Dear Ms. Clayton:
When I don’t know what to read next, I admit that I prowl the Amazon bestseller lists in the hopes of seeing something that will catch my attention. Your book’s risqué cover certainly did, and I downloaded a sample. I was immediately charmed by your breezy, light-hearted voice and purchased despite being leery of your publisher (Omnific, who publishes a lot of reworked fanfiction). The first half of this book was everything it promised to be, but I found that as the story wore on, it lost some of its charm.
Wallbanger is the story of Caroline, a young, single interior designer who has been without a boyfriend and without her ‘O’ for some time. She moves in to a lovely apartment that seems perfect, only to be awakened nightly by her neighbor, the ‘wallbanger’ of the title. He has a different woman over several nights in a row, and Caroline grows to hate him. Naturally they later meet up at a party and are forced together, and what follows is a flirty, coy friendship that eventually blossoms into something more. Caroline is wary of Simon and his ‘harem’, but falls for him.
Initially I was skeptical but hooked. Caroline seemed like a brash, fun, independent heroine and the hero was a manslut who was, in fact, sleeping with three different women. I wanted to see how you would turn him around and make him loveable.
The conversations between Caroline and Simon were fast, frenetic and amusing and I couldn’t wait to see how these two would end up together. In a world of instant-love romances, I loved that Caroline and Simon are friends for quite some time before moving on to other things, because it allowed me to enjoy their witty push-pull banter for that much longer. Unfortunately, the push-pull goes on for too long, and by the 70% mark on my kindle, I was ready for the book to be over and for them to consummate the deal. In my opinion, the latter half of the book dragged because of an overabundance of the will they won’t they scenario and I wanted the story to do something, anything, different at that point. It could have been 25% shorter and I would have been pleased.
As the story wore on, I began to have trouble with suspension of belief as well. I could suspend belief that Caroline and Simon could hear everything through their paper-thin wall; from sighs to snorts of disbelief to the cries of Simon’s harem. However, the suspension of disbelief items began to pile on. The cat’s ridiculous antics were aggravating, as was the fact that everyone thought it was adorable instead of obnoxious or disgusting. The hookups of the best friends of both seemed a little overly cute, and Simon’s later revelation that he’d never had a real relationship seemed farfetched. In addition, the closer that Caroline and Simon grow, the more beta male he became. I felt as if you defanged the manslut hero in order to make him hero material, but in doing so, you lost the things that I found appealing about him in the first place. By the end of the book, Simon is wimpy and needy and I was longing for the arrogant manslut of the first few chapters.
Overall, the book was a light, amusing read that went on a touch too long. I enjoyed it but it did not make me rush out to purchase your backlist; I need a break from the cuteness. If you enjoy a slightly more curse-word-happy and sexed up Kristen Higgins heroine, you would probably enjoy this story.
For me, the first half was a B+, but the second half fell to a C. Overall I’d have to round it out to a B-. Enjoyable but flawed.
PS –Upon further investigation…it seems this is another Twilight fanfic.