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Thursday, October 20, 2011

'Relatively Honest' by Molly Ringle

Received from the Author

From the BLURB:


Eighteen year-old womanizer Daniel Revelstoke leaves his native London to study at the University of Oregon, dreaming of seducing one American girl after another. But he soon meets a new kind of woman in classmate Julie French. Her cleverness and resistance land Daniel in love for the first time in his life, to his deep confusion.

However, Julie's long-distance boyfriend and a bizarre family secret stand in Daniel's way to winning her. Since he can't quit obsessing over her, he decides to hide a few truths in order to draw closer to her, hoping that maybe she'll return his love and, when she finds out his devious path, forgive him. It's a gamble, but all's fair in love and college.

Daniel Revelstoke is leaving London with his hotelier parents, and kicking off his college life abroad. It’s perfect timing for Daniel, since his latest one-month girlfriend was getting a little too clingy (and even used the ‘L’ word), and Daniel has a particularly delicious weak-spot for American girls. Bring on the University of Oregon!

In his first week in the States, Daniel meets and begins an infatuation with Julie – a beautiful and sweet girl whose boyfriend is working at Daniel’s parent’s resort. Luckily though, Julie’s boyfriend is attending university inter-state, and conveniently leaving Julie all on her lonesome, with Daniel’s shoulder a prime place to dry her eyes.

But an incriminating ‘Don Juan’ email from Daniel’s last London ex has Julie wising up to his flirtatious ways. And as if things aren’t bad enough . . . Daniel’s mother is acting strange and keeping secrets and the family will not be prepared for the explosive reveal that’s to come.

‘Relatively Honest’ is the new contemporary romance YA novel from Molly Ringle.

This was a great, fun read. It’s a contemporary YA romance novel about a British ex-pat moving to America and discovering family secrets while falling in love for the first time in his life.

I initially had a small problem with the novel’s tepidness. The first line of the blurb labels Daniel as a young ‘womanizer’ – and that word instantly had me picturing a very particular kind of teenage boy. Except Ringle’s Daniel Revelstoke is the furthest thing from a ‘womanizer’, and when compared to real-life teen boy anecdotes he comes across painfully tame. Daniel is a self-confessed Casanova, admitting to putting a one-month cap on all his girlfriends and never getting too attached to them.

I wandered down the corridor, feeling high as a transcontinental jet. God, I loved the beginnings of flirtations. At such times I almost believed I could be in love – not that it ever turned out that way.
Not so far, at least.


Except as the story unfolds you realize that there’s a disconnect between Daniel (and Ringle’s) idea of a modern-day teen ‘womanizer’ and the reality of teenager’s sex lives today. Daniel admits to Julie, with much embarrassment and self-consciousness, that he has kissed (/snogged) fifty girls. Gasp! More than that he has had a ‘home run’, gone all the way and sexed up . . . four girls! Scandal! Daniel is eighteen, and just come from a fast-track London life. I honestly wasn’t raising eyebrows at kissing fifty and shagging four. That’s exceedingly tame, and aside from a few probable bouts of glandular fever, not terribly titillating. Considering some of the sexcapade stories I have heard from my male friends (beginning when they were sixteen, if not younger) I really wasn’t impressed by Daniel’s revelations. Other teen authors have written modern-day YA ‘rakes’ a lot better – Simone Elkeles, Jamie McGuire and Kody Keplinger to name a few.

On the flipside of this complaint, is the fact that Daniel is really likable. I was all prepared when I saw the word ‘womanizer’ to have to slog through chapters of his misogynistic revelries until he finds his heart (which is what happened with the books of those above authors). But Daniel isn’t really a womanizer at all – so he’s instantly adorable and fantastic to read. The fact that he’s British is half the fun – being Aussie, there’s a little less ‘dazzle’ attached to Daniel’s nationality, but I still found it great fun to read the Oregon girls reactions to Daniel’s use of the word ‘jumper’. It was too cute!

There is a BIG ‘twist’ to the book – concerning a family secret that will drag Daniel and Julie into its orbit. I did not see this twist coming . . . and while it was a little over-the-top, I still got completely caught up in the big reveal and found myself with a death-grip on my Kindle during the dénouement.

3/5

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