Book Review | The State We're In by Adele Parks

To start off with I feel I should confess that I actually read this book a few months ago but I've been putting off writing this review for weeks so I'm sorry about that. I had high hopes for this, it's a Sunday Time bestseller by well known author Adele Parks and comes with the tagline Heroes Can Break Your Heart so it sounded like an interesting and emotional with a romantic plot at it's core. With an 'opposites-attract' cliche, the idea of meeting the love of your life (and let's not pretend that's not what we're expecting when we read the description) on a long-haul flight and a troubling past it sounds like the recipe for a great story. Unfortunately, for me, it wasn't.

What are the odds that the stranger sitting next to you on a plane is destined to change your life? Especially when they appear to be your opposite in every way.

She's a life-long optimist, looking for her soul mate in every man she meets; he's a resolute cynic - cruel experience has taught him never to put his faith in anyone.

People can surprise you. In the time it takes to fly from London to Chicago, each finds something in the other that they didn't even realise they needed.

Their pasts are such that they can never make one another happy and it's when they get off the plane that their true journey begins...

The book revolves around four characters and is told from each of their points of view. This isn't my favourite way to tell a story as I prefer to connect to a single character but it doesn't put me off completely and some books pull this off really well. With 'The State We're In' however it meant that it took me a good few chapters to really understand the characters and the plot. It's difficult not to write any spoilers but I will say that all of the characters lives are eventually intertwined as the past comes back to haunt them.

I liked the rapport between the female lead, Jo, and the male, Dean, when they met on the plane to Chicago (as revealed in the description) but I felt their storyline was a little predictable. They have opposite personalities which leads to mutual dislike when they meet but they soften to each other as flight goes on and, well you can see where I'm going with this... Their story makes up most of the middle of the book and contains the most enjoyable chapters. Despite the predictability I probably would've enjoyed the book more if it featured their storyline alone as I'm no stranger to chick-lit fiction and I often turn to the typical romantic formula when I fancy a bit of light-reading.

Theirs is not the only storyline however, as we also read from the perspective of Jo's mother, Clara, and Dean's dying father, Eddie, both of whom have previous transgressions that threaten the future happiness of each of their children. Neither of these characters is particularly likeable but Eddie can only be considered as loathsome. Clara has been living a lie for many years that completely shakes Jo to the core when she finally finds out, Eddie on the other hand has been absent for almost all of Dean's life and he barely even apologises to his son as he lays in his deathbed. It is Clara that initiates the eventual climax of the story and causes Jo leave Chicago, without Dean, and return home.

I wish I could say that each of these storylines culminate in a fantastic final resolution, but they just don't and I think that is what hurt me the most with this book. I won't give away what happens but I felt like the ending was a bit of a cop-out, it seemed sloppily written and as though Parks didn't really know what should happen. The ending came suddenly from nowhere and was only explained in an awful Epilogue that seemed very difficult to believe. It made me angry, and although they didn't have the best of storylines I felt that the characters deserved more. It's for that reason I think I've put off writing this review for so long because it annoyed me so much!

Let me know if you've read The State We're In or if you are planning to, and please leave me any recommendations about what I should read next!



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