My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I’ve read a few other reviews from friends regarding this novel, and I hoped that the book would surpass my expectations. Sadly, that didn’t happen.
Don’t get me wrong. This was a very readable novel, even if it was pretty cliche-ridden. That said, there’s a reason cliches work, and Bitter End wasn’t a totally poor example of overused cliches.
I thought that Alex’s perspective on the situation was fairly nuanced–the reasons why she could end up in a relationship with Cole were clear. There were enough issues on her part, enough feelings of low self-worth, enough confusion and fear that the majority of her decisions made sense.
Sadly, I didn’t feel that way about most of the other subplots. If Cole was such a well-known athlete and he’d already had a restraining order issued against him AND been arrested, word would’ve gotten out right away. Unless he’d moved to a new state–which wasn’t established–there’s no way he could’ve kept that a secret.
The other thing that made no sense to me were the reactions of Alex’s friends. If they’d thought only that they were being ditched for Cole, their distant behavior would’ve made more sense. But they suspected, even outright warned Alex that Cole was abusive, and didn’t DO ANYTHING. Quite frankly, their behavior was far more reprehensible to me than Alex’s.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the summary style ending, but given the issues I had with the characters we were supposed to feel sympathy for, that was the least of my complaints.
What made the story realistic for me was Alex’s reaction to the relationships in her life–especially her relationship with Cole. Their dynamic boosted the novel to three stars.