No Turning Back by Casey Peeler (Review)

Release date: September 25 2013

Publisher: Casey Peeler

Number of pages: 305

My rating: 1.5/5 

Reading this book was like trying to march my way through a field of wet, squishy clay. It seemed that no matter how fast I read, this book remained slow. God, so slow…

Charley is finally in college after a hellish time in high school. She was drugged and raped in her last year of high school. She has a kind-of boyfriend who is a typical country cowboy, and also another kind-of boyfriend who is apparently super hot. She goes to college and goes to class, parties, and swims.

Now, you might look at my above synopsis and chastise me for doing such a half-assed job, but that’s all there really is in this book. We seriously follow Charley as she goes to random swim practise, and goes to the same club every Saturday night. These events weren’t really described in detail. If they were described in more detail, had some variation, or was actually relevant to the plot, then reading about all those events might be bearable.

But it wasn’t.

Imagine if I wrote like this:

I woke up at eight o’clock for swim practice. Coach was really hard on us today. I check my time at the end of the lap. I get changed and go back to my dorm. I need to get ready to go to Hank’s today. I throw on a sparkly top, some jeans, and some wedges, and then I meet my friends at the Love machine. I drink some of Caroline’s PJ and pile into the van. Joe sits next to me.

Are you bored yet? Well, if not, then I commend you on your resistance to such boring writing. Charley goes through the same things over and over again. Yes, this is realistic for a college student as they tend to have schedules and routines, but this really should have been condensed down or should have actually had some relevance to the story.

Charley was alright. She was a rather flat character at times, and seemed to go through random obsessions throughout the book. She drinks Cherry Choice Golds (I have no idea what that is), loves country boys, and seems to go crazy whenever bacon is mentioned for a brief period in the novel. Not only were the random mentions of these things annoying and irrelevant, they were inconsistent. She mentions bacon around 8 times within 50 pages, but no mention in the rest of the book.

Cash was perhaps even flatter than Charley. He’s a really hot country boy, and really cares for Charley. That’s it. Of course, he’s also willing to make out with her whenever she wants.

Joe was really annoying. I rolled my eyes the first time he was introduced (Charley pretty much notices him as one of the super hot guys with chiselled abs), and didn’t really stop for a while after. He kind of hangs out around Charley, even though they’re not an official couple. Also, he lets Charley make out with him whenever she wants.

Charley, Cash, and Joe are involved in the most unrealistic relationship ever. Charley just toys around with both of them openly. I’m surprised that these two super-hot boys didn’t have a single problem with it. Not even Cash, who obviously loves her a lot. The kissing scenes were boring and way too common to be interesting. I seriously wondered why those two boys were letting Charley do this to them. Cash and Joe even become FRIENDS.

There are at least twenty minor characters, all that I did not give a single shit about. Each and every one was glossed over quickly and then appeared at random times throughout the book, mostly staying silent and doing nothing. How the hell was I supposed to remember so many insignificant characters?
The incorporation of Charley’s rape was also done poorly. Now, I understand the effects that being raped can have on someone: depression, fear, isolation, etc. It is a very frightening experience and can have many negative effects on someone. Apparently Charley was emotionally scarred from her experience, but I really didn't see it.

Charley would be completely fine. She’s be hanging out with all her amazing friends, making out with Joe, and partying, and then she’s suddenly bring up how her rape is still affecting her whole life. She seemed absolutely fine! She’d be happy and carefree and then she’d be like: “Oh, I can’t swim anymore because Dylan raped me :(.”  It was a little jarring to be reminded about Charley’s rape at such random moments. Also, this is a classic example of an author telling its readers something instead of showing them. If Charley was still affected by this, then the author should have shown us through Charley being fearful of strange men or isolating herself from others.

The main plot was spread awfully thin. It was kind of interesting, but was a little clichéd. The book could have been a lot better if more focus was placed on this. I’d estimate that there was one tiny plot development maybe every hundred pages.

By the end of the novel I was so bored by reading about so many swim practises and trips to Hank’s that I didn’t give a crap about the cliff-hanger at the end. The ending has a pretty big reveal that gave the whole plot a big push, and also involves a certain betrayal. I’m guessing that I was supposed to be surprised by the whole betrayal thing, but the characters were all developed so poorly that one of them could probably have been a serial killer and I wouldn’t be surprised. By the end of the book I felt like I still knew nothing about most characters.

I would not recommend this book to anyone. I’m honestly just thankful that I got this for free on Amazon and didn’t have to spend any money on it.


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