REVIEW ✧ DAMAGED LIKE US

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“I’m watched and observed all the time. By strangers. By cameramen. By people. And never, never have I come undone. Until now, until his eyes feel like hands, and I want them all over me.”

☆☆☆

Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

Oh boy, this book wasn’t what I was expecting…..and not in a good way. You all know how much I had been anticipating this book’s release and how much I love the authors, so you’re probably wondering what happened, right? Believe me, I’m shocked too. I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been waiting so long for this release or because we’ve come up with so many different potential plot lines and expectations that the only thing left was to be let down. I did like a lot of things about this book, don’t get me wrong, but I think that the overall underwhelming feeling I had from start to finish outweigh that. I actually debated giving this 2.5 stars but even I couldn’t do that to Lily Calloway. I have a lot to say so we better get started.

THE GOOD

  • As I said before, overall I enjoyed the plot of Maximoff falling in love with his bodyguard. I love the whole forbidden/secret romance trope so I thought this was a great use of that trope. Usually you get stories where the couple keeps a secret because it’s embarrassing or their friends would be disappointed in them, but here keeping the romance a secret was necessary, not just because of Maximoff’s lifestyle but because of Farrow’s job. They were incredibly smart about sneaking around and I kept waiting for the bomb to go off and their relationship would be discovered. There was so much tension between the two at the beginning and you could literally feel that so I really enjoyed that.
  • One thing that NA as a genre is lacking is representation, whether it be racially or sexually. What K&B did here was use their popularity and platform and help bring more diversity into their writing. I feel like it was not only the right thing to do in making Maximoff bisexual but it was incredibly important. Gay protagonists are pretty uncommon, but bisexual protagonists are like finding a unicorn or seeing Bigfoot: pretty unlikely. They could’ve stated this fact and still paired him with a female love interest but they didn’t, and I respect that. Not only that, but K&B are also working to bring more diversity to their characters; we know nothing can be done about the core families because it’s too late to change them, but there’s a bunch of new characters in the security teams with different ethnicities, all playing pretty important roles. I can see how K&B have taken the “lack of diversity” critique seriously and are trying to bring it more into their writing and I’m glad they’re listening to their readers.
  • Speaking of the security team, I loved them so much. I was worried that we wouldn’t see to much of these new characters or that I wouldn’t like them but I’m glad I was wrong here. As soon as K&B published all of their Pinterest boards I stalked the hell out of them, already picking my favourites. That’s how excited I was about the new characters. And thank god, my predictions were correct. Akara, who is Sullivan’s bodyguard, ended up being my favourite, like I said he would, and that’s probably one of the biggest things that got me through this book. Not that I’m saying I want those two to fall in love but I’d surely appreciate it. *bats eyelashes*

THE BAD

  • From the moment I started reading this, I knew something was off about the writing. I couldn’t figure out what it was but just grammatically it felt incredibly rushed and choppy, something I’m not used to from the twins. So many sentences felt abruptly cut off in the middle of ideas when it easily could’ve been continued with a comma. It might just be me, I don’t know, but personally as I was reading it just felt like not a lot of time REALLY went into the editing process, therefore creating a rough hard-to-enjoy final product.
  • The thing I hated most about this book was all the goddamn fourth wall breaks. I’m definitely not used to that kind of writing style but when it was used in Tangled by Emma Chase, which is an amazing book by the way, I thought it was amazing and hilarious. But I think the difference between that and this is that Emma Chase broke the fourth wall well. Here, well, it wasn’t. As the co-narrator, Maximoff often spoke to the reader directly about his siblings or cousins, particularly how they are perceived “by the media.” He’ll go on tangents about how we know them as versus how he knows them as and finish with the repetitive “if you mess with them blah blah blah.” It was alright the first time, but he did it for every single one of his siblings and whichever cousins he was in a scene with, like Jane or Sullivan. This might have more to do with how I don’t like how K&B are writing most of the kids, but overall it was irritating and unnecessary. If you think about it, it was more like K&B defending their characterization of whichever character they were talking about like “yeah, you perceive them as this way but really they’re like this” and you kinda sit there thinking “ok but you made me perceive them this way and made that one thing their defining trait.” I get that they like their characters having quirks, but there should be more to them than that and you shouldn’t have to defend that through this kind of writing.
  • When a story is continued with the main protagonists’ kids, one of the most important things (in my opinion) is to make sure that the kids have their own distinct voice. Sure, you can compare them to their parents but it should be pretty minimal. Sadly, here I felt like Maximoff’s voice wasn’t his. Honestly, he felt more like a slightly more empathetic and more responsible version of his father, Loren Hale. I think that K&B were just trying too hard with his character, making sure he had similar physical attributes to Lo and even spoke like him, that he didn’t feel like his own original character and it was hard to connect with him. It was easier to connect with Farrow, but that’s probably because he was a new character and there weren’t much expectations. But I was really expecting Maximoff to be a certain way, especially from what we saw of him in Some Kind of Perfect, but he wasn’t so I’m disappointed that he didn’t turn out to be the character I was expecting.
  • I hated the reality show concept in Kiss the Sky, I hated it when they brought it back in Long Way Down, and I still hate it now. Most of all, I hate that Maximoff and the rest of his family are now “American royalty.” I’m sorry, but that’s just so dumb. I understand that it was definitely used as a plot device, but the constant paparazzi and ridiculous headlines were so cringe worthy that I got secondhand embarrassment. They’re kind of like today’s headlines on crack but they’re used as messy plot lines to create more drama and I feel like they weren’t used in the right way, especially the “plot twist” headline for Maximoff and Jane near the end. That was really bad.
  • There wasn’t enough Lily Calloway. I’m petty enough to say that this made the book bad.
  • He’s a 22-year old grown ass man. Stop calling him Moffy. His name is Maximoff (I blame you, Ryke Meadows).

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • As underwhelmed as I am about this book, I appreciate and respect what K&B did in terms of representation and diversity. I just wish that the writing had been better, which is something I’d never thought I’d say since I’ve loved their writing so much in the past. It was fine, but it’s definitely not their best work.
  • You get to see the Addicted Gang again so I guess that makes it worth it.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

tumblr_mpmwqulMMs1rrw61mo4_250

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Damaged Like Us (Like Us #1)
Author: Krista and Becca Ritchie
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 400 (Kindle)
Goodreads

What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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