Review: Falling For the Hometown Girl by Shelli Stevens

My rating: 1 / 5 stars

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.2 / 5 stars

My first one star rating of the year. It hurts my bookworm heart every time I have to Falling for the Hometown Girl (Marshall Ranch, #2)give a book a one star rating but there was just nothing I enjoyed about this book. There’s nothing outright offensive or problematic about this book. It just isn’t good, unfortunately. This very well could be a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” I occasionally think I want to try giving the new adult genre a chance and each time I’m sorely disappointed. However, I know there are tons of devoted fans of the genre and they may end up loving this book.

Falling for the Hometown Girl follows the relationship of Katie and Hunter. Both grew up in Marietta, Montana but they had totally different experiences. Katie loves Montana and could never even imagine leaving her family ranch. She tried living in Seattle for a year in college and quickly realized it wasn’t for her. Hunter on the other hand never felt like he belonged in Marietta. He grew up a town outcast and didn’t bloom until he left the country behind for city living. That is, until fate brings him back to Marietta. Hunter, along with two others, heads to Marshall ranch for a week long bachelor getaway. At Marshall Ranch, Hunter is reminded of the one thing he did love about Marietta – Katie.

Why didn’t I like this book?

1. Every character is a stereotype. Hunter appears to be the picture of a Seattle hipster  – skinny jeans, designer hoodie, made a fortune in video game design – yet he still longs for the outdoors because of his country roots.

The smell of grass, dirt, and pine trees were as familiar to him as the organic craft coffee he drank every day. 

This sentence happens about five pages into the book and garnered a serious eye roll from me. But I wanted to give the book a chance. It wasn’t till four pages later that I seriously considered calling it quits when Katie said this…

The only sport I’m into is rodeo. 

Speaking of Katie, she’s the super cliche female protagonist I’m sick of reading about. She’s a wholesome, virginal good girl. She’s low maintenance and doesn’t care about things like clothes and makeup. She never wears heels and always wears her hair in a simple, no-fuss braid. But somehow, she’s pretty in a way other girls aren’t.

There are also only two kinds of guys in this book: nice guys and jerks. Hunter is too perfect. He prefers hiking to gyms, star-gazing to clubbing, and he always has total respect for women. The groom, Hunter’s friend Lance, is his perfect foil. Lance is rude, disrespectful, cheats on his fiance regularly, doesn’t like being outdoors, and lives for the party life. Katie’s boyfriend (more on this next) is also a foil to Hunter’s goodness. He’s arrogant, controlling, and there’s nothing sexy about him. Basically, the author creates all of these jerks so we are forced to see how amazing Hunter is. It’s like she’s screaming at us the whole book “he’s not like other guys.” I like an author who doesn’t assume I’m not intelligent enough to make my own judgement about a character.

2. There’s a cheating story line. I don’t mind the cheating or affair story line if it’s done well, but in this case it was pointless. We are told a few times in the beginning that Katie has a boyfriend, Jim the town deputy. This is used as the conflict that keeps Katie and Hunter from being together in the beginning. I felt like it was a pointless plot device. Couldn’t the reason for not getting together have simply been Hunter was only there for a week? On top of this, we are reminded practically every other page that her and Jim aren’t that serious in order to absolve Katie of any guilt or wrongdoing.

3. Hunter has been obsessed with Katie since high school. In fact, he booked the week at her ranch specifically in hopes of running into her and even possibly  more *wink wink*. This is meant to be romantic, as if she’s “the one that got away.” The problem is, she doesn’t even hardly remember him and it’s indicated that they never really spoke or interacted in high school. Because of this, instead of reading as romantic it read as creepy and obsessive. I couldn’t get over the fact that as 30 year old Hunter was booking the ranch and hoping to get lucky, he was imagining 15 year old Katie. Super gross.

4. The word “sweetheart.” Hunter calls Katie “sweetheart” throughout the entire book. It was used so many times that it basically lost all meaning, any sweetness, and was just plain annoying by the end.

5. And finally the most cheesy line I think I’ve ever read

He hadn’t realized how rarely he ate gluten now, until he sank his teeth into those buttery, flaky carbohydrate bombs.

You know, because gluten and carbs are completely forbidden in Seattle.

This book was full of cliches and over-used romance tropes. There are so many contemporaries and new adult romances out there so there’s no reason to waste your time with this one.





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