Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Series: Hopeless #1
Publication Date: December 19, 2012
Reading Level: New Adult, 18+
Pages: 327 (eBook)
Source: Borrowed from a Friend
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I was really looking forward to this book because everyone seems to love it, but it just wasn't for me.

The beginning of this book hit a lot of my pet peeves. In the first 20 pages there was slut-shaming, hypocrisy, stupid and unreal high school drama, stereotyping of gays, and stereotyping of blondes. Let me explain, albeit, I'll be quick about it.

Literally the first chapter of the book is Sky explaining how she's got a reputation around town for being a slut, despite being home-schooled all her life. She goes on to explain she's not actually a slut because she's a virgin. So, if she were to suddenly lose her virginity, she'd be a slut? Really? This annoyed me a lot. It didn't help that her and her best friend, Six, tossed around the word "slut" as a form of endearment. 
This line in the first chapter really annoyed me:
"Reading has introduced me to the (perhaps dramatized) horrors of high school and first days and cliques and mean girls."
See, since Sky was home-schooled every day but her senior year and her Mom, Karen, had a vendetta against anything technology related, all Sky could do was read. And reading, she admits, dramatizes the horrors of high school. A lot. And you want to know what Colleen Hoover does? All she does is dramatize high school in an unbelievable fashion. Which you can find next...

Unrealistic and Unbelievable High School Stupidity.
Upon her immediate arrival, the entire school knows that Sky's a slut/whore and reminds her every second they can in the hallway or my sticking notes on her locker. And they do this by shoving over thirty single dollar bills into her locker with a note apologizing that they didn't have a pole for her. Really? Really? This is so unbelievable dramatized, I can't even.

Stereotyping of Gays and Blondes.
The blond thing really annoyed me, especially in relation to blondes. Just look at this:
"Aren't you in my Science class?"Shayna/Shayla asks.
"English," I correct her.
She shoots me a condescending look. "I did speak English," she says defensively. "I said, 'aren't you in my Science class?'"
Nobody is that stupid. Stupid blonde jokes aren't even that stupid. I get the whole stereotype, but that is

The gay thing is a personal pet peeve because I have many gay friends that you wouldn't know were gay unless they told you. Yes, some people have rather flamboyant taste in clothing, but they can be straight or gay. I have many straight friends that have an out-of-this-world fashion sense. So to pick out the gay guy immediately because of how he dresses really grinds my gears.

Now that we're past the first 20 pages, allow me to continue. The overall story was interesting, and the ending was totally unexpected. At times, Sky really made me feel and she was a rather redeeming aspect to this story. However, I liked the brave outspoken Sky from the beginning of the book more than the Sky I met in the middle of the book. She returned slightly near the end, and I liked that. She's the only one to truly bring out emotions in me.

But I struggled with Holder. While I understand how so many people love him, I couldn't connect with him. He flew off the handle so easily in the beginning of the book and I just couldn't deal with it. I just knew it was going to happen again and again and it got old, especially because Sky eventually just kept forgiving him. Even if he ignored her for a month and wouldn't apologize. I didn't like this characterization.

I also hated the way that Sky and Holder interacted. They're 17 and 18 years old, they don't talk like psychologists. Seriously, they analyzed each other and even did self-reflection exercises and my mind is blown at the weirdness. There's one scene where they're doing some rather intimate things and he analyzes her connection to him. I don't get it! I do not. I do not. I do not. If you want to be a psychologist, send them to one instead of having them psycho-analyze themselves like they know what they're doing.

And perhaps the biggest issue I had with this story was how dark it suddenly turned. I didn't realize for it to go where it went or for it to get so serious. It almost seemed like it happened out of nowhere. I mean, there is a graphic suicide and disturbing realizations from the past coming to light. I wish the transition was more fluid. And, to make matters worse, I hated how it all came about. Sky's seventeen years old and she's suddenly just remembering everything out of nowhere. Bam, the memories just start coming back to her suddenly. It all seemed really weird to me.

With all that in mind, Hoover does have an amazing writing style and she does know how to tell a powerful story. I understand why it's widely loved. I just can't bring myself to love it because I found too many issues within the story that I cannot get over.
Warning: this book contains suicide, rape, sex, other sexual situations, periods of drunkenness, and cursing. It is incredibly graphic.

3 stars



  1. Not a big fan of slut shamming (I don't think anyone should be), so I'll probably pass on this one. And I'm kinda afraid of all the hype surrounding it. I'm a chicken! Great review, Lili :D

  2. Hmmm, must have been fairly good at parts if it got a 3 in spite of the bad things you listed to start. I do plan on trying this one. :/