BLOG REVIEW: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

19yo freshman has an easier time adjusting to her studies in college
than getting out of her longtime best friend's social influence.
She never would have guess that 21yo college hockey defenseman Hero
would look at her twice. Let alone watch a movie with her in her dorm room
 and make out with her.
Little did she know how his quick after-intimacy abandonment
and the disbelief of her college friends about his interest in her would make life tougher. 
She doesn't really mind it since he continues to show interest in her.
The deal-breaker comes when he confesses why he can no longer go on with their little fling.
His apology soon after didn't make a difference as she wants nothing to do with him.
Three months of summer break only gave her a new determination to change her life, including her appearance.
Hero still persists in wanting a 2nd chance with her.
But she's not sure how much she can trust him, given his history with women in general and her specifically.
What will it take for her to trust him again? 

I was really hoping that this would be a terrific Hero-groveling book. Or at least, a good-enough one. Well, the Hero did make amends:

      ------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-------

1. He sincerely apologized to heroine for rejecting her the night she wanted to give her virginity to him due to his admission that he was using her to distract himself from his unrequited love for his best friend's girlfriend.
2. He persisted in trying to communicate with her via texting, phone calls, & sending messages to her with people she knew during the 3 months she was away during summer break.
3. He didn't want any other woman & even tried to hookup with a willing woman once but couldn't go through with it, when she kissed him. He maintained a 6-month celibacy since the 1st time he and heroine started fooling around.
4. He was intent on becoming a better man. Partly for her and partly for himself. He lessened his partying and drinking and no more womanizing. He became more serious with his schoolwork, continued helping take care of his alcoholic dad, and planned on enjoying his last year of school with heroine.

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There is that. But I had problems surrounding his grovel, which made this book less than a terrific or good-enough read for me. It was actually a rough read, very on & off after the 35% mark. It had many inconsistencies ( i.e, she thought he enabled his alcoholic dad then she didn't and then she did, he was in love with his best friend's girlfriend for months then later he never was). It also lacked emotional pull of the romantic kind. I almost DNFed (Did Not Finish) it at 50% & then a few more times after that, wondering when the heck it was gonna end. I did finally skim the last 10 pages since I had enough. It wasn't gonna get any better.

Heroine's trite attitude towards romance with Hero made this book unromantic overall. She had a take-it-or-leave-it approach with him throughout the book. She seemed to have one foot out of the door the whole time, even at the end when they were officially dating exclusively for months. Heroine seemed ready to put a stop to her relationship with Hero at the first sign of perceived trouble. I understood her mistrust of him, based on how jerkily he treated her during their 8-day hookup. However, they were merely playful sexual explorations that occured within the same week:

       ------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-------

pre-acquaintance interaction (Thursday night): Hero drunkenly leered at her as he zips up his pants, after coming out of a bathroom from bathroom sex with some random woman.

Day 1 (Friday night): Hero mistakes her dorm room for somebody else's but stays to watch a movie with her. 1st makeout with heavy petting (i.e. fingering).

Day 2 (Saturday morning): Hero wanted to prove his sexual prowess until she orgasms via fingering within 20 mins

Day 3 (Sunday) to Day 5 (Tuesday): no interaction

Day 6 (Wednesday night): movie run-in & closet dry-hump hookup with both orgasming

Day 7 (Thursday morning): Hero kisses her publicly @ her dorm's cafeteria to prove to the gossiping girls that heroine has caught his interest. He also publicly declares drives her to his hometown's water tower.

Day 8 (Friday night): They kiss, she orals him, & both got completed naked with heavy petting. Stops when she asked him if it was “a problem for (him”(p. 95) that she was gonna give him her virginity.

         --------------------------------------END SPOILERS------------------------------------------

No love or commitment was declared by either one during their 8-day acquaintance. The 2 times Hero deliberately sought heroine out was due to his needing to prove his sexual prowess and to rescue her from being bullied, which was something he also did for her best friend later. Most of their meetings were random in nature, accidentally meeting at certain places & then, hanging out as a result. The hanging out (I.e, watching action movies & some conversation) would then lead to “fooling around” (p. 135) due to a combination of attraction, curiosity, and boredom. I didn't feel one iota of romance between these 2 during their 8-day hookup.

This brings me to why, despite Hero's sincere groveling, this book still didn't work for me.

1. they weren't in an exclusive relationship.

    He knew it, she acknowledged it. They weren't even dating. They actually didn't know  

    what they considered their 8 days of getting to know each other. It seems like they were 
    kinda dating but kinda not. They were acquaintances who hung out & messed around 
    sexually at times. Very fuzzy. Nothing in their 8 days was ever defined or declared. It was 
    all pretty random in a when-I-see-you-if-I-see-you fashion.

2. heroine knew he was a player & didn't expect much from him relationship-wise.

   She saw firsthand how much of a player he was the first time they met. She knew he was 

   using girls for his own pleasure. He made no promises to her or even hinted that she 
   was somebody special in his life. His coming back to her room to pleasure her was 
   obviously an ego fix for him, and not because he loved her. He didn't cuddle with her or 
   even converse with her after their sexual intimacies were over. He'd leave her right away. 
   She actually was fine with that, especially after their first (disappointing) sexual foray 

3. heroine wasn't pining for him or reeling in hurt for how he acted only as her as a buddy slash sexual plaything. 

   She was using him too to practice college dating, sex, and to widen her narrow social 
   circle. She was in an exploratory phase in her life, pushing herself to try different 
   experiences. His admission of using her company to distract himself from his feelings for 
   his best friend's (BFF) girlfriend was more a blow to her ego than anything else. She   
   didn't have feelings of love for him to get her heart hurt by him. He injured her pride and 
   self-image by his sexual rejection of her. 

4. he was very hung-up on his best friend's (BFF) girlfriend.

   Much was shown about his pining for his BFF's girlfriend and how distraught he'd 

   become to drive him to increase his partying, alcohol intake, and random sexual hookups 
   in the last few weeks. So, his very sudden change of emotions from being in love with his 
   BFF's girlfriend to realizing that it was heroine he was falling for was bizarre! It was the 
   most inconsistent of all the inconsistencies of this book. I couldn't buy it.

   He somehow instantly switched off all that angsty months-long pining and sexual 

   fantasizing over his BFF's girlfriend, after she confronted him on his feelings towards her 
   and helped him see that what he really wanted was a romantic relationship like her and 
   his BFF. And now all that emotional energy towards her was now fully re-directed towards 
   heroine, who he now claimed he's falling for? That's what we call “displacement” in 
   psychology. The confrontation with his BFF's girlfriend likely smacked reality in the face 
   that she'd never view him as anything other than a friend. I buy that he realized that he 
   WOULD like the kind of loving & sexy relationship his BFF had with his girlfriend, as his 
   BFF's girlfriend pointed out. His BFF's girlfriend also pointed out that heroine was a good 
   candidate for a romantic relationship with Hero. Hero agreed and there began the quick 
   displacement of all that pent-up emotional energy for his BFF's girlfriend unto heroine, a 
   nice girl he was having some fun with the last 8 days. 

Given all these issues, a heartfelt apology and a genuine display of his romantic interest towards her was really all that Hero owed heroine. He did both right away, despite her rejection of him. When she finally gave him the chance to speak his mind 3 months later, he begged her to give him a chance to show his romantic interest in her this time. But she didn't believe him. She was understandably wary of him now yet was curious to see what he was going to do. It's her detached curiosity that overshadowed the effects of Hero's grovel and character transformation.

Heroine basically perceived Hero's groveling as a game. He hurt her ego badly so she viewed Hero's attempts to fix things with her with much ridicule, flippancy, and wariness. She'd pretty much written him off the past 3 months and had determined to move on with her life without him and her betraying best friend. In fact, she was having a fine time with her new and improved life as a college sophomore. So, while Hero was pining away for heroine and trying to reform his man-ho ways for 3 months, heroine was having a grand time getting a physical and life makeover with her mom and new friends. In some way, she'd already had her best revenge. She made something negative push her into greatly improving her life. If it was up to me, the book should've ended with her saying “Sorry, but no.”(pg. 137) to Hero's wish for a 2nd chance with her. That would've been a good and healthy end for both of them. 

Instead, we get to see them building an imbalanced romantic relationship, starting with her “absurd list” (p.177) of tasks for Hero to do to prove his sincerity towards her:

-----SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-------

1. a love poem about heroine's best traits
2. a romantic collage
3. make her origami hearts 

4. send her blue roses 
5. a boudoir shot of himself on a red-velvet chaise lounge 
6. a famous celebrity endorsing Hero as a suitable date for heroine

--------------------------------------END SPOILERS------------------------------------------ 

The silliness of her grovel list showed she didn't take him seriously. Her list was also her vengeance for making her feel humiliated. Her grovel list for Hero made a mockery of Hero's sincerity in wanting to make amends with her and his overall grovel. The imbalance of their relationship grew from there and removed any sympathy and other positive emotions I had for either of them. I couldn't even enjoy Hero's change from man-ho to a solely dedicated man. Heroine relished having him under her power this 2nd time around. He became the giver and she the taker. At least, when they were just hooking up, the playing field was quite even. Now, it was glaringly off. It made him look like a good boy who's job it was to please her and her, a dispassionate and cynical boss of him. Hero became her emotional and sexual lackey. I didn't find it sexy. 

I limitedly recommend this book.