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Out of the Blue

Italian book blogger. Loves Jane Austen, ice cream, and the colour blue.
Temptation (Harlequin Teen) - Karen Ann Hopkins E-galley received from Netgalley for review.

Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins called to me when I first saw it on Netgalley. So I requested it, and then started reading it. I liked it, and was hooked enough to finish it quickly, but it also made me quite angry. Not to mention that I didn't know it is the first in a series, so the ending provides very little closure.

Rose Cameron is a sixteen-year-old girl who has just moved from Cincinnati to a small town with her father, a doctor, and her two brothers. Her mother passed away from cancer a few months before. Their next door neighbours are the Millers, an Amish family. Rose is immediately attracted to Noah, while he is very taken with her.

Rose and Noah start seeing each other in secret, because his parents wouldn't allow him to date an "English", that is non-Amish, girl, or even date at all; his parents are prompting him to choose a girl from his Amish community as his future wife and start "courting" her. At eighteen, he's just ready for marriage. When Noah and Rose's relationship is discovered, the two teens have to face difficult choices.

Before reading this book, I knew very little about the Amish way of life. Yes, I knew that they wear old-fashioned clothes, have large families, and don't use electricity. I can't imagine myself ever living that way, and I fail to see the attractive in living conditions straight from the 1800s. It struck me how antifeminist their views are, and for a modern girl to be willing to live, quite literally, barefoot and pregnant... no, I can't even consider it.

Let's start with the good features in this novel: it's a sweet romance, and the author knows very well how to make the reader swoon. The attraction between Rose and Noah is conveyed very believably with all the joy and strength of first love (Rose and Noah are each other's first kiss). I was very engrossed in the story and wanted to know how it ended. I thought I was going to get a resolution, but no, I need to wait the next book in the series (sigh).

And here are my complaints with this book. First of all, insta-love to the nth degree. Rose and Noah fall in love practically two days after meeting and start talking about marriage and children when they've known each other for two weeks. Surely you need more time to make such life-altering decisions? These two teens aren't in love; they are in lust.

Then there's the relationship between the two main characters. Noah is controlling, possessive and very jealous. He's considered an adult in his community, and thinks Rose behaves like a child, like a spoiled brat. He pressures her into becoming Amish without ever thinking seriously about abandoning the Amish ways himself. He is attracted to Rose becase she's very different from Amish girls, yet at the same time he wants her to change so that she'll become proper wife material for him, and constantly criticizes her clothes, her behaviour, her hobbies. At a certain point, he even considers getting Rose pregnant to force his parents to let them marry. Argh. If it had been me, I would've run away screaming and never looked back.

And what about Rose? She's described as spoiled and bratty, and I wouldn't really mind, if she hadn't set aside all of her favourite activities and dreams just to be with Noah. She's a ballet dancer and aspires to become a vet, but of course she won't be able to dance or listen to the music or study if she becomes Amish. She considers Noah all her life. Seriously, her whole life, her own sense of self is defined by a guy she's just met? When Noah suggests that he get her pregnant in order to be allowed to marry, she rejects the idea, because she's not ready to have a child and doesn't imagine herself having children before her late twenties. But later in the novel she's willing to consider the alternative. Argh. I wanted to bang her head into the wall at this point.

To make things short, Noah wants Rose to become Amish and get married. Rose wants Noah to become English, and thinks she has a better chance at persuading him if she's willing to conform to his ways. This is seriously messed up, and they both have a lot of growing up to do. At the end of the galley there's a teaser chapter for the next novel, told in Sam's point of view (he's Rose's elder brother). I found the change in perspective refreshing, but won't discuss the implications here, as it would be too spoilery.

I would like to read the next novel in the series to learn what happens next, in the hope that both Rose and Noah get to do some much-needed growing up. However, I think that in the end, Rose won't be able to adapt to the Amish ways; maybe Noah stands a better chance to conform to the modern way of life. Either than that, I feel that their relationship is pretty much doomed.

Cover attraction: it's beautiful! It perfectly adapts to the story. I love the dark silhouettes of the boy and girl kissing and their golden halo.