REVIEW: Effortless by S.C. Stephens
This review contains spoilers for Thoughtless which I reviewed here.
Dear Ms. Stephens:
This is a sequel to Thoughtless. While it could be read alone, I don’t think it should because the conflict that drives the story are the insecurities the two main protagonists have over the other person’s fidelity. I liked that this was what drove the conflict.
To recap Thoughtless, Kellin and Denny were best friends. Denny cajoled his girlfriend, Kiera, to come to college with him in Seattle. Then he left her to take an internship in Phoenix, leaving Kiera and Kellin alone. Kiera and Kellin fall for each other but Kiera does not break it off with Denny and when Denny moves back to Seattle, the three engage in a torrid and painful love triangle. Kellin acts out by sleeping around with one and sometimes even two women. Kiera sleeps with both Denny and Kellin. Ultimately, Kellin and Kiera get together at the end of Thoughtless but both are wracked with insecurities about their relationship.
Kellin and his band get invited to be the opening act of another larger band and go on tour with them. Kellin was a manwhore and he had little trouble in finding women to console him while Kiera was off with Denny. Kiera worries that while he is away and lonely it will be hard for him to turn away the constant number of women who will be throwing themselves at him.
Kellin worries about Kiera because leaving her alone is exactly what led Kiera to turn away from her long time boyfriend Denny and climb into bed with Kellin.
The situation is complicated when Denny returns from Australia sans girlfriend. He isn’t interested in re-starting any relationship with Kiera, his girlfriend is coming over as soon as she is done with school but Kiera decides not to tell Kellin. As always, these lies will come back to haunt Kiera but not as much as they should. Kiera’s ability to endure without repercussions in both these stories is frustrating and remarkable. Oh that we could all sin with such impunity. Kiera asks her friends to lie for her again in order to “protect” Kellin.
Jealousy, anxiety, and worry move the story along with Kiera and Kellin spending a surprising amount of time together despite Kellin being on tour. One thing that I noted in this book more so that Thoughtless was how dated it read. Kiera burns a CD for Kellin’s Discman. She acknowledges that more and more people are moving to those MP3 things. The idea that a musician like Kellin has a Discman in 2012 kind of blows my mind. The other thing was the lack of texting, emailing and regular keeping in touch the way that normal people do in this day and age. Kiera buys the two of them cell phones so that they can stay connected when Kellin goes off on his tour. Again I was struck by how archaic that seemed. These young adults don’t all have cell phones and aren’t texting each other every minute.
The tour elements seemed well done and added a dimension to a book that could have easily been bogged down with constant angst. By itself, I don’t think Thoughtless is as interesting a book, but for anyone who reads Effortless, it’s almost a must read book. C