ARC Review: Don’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom

decTitle: Don’t Ever Change

Author: M. Beth Bloon

Release Date: July 7

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: HarperCollins Children on Edelweiss (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)

Check this book out on Goodreads.

Pre-order this book at: Chapters | Book Depository

2 stars

Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can’t “write what she knows” because she hasn’t yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.

Soon Eva’s life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they’ve even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer’s blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end. (Source: Goodreads)

Eva is a writer, she can’t write realistically because she doesn’t write about things she’s experienced. The trouble is that she hasn’t experienced much. The summer before she leaves for university she decides to try and experience lots of things, to make her writing seem more realistic. She gets a job, a boyfriend, and a whole lot of drama. Can Eva get her life back on track and learn to live a little before she leaves for school?

I do not know what to make of Don’t Ever Change. This book had a strong start, an interesting story was introduced in the form of a young girl learning to write well by experiencing the world around her, eventually it became something of a trainwreck though. Things were happening randomly, with strange pacing, and the purpose of the narrative was completely lost. Things came back together a little at the end, but they were never as strong as they had been at the beginning of the book. Unfortunately Don’t Ever Change also lacks strong characters, with Eva being the only one I can remember and I only finished the book last night! This book had a lot of potential but fell short of really achieving that potential.

The book follows Eva during her final summer at home. She gets a job at a summer camp where she tries to inspire other young girls to write. This was probably the strongest part of the whole book – her attempts to inspire other girls. I really liked the relationship developed between Eva and the girls, and the way in which interacting them forced her to change the overly negative attitude she always has. Unfortunately nothing else really stood out. Her family relationship was meant to be “quirky” but really felt distant and disconnected. Her friendships fall apart in a way that doesn’t make you feel anything. Any attempts at romance were flat and confusing. Eva does very little in the summer that makes any sense or really grabs you. The narrative itself is hard to understand as it’s disjointed with little cause and effect – despite the fact that the whole book is Eva’s first-person retelling of her own summer experiences.

Aside from the poor narrative structure there were other major problems with the writing. Bloom tries too hard to be clever and charming. Her attempts at humor and intelligence come across as pretentious. The whole book felt fake and unengaging. I didn’t care about anyone because the whole book was putting on airs. It was so disappointingly distancing I couldn’t really get into it at all.

I can’t remember a single character other than Eva, the other characters were so dull and disconnected from Eva. There were far too many side female characters – all her friends – who sort of blur into one massive headache of endless names and little to no plot movement from any of them. There are also 3 romances, none of the guys stood out or had any kind of emotional connection to Eva or the reader at any point. This was hugely disappointing.

Overall I was let down by what started out as a great read. I don’t think I could recommend this book to other readers.

Ramble on,

Have you read Don’t Ever ChangeLet me know your thoughts in the comments!
Check out M. Beth Bloom at her Goodreads and Twitter.
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