Leaving Kate by JD Corbett
Published by Books To Go Now
★ (1/5 stars)
THIS IS A MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE REVIEW.
The one spoiler is clearly indicated.
I was fortunate to receive a PDF copy of Leaving Kate from the author herself, JD Corbett, in exchange for an honest review. That said, the following review is my own.
Summary from Goodreads:
No big chances, and no big changes. This was Kate’s motto. With her father out of the picture, and a mother who had quit being “mom” a long time ago, Kate finds herself floating through life under the shelter of her brother and best friend. Afraid of rocking the boat and having to face the world alone, she makes every effort to keep her circle tight. That is, until she meets Eric, the charming Southern boy from Texas who stands out like a sore thumb in the bustling city of D.C. Eric has suffered much in his past, but, unlike Kate, he has learned to grow from his experiences instead of run from them.
When Eric first arrives in the city, he is a bit out of place. His southern drawl and beat up cowboy boots aren’t exactly a fit for the area. Motivated by the necessity to get the best help possible for his mother, he strives to rise above his tragic past and make the most of his new surroundings. He already has plans to be a soldier, just like his father, and he will see his commitments through. After meeting Kate, he thought that falling in love was a positive turning point in his life, but instead he was taken for a ride on an emotional roller coaster.
Just when Kate finally begins to let her guard down, letting Eric in, dark events cloud her new sunny attitude towards life and love. After a traumatic incident that shatters her whole world, fears from her past re-surface and she is forced to decide if she is willing to stay open to love, or if the risk is just too great.
And a decision needs to be made soon or she will lose everything.
At-a-Glance Review: There are too many things happening in this story. The first 50 pages of this book could be spread out and developed into one novel. Instead, Leaving Kate reads like a highlights reel.
This is my first DNF (did-not-finish) review on the blog. As mentioned in my Review Policy, I do not fully review a book I did not finish. However, I do write something to explain why I stopped reading.
I received the PDF of Leaving Kate from the author, JD Corbett, after requesting a copy over Twitter. I knew it to be a romance, my favorite genre, and written by a new author. I was excited to review something new by someone new, being that I’m new to the book blogging community myself.
*rips off the bandaid*
I didn’t like what I read. The characters and plot were hardly developed. The book read more like an outline with bits of stilted dialogue thrown in. The lack of development makes the characters unlikable, their narration unreliable, and their relationships unbelievable.
I read nearly half of this book, and that saw the beginning and resolution of Kate and Eric’s relationship; they meet, have two interactions, and get together officially. The first half of the book (around 60 pages) takes place over the course of multiple months.
The one scene that I liked in Leaving Kate was Chapter 7. It’s the only one-on-one between Kate and Eric, and their interest in each other is made believable and interesting. (Kate, for once, shows interest in someone other than herself for the first time. Eric, for once, isn’t creeping on/stalking Kate.) The book needs many more scenes like this one for their relationship to make any sense — and it put me off that I read almost half of this book and this was all I got.
<spoiler>There was a scene where they go on their first date, and it started off cute — a sort of montage of them getting to know the basics about each other over dinner. After dinner, they go back to Kate’s house (where she lives with her mother, stepfather, and twin brother), and they hang out in her room. It’s awkward; they have nothing to say to each other. Then her stepfather, Mike, calls her downstairs.
The scene is from Eric’s point of view, so we miss most of the conversation, but he overhears Mike calling Kate a “whore”. Kate comes back upstairs, asks if Eric wants to leave, and then she takes him to her favorite spot in the city. Nice. This is all good. A handful of sentences later, and Eric tries to kiss Kate, she doesn’t let him, and he proceeds to get whiny and awful.
The next chapter shows him refusing to make the first move because he’d been so embarrassed…. What. Of course she doesn’t want to kiss him! He clearly heard her stepfather calling her a “whore”. Like. What. Eric is clearly a Nice Guy, and that’s beyond gross.</endspoiler>
I kept reading after this point because I really wanted to make an effort to finish the book, but I finally gave up nearly halfway after even more character inconsistencies.
There are just too many things happening in this story. The romance between Eric and Kate is rushed, friendships and familial relationships aren’t given any actual attention or development. The first 50 pages of this book could be spread out and developed into one novel. Instead, Leaving Kate reads like a highlights reel. There should have been more scenes like the chapter at Eric’s work, where they learned about each other and actually made some movement toward love. (This one scene gives me hope for JD Corbett’s future works, but Leaving Kate should have been workshopped and edited again before publication.)
All in all, I do not recommend this novel, as I believe it should be proofread and developed a bit more, and possibly broken up into two (if not three) separate books.
CONTENT WARNINGS (for the first half of the novel)
- sexual harassment
- abandonment issues
- slut shaming
- Nice Guys