Author: Colleen Hoover
Length: 8 hours
Narrator: Elizabeth Louise & Sebastian York
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Original Publication Date: 2015
Genre(s): New adult, Romance, Contemporary
Auburn doesn’t expect a one-night gig working a stranger’s art gallery to change her life forever—she just needs the money. She recently moved to Dallas—which she hates—and hardly knows anyone there apart from her dead boyfriend’s family and her new roommate. She’s surprised to find herself immediately drawn to this mysterious artist, like she’s known him all her life…but not so into him to spill all her secrets.
Owen owns a gallery called Confess, where people leave him anonymous confessions that inspire his paintings. He’s had a recent string of girlfriends, but they always leave—they don’t seem to understand that his art comes first. So he can’t believe his luck when Auburn shows up at his door, answering his Help Wanted sign. Auburn seems entranced by his art, but somewhat reluctant to share her own confessions. That’s okay with Owen, though—he’s got his own secrets he’s unwilling to share, too.
I hate finding a new author that I like, because I always always always compare the second book I read by them to the first. I fell in love with November 9, but found Confess didn’t impress me in the same way. They’re separate stories, of course, but I just found myself let down by Confess a little.
The story is told in alternating, first-person POV chapters featuring Auburn and Owen. The story follows the pair after their first meeting and onward, though Owen makes it clear early on that he knows Auburn (loosely) from the past—she just doesn’t know him. Throughout the story, the two change each other’s lives in more ways than either of them could ever have expected. And, of course, they fall in love along the way.
With stories like these, the chemistry between the two characters is absolutely key. The book succeeds in this. Unfortunately, the characters themselves just didn’t draw me in. Their relationship was great, but the characters alone were either annoying or unconvincing. They didn’t pull me in! I didn’t connect with them, I didn’t ache for them… I just didn’t feel enough towards them. And that made me sad, because other than their steamy scenes or their sweet scenes, I was mostly disinterested. The story itself was interesting, but the characters just need a little…more…to keep me hooked.
As always, I felt annoyed with the female and in love with the male. Owen was pretty much perfect (of course…); Auburn, on the other hand, was just frustrating. She let everyone walk all over her. She didn’t have a backbone. And I get that she’s young, and certain people can make you feel small, but I just couldn’t feel more sympathy for her more than I felt annoyed by her. And when I’m annoyed with a character for the entire span of the story, it’s just hard for me to enjoy the novel. (Also, can I just say that when two men fight, I have never understood why the women just stand by and scream? Like, wow, that’s helpful…)
Most of the problems in this book could have been solved if the characters had just been open and honest with each other. Yeah, I get they’re practically strangers and that the secret-keeping literally makes the story what it is, but ugh, I just don’t understand the need to be secretive! I don’t know. The fact that Owen and Auburn kept important info from one another just annoyed me even more.
I’m not trying to say I disliked the book, because I did enjoy it! I just felt it lacked in the character department. It’s silly to write perfect characters. But it also sucks when a character is overwhelmingly annoying. Luckily, the story was interesting enough, and their romance warm enough, to keep me reading. It’s no November 9, but it was an enjoyable read. I can’t say too much for fear of ruining the story, so I’ll stop now. If you like Colleen Hoover’s other books, you’re bound to like this one, too. Good luck not hating Auburn, though…
–“There are people you meet that you get to know, and then there are people you meet that you already know.”
–“Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.”
–“It’s amazing how much distance one truth can create between two people.”