Reaching Avery (#2) by Jaclyn Osborn

Published: 24th March 2018Goodreads badge
 Self Published
Pages: 313
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Maverick Blake is the typical jock: athletic, handsome, extroverted, and popular. But there is so much more to him. Beneath the pretty face, there’s a guy who loves science, theater, and comic books. He wishes people would look past his appearance and see him for who he truly is, but most are only interested in the surface.

Avery Kinkead is used to people disappointing him—hurting him. He sees the world through leery eyes, and doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to escape the demons in his own mind. He has suffered more than most people twice his age, and his scars—both mental and physical—leave him untrusting of everyone, except for his younger brother and mom.

When Maverick meets Avery, he sees a broken boy who tries desperately to stay invisible, but Mav can’t stay away. Not when he sees the shadows behind Avery’s blue eyes, and the mistrust in his every glance.

It starts with a simple friendship, but soon, their hearts start getting involved, and things get complicated. As if graduating high school wasn’t hard enough.

I wanted to love this, I tried to love this! I did! I wanted to get caught up in this story about these two boys who are both pushing against stereotypes and see them come together and be their best selves. Instead what I got was a story that is good in concept but average in execution. While Osborn’s previous book in this series wasn’t perfect either I could look past the structural and writing side of it for the cute teenage romance. I couldn’t do that here, this was a much harder book to read because of the writing issues, it was hard not to notice when sentences and dialogue felt unnatural and unbelievable.

Initially I was able to look past the writing and tried to fall in love with Maverick and Avery, I enjoyed their flirtation and their uncertainty as they explored their feelings from afar. I also enjoyed when they finally came together because Osborn took it slowly and used her character’s experience and histories to guide their interactions. I persisted because I understood what she was trying to do, I could see the story there even if it wasn’t expressed the most eloquently or cleanly and it was good for a while, but towards the end of the novel it became too much. I couldn’t separate the narrative from the romance, the writing is corny but corny in a bad way. I couldn’t hear the character voices and often it felt like a collection of motivational quotes and life affirming optimism. Which isn’t terrible, having characters who are optimistic is fine, but there needs to be balance and a less in your face way of expressing it.

I was confused because Osborn wrote the first book fine, not perfect but better. There were so many things happening in this that were good, there was a lot about being yourself and not worrying what other people thought, there’s self doubt, imperfect family dynamics, there’s deeper darker things like self harm and abuse, but Osborn hasn’t navigate these topics in a strong enough way. The components are all there that could have made a great story, it just needed stronger editing and a bit of guidance.

There was diversity in the characters which was great to see, Osborn has brought together a group of people who are all different in the school social groups but brings them together to form strong bonds all the same. It was good to see cameos and revisits to characters we’d been introduced to in Noah’s Song and it was good to see how the story continued.

Avery was a sweet character and I think he had the best voice of them both, I enjoyed his chapters more because there was a bit more realness to him. Not that Maverick’s didn’t, but it felt less explored and shallow. There was also a great representation of all the secondary characters. You got a sense of all the characters involved and could understand who they were, even if they were only there briefly.

I did enjoy this book, I was caught up in the early days of romance between Maverick and Avery which is adorable at the heart of it. I liked what Osborn was trying to achieve, but I’m just disappointed it didn’t quite reach the mark, it has the possibility of being a wonderful book.

You can purchase Reaching Avery via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: