Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols

Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols
Book Three of the Superlatives series
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this sexy conclusion to The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Sawyer and Kaye might just be perfect for each other—if only they could admit it.

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?

What I Liked:

Ahhh, this book was a bit of a disappointment. It was good, but disappointing compared to Biggest Flirts or Perfect Couple. I really, really enjoyed those two, and could not wait to experience Sawyer's story. I liked Kaye in the previous books, but Sawyer was who I was concerned about. Also you really can't go wrong with Echols. 

Kaye is a model student - perfect grades, perfect transcript, perfect extracurricular activities (including student government AND a sport - cheer-leading!). To be honest, she is very much like me in high school - I was also the same meticulous, slightly obsessive, perfect person. I would say that I still am, but everyone here at Hopkins is, so who knows. Anyway. Kaye is dating Aidan, the student government president, valedictorian in the running (against Kaye), and a general pain in the butt. Kaye has been annoyed with him for a while... and then she hears about her and Sawyer getting the vote as Perfect Couple That Never Was. Kaye develops feelings for Sawyer, feelings that were already there... on both sides.

This series is cute, but this book is probably the cutest. For most of the book, Kaye is "dating" Aidan - I have that in quotes because they're a couple, but Kaye can't stand him. He is demanding and controlling and doesn't like it when he doesn't get his way or when someone else has a great idea. Too bad his girlfriend goes toe-to-toe with him, in academics, student government, etc. Kaye eventually grows a backbone and speaks her mind to him (she usually let things go). And then things go way south with Aidan.

All the while, her issues with Aidan open up opportunities for her and Sawyer to get closer. Sawyer has a reputation for hooking up with girls left and right - he's the high school's "bad boy". In a pelican suit at games (he dresses as the school's mascot). I'm not sure if I liked Swayer in this book. He didn't seem like himself, from what I saw in Biggest Flirts and Perfect Couple. In this book, he seemed a bit juvenile. I didn't find much depth to him, even with his sob story.

But Sawyer was an interesting character, even if I found him to be a bit juvenile/immature. He has been through a lot, with no mother, deadbeat father, and no other family. He bounces around in terms of shelter (we can't even call it homes), and eventually ends up staying in Harper's mom's B&B restaurant (there are rooms there to live in!). I felt bad for him!

Kaye and Sawyer are a great couple! It takes them forever for them to realize that they are good together and good for each other (really, it takes KAYE forever - Sawyer already seemed to realize that he likes her a lot, from the beginning). You'd think the romance would be weird since Kaye is dating someone for a good portion of the book, but their breakup is inevitable. You could feel it from the first and second book in the series! Anyway, the romance is sweet (and bumpy too though), and there is a little bit of chemistry, though I wouldn't say much.

Overall, the book was okay... stay tuned for the big things that I didn't like about the book, that really detracted from my overall opinion of the book.

What I Did Not Like:

Kaye in general kind of bothered me. Something about her, I didn't like. Maybe because she was basically a doormat for most of the book? And not only in terms of her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend), but also in terms of her parents (specifically, her mother). I'm not saying I would be defiant at every turn and fight with my mother, but I would VOICE my opinions and concerns, even if it wouldn't make a difference. Kaye never voices her opinions with her mother - she never pushes for her mother to listen to her. She just silently hates how her mother is, but does nothing about it. Girl, you are not mute.

On the subject of Kaye's mother - let me tell you. I understand parents like her mother. Overbearing, controlling, domineering, loud, rude, stubborn, know-it-all. My mom is kind of like that (or used to be). I get it, and I know this type of parent is real. But Kaye's mother really, REALLY bothered me. I HATED her, and if I were her child, I probably would have launched a vase at her by age seven or something. Kaye's mother's attitude very much took away from the story, and made the book worse. Yes, she is (somewhat realistic). But including her and her negativity and borderline verbal harassment (disguised as tough-luck, no-nonsense mother) was not amusing, and really brought the story down. This book was no fun to read, with Kaye's mother. The mother has a serious attitude, hates Sawyer, hates Kaye's choices, controls where Kaye applies to college, what extracurricular activities she does, how much time she spends on homework, who she dates... again, I know this type of parent exists (my mom used to be like that), but this CRAP really brought the story down. And the fact that Kaye always kept silent (beginning to end) and didn't stick up for herself, let alone Sawyer? Pathetic. Also very detracting from the quality of the story, as well as how much I enjoyed it.

Seriously, this book is losing stars because of Kaye and her mother. Not fun to read. Not a good character arc - or plot arc. Making the mother a villain like that? Didn't work for me. It's an okay story, but it's really bogged down by the parent llama drama. Kaye's mother hates everything and everyone, including Sawyer. So... this story wasn't fun to read, though everything not tainted by the mother was very lighthearted. Towards the end, the mother plays a more and more important role in the story, and it just goes straight to the garbage by the end of the book. I didn't like the ending - too much drama, and then too much happy.

And then there was the fact that I found Sawyer to be immature. Yes, he was a goofball in the first two books. But now that we have him up close and personal, I expected... more. Well, I guess I can say that he is an IMMATURE goofball. The "player" side of him doesn't seem to fit at all.

Would I Recommend It:

Nah. I mean, maybe. I liked this series, and I thought this book was okay, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. I'd highly recommend Perfect Couple though, that book was good. And Biggest Flirts was good too! But this one is worth skipping. I know, I know, Sawyer. But he was so flat, as a character! And Kaye's personality - I didn't really like her much. So, there's that. This book was a bit of a disappointment!


2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. Disappointing, but good enough to get 3 stars. But it's more on the negative side of 3 stars. Echols could have done so much with this book! I didn't like how she portrayed Sawyer (immature boy!), or how big of a deal she made Kaye's mother. Find/utilize a different plot arc!

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  1. I've been meaning to read this series! Sorry to hear this one was disappointing, but glad the other ones were good.

    Also, I'm loving your "launched a vase at her by age seven" sentence. The specificity of the reaction makes me want to read it while not wanting to read it at the same time, if that makes sense haha :)

    Great review!

    -Grace :)

    1. Yes, the first two are really great! And LOL that was literally the first thing that popped into my head. Whenever I think of Kaye's mother, I get twitchy. Partly because I had a similar experience when I was younger (though it was different in a way because I actually voiced my opinion and made sure my parents heard me), and partly because Kaye's mother is a total b****. If you read this one, I hope you like it, Grace! Thank you!

  2. Oh what a bummer! After liking the other two books so much is always such a disappointment when the final book is really not your cup of tea...

    1. So true! This series is a companion series though, so not the worst thing in the world to dislike the third book!

  3. I hate hate hate when the last book in the series is a disappointment. This really hurts when the ones before it where fun to read. Great review!

    1. Right?! Three stars isn't bad but I couldn't shake the feeling of disappointment and meh. Thank you, Angela!

  4. That's unfortunate. I hate it when you're super excited to see more of a character...and s/he falls flat. It sounds like the author really missed some good opportunities with both Sawyer and Kaye. And yes, I can see the mother being a huge turnoff. Thanks for the lovely review!

    1. It really is! This book was supposed to be AMAZING, like the series was leading up to the quiet explosiveness between Kaye and Sawyer. I personally was not entirely happy with this book!

      Thank you, Kel <3

  5. Stunning review Alyssa, as always. <3 But aw, I'm so sorry this book disappointed you :( That is never any fun. Sigh. Especially since you liked the first two books. That is just mean. Hmph. But you are amazing for finishing it, even though you didn't fully like it much :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. <3 These do not sound like books for me at all :p

    1. Thank you, Carina! Probably not a series for you, but that is okay.

  6. It is too bad that you were disappointed, although I can relate. I started out as a faithful reader of Jennifer Echols because she is a local author here. I no longer make reading her books a priority. I would like to try another at some point. It wont be this one. Thank you for your honest and balanced review.

    1. Oh! Wow, that's kind of cool! Unfortunate though, since you don't really read her books anymore. Try the first two in the series - especially Perfect Couple! Or her standalone Such a Rush :) Thank YOU, Suzi!


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