Author: Jennifer Young
Series: Going Back Series
Publish Date: April 20th, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Feisty, redheaded, and fabulously rich student, Leona Castellano, is set upon returning to her Italian roots to put an old feud to bed. Her grandfather is dead, but his former enemy, Faustino Manfredi, seems determined the hostility should not die with him and turns his fury upon Leona.
When she becomes close to Faustino’s grandson, Nico, their romance strengthens Faustino’s vendetta and attracts the opposition of Leona’s parents, bringing Leona and Nico face to face with a terrible secret.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Having received this work as an ARC, I did not have the opportunity to read the first installment in the series prior to reading and reviewing Going Back, and I was consequently frustratingly lost regarding previous events as well as the backstories and prior relationships between characters. While small portions of this were gradually revealed using a nonlinear technique, it was difficult to piece together a complete picture.
Plot-wise, major events were evenly spaced, albeit sparse, and the book progressed at a steady pace. The majority of the work, however, appeared to be a rehashing of the thoughts, emotions, conversations, etc. that I would have expected to have transpired at the conclusion of the preceding book in the series. An enormous amount of time was set aside to seemingly harp on prior events without an effort on behalf of the characters to rectify the situation at hand or alleviate their consequential fears. I would have preferred seeing additional plot points and unexpected twists and turns, particularly at the beginning of the work, rather than repeatedly hearing the same thoughts and concerns voiced by various characters. Mind you, I still don’t feel as if I learned the full story that was divulged in the first book of the series.
Leona was obnoxious both as a protagonist and narrator, often forgetting to act her age instead of her shoe size. There were several occasions where I thought a full toddler meltdown was in the works. While I was disappointed in this respect, Leona still managed to throw an impressive number of tantrums whenever attention was even mildly diverted from herself or events did not transpire as she would have liked. And yes, she was unquestioningly old enough to recognize that life isn’t fair and not everything revolved around her.
Considering that Going Back was marketed as a romance novel, I was disappointed by its absence in the book. While there was a slight rekindling of an old relationship at its conclusion, I have a feeling that the majority of the romance was present in the first book in the series. I was disappointed that readers didn’t have the opportunity to see the initial development and progression of any romantic relationship in the book.
Young’s writing style was relatively inconsistent with respect to the level of detail and volume of information that was revealed regarding particular scenarios and characters. Certain scenes were description-laden to the point of excess, whereas others appeared to be lacking in this department. Similarly, as previously and indirectly mentioned, it was challenging to discern whether Young was making the assumption that readers were tackling her works in chronological order, or the expectation was that this work could serve as a standalone. She wavered back and forth between repeatedly recounting various scenes which, I assume, are from the previous installment and introducing new events. Young’s uncertainty as to how to tackle this situation was evident and unfortunately did not leave a favorable impression.
|Plot & Premise|