Verity – Colleen Hoover

Verity is one of those books that sucked me in with its hype. In fact Colleen Hoover herself has legions of fans and her name seems to be synonymous with romance of the sexy kind, but the only other book of hers I’ve ever attempted I DNF, and have no idea what it was called. It was just…meh.

So along comes Verity, and it seemed as though everyone in the bookish circles I hang out in was talking about it. I am nothing if not a lemming. People were saying things like “It is a dark, addicting, and compelling psychological thriller” and “Creepy, unsettling, hard to read in parts” and “Five stars”. I mean, c’mon, what’s a girl to do? So, I ordered it.

People, I am here to tell you: Do NOT believe the hype.

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer who, while published, is broke and desperate when she meets Jeremy Crawford. (Their meet cute is more ick cute, but whatever.) Turns out Jeremy is married to Verity Crawford, author of the best-selling Chronics series. The series is incomplete because Verity has been in a horrific car accident and can’t finish because she’s a vegetable, so her publisher is looking for a ghost writer. Jeremy wants Lowen. For reasons.

This opportunity couldn’t come at a better time. Lowen’s mother has just died, her personal life is a bit of a mess, and she needs the cash. It’s problematic that Jeremy is so hawt, but necessity is a great motivator, so Lowen moves to the Crawford mansion. The plan is to go through Verity’s office and look for the meticulous notes she’s made about the next three novels so that Lowen can start writing them.

Lowen finds something a lot more than Verity’s notes, though; she finds her autobiography and shocker! Verity is not a nice person (which is how Lowen justifies getting nekkid with Jeremy).

What you will read will taste so bad at times, you’ll want to spit it out, but you’ll swallow these words and they will become part of you, part of your gut, and you will hurt because of them.

Hoover might have been talking about this book, really. It’s a train wreck peopled with one dimensional characters who are handed backstories as character development. Lowen is a sleepwalker; Jeremy grew up on an alpaca farm. Say what? That’s not character development, it’s just ridiculous.

The “hard to read” stuff fans were talking about might be some of the info Verity reveals in her autobiography, like SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!how she tries to abort her twin girls (whom Jeremy loves more than her) with a coat hanger or maybe how Verity uses sex (not even kinky sex) to manipulate Jeremy. None of this sex is titillating or even very well-written. END SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ENDSPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Almost immediately after Lowen arrives, strange things start to happen. Think Rebecca if it had been written by a teenager. Verity seems to be looking at Lowen, even though she’s not supposed to be cognizant . One day she catches Crew (Jeremy’s son) waving up at his mother’s bedroom window? Why?! Verity can’t possibly be standing at the bedroom window. She can’t walk. Then there’s the time that she and Jeremy are making out on the couch and Lowen spots Verity standing at the top of the stairs. But WHO CARES? Aren’t we supposed to root for these two crazy kids? I mean, Verity is a monster, right?

Not so fast. There’s a twist NO ONE SEES COMING. But you’ll have to wade through all the other nonsense (not to mention the clunky exposition and dialogue) to get to it, and by then it will feel more like a bait and switch than a twist.

Hoover says in her acknowledgments that Verity “is a personal indie project.” (I suspected as much when my copy arrived and it has clearly been self-published. That should have been my first clue.) Although Hoover is traditionally published by Atria (a division of Simon & Schuster), for some reason she wanted to do this on her own. Apparently it was originally only available online. Like fanfiction. No, wait, that’s giving fanfiction a bad rap. I have read loads of fanfic that is a billion times better than this.

The best thing about my physical copy of this book is the paper it was printed on. It was really nice. The book was a waste of my precious reading time.

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