Size Doesn’t Matter (134): Done Dirt Cheap; How (Not) to Fall in Love

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (134): Done Dirt Cheap; How (Not) to Fall in LoveDone Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Published by Amulet Books on March 7, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

I took a chance on Done Dirt Cheap. Nothing about the book description sounds like a book I was liable to enjoy, but something (the cover, maybe, or okay that Lenore told me about a sex scene) made me want to give it a try. Done Dirt Cheap surprised me. It’s Daughters of Anarchy, and it’s awesome.

Okay, so I’ve actually never watched Sons of Anarchy, but I’m assuming. Done Dirt Cheap is about the daughter of the head of a motorcycle club and her friend, who’s getting close to them for her creepy lawyer, drug-runner boss. My personal pitch is that it’s like Sons of Anarchy meets Veronica Mars, since there is a mystery/taking-on-the-man component that reminds me of VMars.

Lemon’s writing is absolutely lovely. Though not poetic or as pretentious, there’s something dark and luscious and edgy about her prose that’s reminiscent of Elliot Wake. The characters have southern accents but Done Dirt Cheap isn’t written in dialect. Lemon conveys the environment with subtle cues, but not with style. Lemon’s writing doesn’t seem like it should fit the story but it’s somehow perfect.

The book’s also total crack; I couldn’t put it down once I started. There’s constant drama and romantic tension and action going on, so you really just want to keep turning those pages. I wasn’t emotionally invested, but I was definitely constantly excited to find out what would happen next. Lemon manages to tell a very melodramatic story in a way that makes it seem way more reasonable and not like a massive drama llama. I’m also totally into these ships, which are so not my usual ships at all. Tourmaline and Virginia aren’t the sort of girls I’ve ever known, but they’re well drawn and sympathetic, as is the rest of the cast (minus the villains).

Done Dirt Cheap‘s a beautifully done novel, compelling and gorgeously written. Even if it doesn’t necessarily sound like your sort of book, it may be worth a try.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Size Doesn’t Matter (134): Done Dirt Cheap; How (Not) to Fall in LoveHow (Not) to Fall in Love by Lisa Brown Roberts
Published by Entangled Teen on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington never had to worry about money or where her next shopping spree was coming from. Even her dog ate gourmet. Then one day, Darcy’s car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. As her father’s business hit the skids, Dad didn’t just skip town, he bailed on his family.

Fortunately, Darcy’s uncle owns a thrift shop where she can hide out from the world. There’s also Lucas, the wickedly hot fix-it guy she can’t stop crushing on, even if she’s not sure they’ll ever get out of the friend zone.

But it’s here among the colorful characters of her uncle’s world that Darcy begins to see something more in herself… if she has the courage to follow it.

*sighs heavily* I really hate when objectively I can tell that a book is fine, but personally I’m just not feeling it. How (Not) to Fall in Love does a lot of things well, but it’s far too sentimental to work for me as a contemporary romance.

The book description’s actually a bit misleading. It makes Darcy sound like the typical spoiled rich girl, when actually she was rich but not particularly spoiled. Aside from being really concerned about getting her Audi back, Darcy deals with her new straitened circumstances like a champ. She figures things out and takes care of both herself and her mother (who turns to alcohol to cope). Darcy gets a job and she works hard. Darcy’s genuinely a nice, hard-working person. She’s SO nice. Which is why I feel really bad being bored by her.

I read How (Not) to Fall in Love because Roberts’ The Replacement Crush was bantery and voicey fluff, and I shipped it really hard. Obviously I wanted to read Roberts’ backlist. Unfortunately, this book is not the same kind of contemporary. Darcy’s occasionally funny and she occasionally gets off a bit of banter, but mostly this book runs to sentiment and inspirational cheesiness. That sort of stuff just makes me roll my eyes.

For example, let’s take Darcy’s dad, who’s a motivational speaker who does videos and stuff. The book treats him really sympathetically, which isn’t what I would expect from this sort of preacher-y dude when he’s run off from his family and basically admitted the whole thing was a scam. On the one hand, that’s interesting and I can appreciate it objectively. On the other hand, though, I didn’t want a sympathetic portrayal of this guy who ran off from his family and who made such cheesy inspirational videos.

This book moves slow and feels long. Darcy and Lucas are okay. They’re both really nice. And it’s an interracial romance, which is cool; Lucas is Hispanic. *shrugs* The plot reads a bit unevenly. Darcy spends most of the book working to keep her family functioning. Then, once her mom’s in AA and they’ve got a new place to live, she goes on this stupid quest to find her father who left them. I say stupid because for no real reason she insists on doing it alone, so she sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night and drives from Colorado to Montana IN DECEMBER. WITHOUT CHECKING THE WEATHER. It turns out fine, but jesus christ Darcy wtaf.

This book is fine. It’s not stellar, certainly, but it’s got things to recommend it, and it could be quite good for a reader with more patience for sentiment.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:




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