In brief: Ian’s no longer the boy who got teased mercilessly in The Hollows. Now he’s a successful graphic novel artist and author with a lovely girlfriend, Megan. One problem: his childhood friend Priss won’t leave him alone and things begin to turn sinister…
The good: Action packed, you never know when Priss will turn up.
The not-so-good: I guessed the twist early on and was disappointed when there wasn’t anything further to add.
Why I chose it: Recommendations from others to read Lisa Unger. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the eARC.
Pages: 400 (eARC)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Setting: New York City and The Hollows, USA
My rating: 6 out of 10
I know a lot of people really like Lisa Unger’s books. I’m partial to the odd psychological thriller myself. I read In the Blood last year and thought it had some clever, creepy moments. So I thought I’d try her latest book, Crazy Love You to see what kind of twisted journey I could be transported on. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. While the book’s plot moves at a breakneck speed, I guessed the twist early on and I kept reading, hoping to be surprised by a blind turn or a subtle piece of evidence I’d missed. But it didn’t happen. Not even the ‘but it was all a dream’ ending. There was no punch, no tricks, no nothing. I think I would have enjoyed this book more had I not guessed the twist, but I think there were so many hints that it’s pretty hard not to work things out.
Crazy Love You has a very interesting plot though. It’s told from the first person perspective of Ian, a successful graphic novel artist and author living in a really cool loft in New York City. His life is pretty sweet, he’s found a great girl in Megan and people love his Fatboy and Priss stories. Ian has a sad past though – his little sister died as a baby and his mother lives in a psychiatric institution in The Hollows (a familiar setting in Unger’s books). Ian was also teased for his weight as a child/teenager, but he always had his friend Priss. She was his strength, but she had a nasty habit of getting him into trouble. Ian’s starting to work out that Priss is a bad influence on his life, but Priss doesn’t want to let their relationship end. What’s great is how Ian’s life is mirrored in his Fatboy and Priss novels. I loved reading how the next story would develop even more than Ian’s real life, because it had that element of fantasy and positive spin to it.
As for the characters, I started off sympathising with Ian. As the novel progressed, I lost my patience with him. He’s essentially weak and although there are other factors at play, he’s increasingly unlikeable. I didn’t feel that Megan deserved him – she was a good girl, rather innocent but I wondered how their connection could stay so strong. Was it her need to save Ian, redeem him? I felt she brought much more to the relationship than he did. And as for Priss – she’s a firebrand. Determined, she won’t let anybody stand in her way – which is exactly what Ian needed to balance the weak parts of his personality. Even though she wreaks havoc in the story, I wish she’d done something with the ending. I felt it was a bit of a cop-out, a letdown. I like thrillers to have some form of sense, rather than relying on unproven subjects to ‘explain’ why things happened that way. (I’m not going to spoil the ending here).
The story of Crazy Love You is good, but the ending just didn’t do it for me. Other readers may not see the twist or be happy for the ending to be slightly ambiguous/implausible, but I’m afraid I couldn’t forgive that. I would like to read a Fatboy and Priss novel though!