Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot
Title: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
Author: Anne Eliot
After a car accident--an event he considers a prank gone bad--pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.
Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a 'nice' guy.
Funny thing is...Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.
She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.
When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist...
And that’s when things get out of control...
Unmaking Hunter Kennedy on Goodreads
Someone needs to take a red pen and remove a good chunk of this book. It clocks in at over 400 pages and there are well over 100 pages of crap that could be removed and would make this a much better novel.
Hunter Kennedy is a pop star who struggles with his relationship with his mom and acted out by crashing his car and slitting his wrists. Because of that, he had to spend some time in rehab and then in disguise at a "normal" school in order to get a better perspective on life.
Vere Roth is a shy quirky girl who lives next door to Hunter's Great Aunt Nan. Nan enlists her to help Hunter become "Dustin McHugh" - an unrecognizable nerd boy so that Hunter can see what it's like to be normal. She knows from the start that he is famous and she helps him develop his nerd boy persona.
Vere also struggles with anxiety around boys, especially her lifelong crush, Curtis. Hunter and Vere come up with a plan to help her become more comfortable around boys, but while that's going on Hunter starts falling for Vere.
The first third of this book is VERY slow. The first weekend that Hunter and Vere spend together, when they're developing Dustin, is dragged out for SO long. Some parts were funny - especially when Vere takes him shopping, but I found myself skimming parts of it because I was getting so bored.
SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT
I liked the development of Hunter and Vere's relationship. It felt semi-realistic (if you ignore the out there pop-star-in-hiding premise). I also liked Curtis, at first. But then Curtis goes from this guy who has been nice to Vere for ages and deserving of her crush to a total douchebag. Like, where did that come from? I think the author was trying to show how Vere put Curtis on a pedestal and that he wasn't really such a stand up guy... but it didn't work out like that. Instead it seems like a whiplash inducing personality switch out of nowhere that's used as a plot device to show why Vere should choose nice guy Hunter instead.
Charlie was a terrible character. Again, I think the author was trying to show him as someone who is protective about Vere, but instead he comes across as a complete jerk. He tries to force the Curtis/Vere relationship knowing that Curtis is a total douche who changes out girlfriends every 2 months. What happened at the end with Charlie selling out Hunter was completely unredeemable. I'm sorry, but his reasons were weak ("You kissed my sister!") and maybe I'm a terrible person, but I didn't like how easily Hunter forgave him.
The absolute worst part of this book was the ending. I've never been a fan of the "big moment" endings in these types of books where the famous person tells the nobody that he loves her in front of all the paparazzi. This book takes that ending to the extreme and Hunter gives a 5-10 page dialogue in front of dozens of cameras that culminates in him asking Vere to Homecoming and making out with her. Vere, who suffers from severe shyness and anxiety, apparently doesn't have a huge issue with this. It was just a really cheesy and over the top ending that needed to be toned down. WAY down.
Overall, I liked parts of the book and disliked other parts. I liked Vere a lot. I ended up liking Hunter a lot. I really liked how the author handled the relationship between Hunter and his mom, including how that turned out in the end. I thought that was really well done. I will probably check out other novels by this author, but I can't really rate this one higher than 3 stars and I was tempted to go with 2 for the terrible ending.
3 out of 5 stars.
Link to Kala's review on Goodreads: