I read a lot of books for review. I’m also a writer. Sometimes this means that I read a book with my reader’s brain and sometimes with my writer’s brain. My writer’s brain is an odd place. You see, there are a lot of different tools a writer can use to try to tell his or her story.
Point of view: Single? Multiple?
Tense: Present? Past?
Pacing: Linear? Back and forth with flashbacks?
Overall, I’m not a fan of first person present tense in a story. I feel like it loses some drama. I’m also not a fan of rehashing events in a story from multiple perspectives. In other words, if you cover Friday night’s activities from Jane’s perspective, don’t then rehash them from John’s perspective.
Because of these preferences, I was quite prepared not to like Intentional. It was obvious from the first few chapters that the author was going to cover events multiple times, from multiple POVs, and she was going to go back and forth between at least two characters if not more. I even closed my Kindle for a few minutes, sighed, and had to talk myself into opening again. But then a strange thing happened. I started reading faster, and faster, and suddenly I didn’t want my bus to get to the terminal. I wanted a Monday morning traffic jam so I could keep reading.
Despite having some of my least favorite writing styles (which is purely personal preference…do not think that there is anything technically wrong with this book), the story drew me in. I just had to know what happened next.
Mattie is a young woman out on her own with her best friend Sarah. It is pretty obvious early on that Sarah is not entirely right. She’s jealous and we suspect quickly that she’s been behind a bad breakup that Mattie had with her college boyfriend, Ewan.
Mattie falls in love with Jeremy. It’s a whirlwind romance-one for the fairy tales. But Sarah is jealous and tries very hard to sabotage the relationship. From there, things get interesting. I won’t spoil the book for you, but we’ve got some love triangles, betrayal, and new beginnings.
While the characters are all in their 20’s and there are some mature themes in this book (love, heartache, cheating, death), I’d put this book firmly in the mature YA category. Sex is mentioned, deep kissing is described, but there’s no strong language, no graphic descriptions of the physical aspects of a relationship. Mattie is a virgin for most of the book and all sex is inferred rather than actually seen.
The ending was quite satisfying and the drama built nicely. There were a few reactions from the various characters that didn’t quite ring true, particularly for Mattie and for Jeremy’s family. When the betrayal happened and Mattie left Jeremy, she cut off all contact with his family. She loved them almost as much as she loved Jeremy and I just found it hard to believe that Mattie would not only cut off all contact with Jeremy but with his family as well. That said, she explained her reasons and while I didn’t necessarily agree with them.
Though the story jumped back and forth between timelines, the author did a great job with always letting us know where we were in the timeline. I never felt lost.
This was a solid romantic story. YA appropriate, but will definitely appeal to the more mature crowd as well.
Where to find M. K. Harkins
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