bad behavior, and neglects her own needs and wants in favor of his. Cassie always forgives Alex and, more than that, she’s always there for him. Even when he’s never there for her. 

Cassie remembers that she left Alex in order to protect the pregnancy and was beaten half to death as a result, resulting in her unfortunately timed amnesia. Once she remembers, she doesn’t know what to do. 

Alex turning violent again makes her decision for her and she decides she must, once again, leave him. Cassie flees from Alex to take refuge on a Native American reservation. She hides from her husband for months and slowly falls in love with the land and the people she stays with. 

But, eventually, all things come to an end and she returns home with her newly born child, Connor. They hold a press-conference announcing the birth and dismissing any fears over her lack of public appearances.

To the press, they seem like the picture perfect family. 

But that’s all it is. It’s just a picture. 

All too soon, Alex turns violent once more- unable to maintain his facade in the face of a newborn child, rebuilding his career after accusations over his wife’s disappearance leave him shackled and his last movie’s failure, and an unwillingness to get help for his problems. 

He beats her with the baby in the room next to them. 

But this time she makes a commitment. The normal quiet, devoted Cassie makes an announcement in front of the media that her husband of three years, the beloved Hollywood star, beats her. She shows the world her bruises and makes no excuses for his behavior.

And the entire time, Alex is standing in the crowd looking at her with complete understanding in his eyes. 

What Makes the Book (Spoilers!)

This book is made by that last scene where Cassie pulls up her shift in front of a crowd of people, shows them the bruises that frame her ribcage, and almost begs them to understand that she’s been abused. Her love for Alex and her love for her child are the most prevalent in this one closing scene and it’s what makes the book so completely powerful.

She says it herself: she can’t make herself not love Alex, but she must make him hate her. Turning the press against him, possibly ruining his career in the process, is her only path forward and the fact that she commits to it so completely is awe-inspiring. 

It gives me, and hopefully other survivors of abuse, hope. 

She is an abuse victim who manages to de-victimize herself and take action against those who would continue to hurt her. She changes her own life without asking anyone for permission. This is the only part of the book where she is not running and hiding from her problems, but confronting them head on. 

And it’s beautiful. 

I also love the fact that this book included such a complex viewpoint of abusive relationships. The nature of the emotions can be so puzzling to get through and Jodi Picoult navigates them beautiful. 

She shows the classic enabler in Cassie. Someone who is willing to make excuses for another’s behavior and even blame themselves for the abuse. And she also shows the typical actions of an abusive partner. Alex Rivers may beat his wife, but, in the moments afterwards, he is so completely filled with regret. He cries, he buys her lavish gifts, he professes his love, and he gives her the grandest moments. 

Picoult shows the ups and downs of an abusive relationship so well. 

And, yet, she makes this example easier (emotionally) to read. How? Because this story, while so similar to so many people, is still so different. Alex is a star in Hollywood and his cycles of abuse are directly related to the roles he plays. This gives the book an interesting twist to a classic story and, somehow, makes the scenes of abuse a little less gruesome. They’re great ways to relate to an experience or overcome similar experiences you’ve had, but, at the same time, the chances of them being your exact experience are slim. It is clear to the reader that they are not Cassie and that their partner is not Alex. It makes the scenes less scary, but without compromising the necessary realism found within them. 

But, to be perfectly honest, it’s that complex relationship that is the ONLY thing I value in this book. 

What I Could Do Without (Spoilers!)

And, yet, while all of those parts of the book are beautiful- some parts of the storyline feel unnecessary, stereotypical, and just miss the mark for me.

Including the Native American culture as Cassie’s saving point was the primary example of that. In no way do I mean to devalue that unique culture, but the way Picoult includes pieces of it does just that. 

I don’t feel like I get to know anything beyond stereotypes. One Native American man dies because of alcohol abuse, another is obsessed with a white woman, a savage ritual of self-harm was performed, and the legends included are simultaneously over discussed and under-utilized. 

If Cassie was supposed to learn something from the Native Americans, I completely missed the point. It just seemed like Picoult was reaching for a more interesting place for her to escape to and decided to choose a culture most readers don’t directly experience without reason. I would love her to write a better book where Native American culture is further discussed, she is fully capable of doing so, but this book did the culture no justice and it just felt misplaced. 

And I also found myself disappointed in the way Alex and Cassie fell in love. They knew each other for such a short period of time, had such little emotional connection in the beginning, and set unrealistic expectations for similar whirlwind romances. For him, I could blame it on him acting the part of his character. (They fell in love when he was performing in a movie as an archaeologist and she just happened to be nearby.) But her love for him confused me? In the beginning, Cassie seemed so strong. She didn’t take his crap. She didn’t encourage strong behavior. And, yet, she fully accepted early on that he was going to abuse her and she was going to take it. 

While I love the complex view of a complex problem of abuse, I don’t know if their emotional ties were truly strong enough to justify her staying to begin with. The view of the abuse was eye-opening, but the fact that Cassie so completely fell in love with Alex in such a short period of time before the abuse started that she wouldn’t have left him for it left me confused. 

Overall Review

Overall, I’d still recommend reading this book. I love Picoult’s style of writing and I love looking deeper into serious problems in our society. Being given an inspirational moment where an abused woman escapes her abuser is magical. But I’d keep in mind that some of the side stories are misplaced and shouldn’t have been included.

The Good + The Bad: The Twilight Series

Is it read-worth? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know a single person my age (22) who hasn’t read The Twilight Series. Was it worth the acclaim it got? Not really. Was it an okay series? Yeah, probably.

Let’s begin with this: I honestly don’t hate the Twilight series. 

I know a lot of avid readers find the writing to be lacking and the scenarios to be cliche (and they’re not wrong), but I’ve never thought they were the worst books in the world. In fact, I used to read New Moon once every couple of months when I ran out of new books to read. I thought Jacob was one of the few realistic and entertaining characters – no offense Edward fans!

They books are simple, a lot of bit cliche, and they’re all very, very readable. The Twilight series is designed to be a series of page-turners and Stephanie Meyers collects all the features of a good page turner. The books are dramatic, relatable at times, and there’s death, drama, romance, and some pretty interesting side stories going on. 

But, with that being said, I don’t think Bella Swan or her relationship with Edward are examples we should be setting for high school students falling in love. This book targets that age ground between 13 and 20 and, especially for younger girls, they’re not the best example. 

The book may be a good, easy read with a (sometimes) compelling storyline, especially at first glance, but it also has a lot of downsides that I’m not sure can be reconciled.

The Good and the Bad

It’s confusing to say I don’t hate this book, but that I do hate the main characters and the relationship that they have. 

Stephanie Meyers just isn’t a bad writer in my opinion. Her book, The Host, is one of my all-time-favorite books and I like her simplistic style. Many people she over describes at some points, but I don’t mind that either. Sometimes I want a book that over describes things to me.  I particularly enjoy world building.

And there’s a lot of attention-catching scenes in the Twilight series. The things that happen to Bella Swan, the almost deaths and accidents that target her, keep your attention throughout the book and make it easy to read. The only problem with those scenes is that Bella herself is a super boring, lackluster character who is only really defined by her own lack of self esteem and her obsession with Edward. 

Even when she almost dies, like at least once every book, it’s all about Edward. 

I’d honestly cry a river if I could. Anyone who’s so focused on their boyfriend while they’re getting brutally murdered needs to get professional help, not be turned into an eighteen year old vampire who will spend all of eternity obsessing over said boyfriend to the storyline’s detriment. 

But, anyways, back to the good: I do like all the other characters. Unlike Bella and Edward, characters like Alice, Jacob, Jasper, Dr. Cullen, and Rosalie all have interesting stories, attitudes, personalities. They’re realistic human beings who aren’t stuck in a little bubble. Even Jessica, who is a total teenage stereotype, has more personality than the stale piece of toast that is Bella Cullen. 

And I love them for their personalities and, more than that, I love a lot of the characters because they’ve turned themselves into survivors and not victims. 

Dr. Cullen found a way to survive without drinking human blood when he was turned and didn’t spend years whining about what a bad person he is like Edward does constantly. 

Jasper was in a violent vampire war (okay, a little bit of an ugh here) and was one of the most vicious vampires on Earth until he realized he couldn’t handle being a monster and became a better person. He searched out a better life for himself and found it. 

Rosalie Hale survived rape and assault at the hands of her own fiance before being turned into a vampire and, yet, was still capable of finding love. Her personality is abrasive and unforgiving. She feels real.

All of these characters are more intricate and just better written than Bella and Edward. They aren’t as completely self centered and have extremely interesting backgrounds. Maybe they’re just better overall because they aren’t so singularly focused on their own relationship to the exclusion of all else. 

In any case, they’re what makes the story fun to read. These books would be nothing without some interesting characters. 

Unhealthy Relationships

But, like I said before, Bella and Edward aren’t those interesting characters we need or want in a book. 

Bella Swan is a weak girl and, because of her own lack of self esteem, she is absolutely obsessed with being in love with Edward to the exclusion of all other people. She doesn’t maintain great relationships with her friends and, at the end of the series, she’s even okay with letting her parents spend the rest of their lives thinking she died than live without Edward.

In a nutshell, she’s that girl you tried to be friends with in school who always said no when you asked her to hangout because she has plans with her boyfriend.  And, while at times I literally was that girl, I don’t necessarily think that girl should be used as an example of real love.

Yet, it would still be fine with me if her relationship with Edward was anything to be impressed by.

Which it’s obviously not. 

Why? Because their relationship, to me, doesn’t come off as beautiful.  It’s not amazing. It’s not something to envy at all.

And it didn’t deserve to be made into a movie that made millions of girls go “wow I wish that was me.” 

I know for some people Edward and Bella have some beautiful star crossed lover/Romeo & Juliet appeal, but for me their relationship just seems unhealthy, sad, pathetic, abusive, dismal. 

Even weak obsessive Bella Swan is unhealthy for Edward, a guy who seems to get off on hating himself for being a vampire. She is clingy, obsessive, and he literally wants to kill her 24/7. 

For a man who is hell bent on hating himself for being a vampire, she is the perfect punishment for being one.

He doesn’t want to kill humans, she puts him a situation where it’s almost impossible to resist and where he can’t even tell how she’s reacting to him, he decides to fall in love with her, and he is in pain almost every second he manages not to kill her. 

Does he really love her or does he just love having another excuse to think he’s a monster? 

Honestly I’m really not sure because even in the end, when she became a vampire, he didn’t genuinely want her to become one. He thought it would take her soul away and destroy her chances of going to Heaven – one of the main reasons he hates himself so much. For over one hundred years, Edward thought this and Bella seems to think a quick redirection on her side will change a belief system he’s held for more than most humans are alive. 

Does Edward change Bella into a vampire because he genuinely loves her (lacking) personality or is he just coming up with a more long-term reason to continue with the self-hate and brooding his personality is defined by?

Romance at its finest or just messed up? I think my opinion is pretty obvious. 

And, then, we look at the other side and why Edward shouldn’t be what girls go looking for. 

His “love” for Bella is just as obsessive as her love for him, but is a million times creepier and more abusive.  He’s a stalker.

Message to all girls: an over-controlling guy who has to actively keep himself from murdering you probably isn’t the best boyfriend material. Neither is someone who thinks he’s always right and acts super condescending towards you.

And he does this on multiple occasions. He secludes her from her father and friends, forbids her from seeing Jacob, and at one point he even wrecks her car so she can’t be around other people. He even mentally checks in on the people she talks to so, when she’s not around him directly, he stills knows exactly what she’s doing, exactly who she’s with, and exactly what they think about her. 

Other than that controlling behavior he shows directly, you may also want to consider leaving someone who causes you to be attacked and almost die multiple times.

Dying isn’t romantic. 

Murder shouldn’t be romanticized. 

Abusive relationships where a man tries to control your every action is NOT romantic. 

Bella is delusional to think that dying because of love, especially recent love where you’ve known your boyfriend for less than a year, is something that is desirable and telling other young girls that this is a good option for them is crazy. 

Plus, sneaking into someone’s house to watch them sleep is also NOT romantic. 

It’s creepy and weird. If someone sneaks into your house and watches you sleep, you should not end up marrying them. You should probably break up with them, call the cops, and maybe even move out of the area. (All jokes aside, make police officers aware of a situation similar to this. Their hands are usually tied, but you want situations similar to Edward’s relationship with Bella on public record.)

And, beyond all of the mental abuse, Edward is physically abusive. 

He hauls Bella around when he think she can’t handle something, shoves her so hard in a scene with Jasper to the point where she needs stitches, and breaks a headboard and seriously injures every inch of Bella’s body during sex. 

Edward is incapable of controlling his actions and physically wounds Bella during multiple scenes and yet… it’s all justified… as him being a vampire? 

That sounds like an excuse from someone who is in an abusive relationship, not like a real reason. And, even if that is the real reason, that vampires genuinely can’t control their own violence, why would Bella blindly accept that? 

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should allow them to hurt you. Even if someone can’t help but hurt you, they are still hurting you, you are still at risk, and you should still leave them. Your life has value. Your pain has value. Do not let someone devalue you because you love them. That is not healthy.

Stalkerish, abusive behavior should NOT be romanticized throughout this book. There’s no character that completely calls out this behavior and Bella never stops a second to think about what she’s doing with her life. Jacob tries to, but even his reasons are more grounded in being in love with Bella than calling her and Edward out on their weird-as-hell In fact, at eighteen years old, she even decides to die for the chance to be with Edward.

How It Should Have Ended…

Reading the book is one thing, but idolizing it is another. Stephanie Meyer should have made it more clear that behavior like this in real life isn’t cute. Or maybe the movies based on this book shouldn’t have continued the romanticization of unhealthy relationships. 

In my opinion, this series should have ended when Edward realized he was unhealthy for Bella and left her. This was probably the only moment where he was doing the right thing. 

We could have focused on Bella getting better by herself and becoming a stronger person as a result. This series could have been a metaphor for how hard it can be to get out of unhealthy relationships, but how rewarding the final results can be for you. We need books that tell us that, even if we love someone, sometimes we just have to move on because it’s better for us.  No matter how romantic the story may have seemed, it needed to draw a line for its primarily young readers about the types of behavior and attitudes they should accept in their own relationships.

Instead it’s just a sad story where a lonely high school student decides she’d rather die than live without Edward, would rather ruin the rest of her parents lives than live without Edward, and would rather continue to be spineless than grow a backbone that allows her to be her own independent person instead of a shadow of Edward’s self-hate. 

Maybe if the author had called out how inappropriate, abusive, and almost pathetic this relationship is even once, I’d be able to say that the storyline isn’t so completely absurd and, instead of just liking this book as an easy read with compelling side characters, I’d actually say this a truly good book.  Her only attempts at doing so were Jacob’s negative comments and all of them were dismissed as jealousy.

That being said, the books are what they are and I still enjoy reading them. I just don’t think they should have been made into what they are. Young girls shouldn’t be left thinking that this is what love should look like. 

Love is being with someone who makes you want to be better than yourself. Edward and Bella’s unhealthy, abusive, creepy, interdependent relationship isn’t a good example of that. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t something that should be encouraged. 

And, in large part, it hurt the series. 

Plus what was up with the fact that the big battle of Breaking Dawn never actually happened? Lame.