Review: Northridge by Jace Payne

After eighteen years of being homeschooled and isolated from the world, Wesley Kent finally gets a chance at freedom when he’s accepted to Northridge University. The news overwhelms his psychologically unstable mother, pushing her toward a violent breakdown. But despite the episode, Wesley arrives in Northridge and meets Bryce, a sexy upperclassman and his new roommate.

The pair struggle, unsuccessfully, to disregard their hormone-fueled attraction toward each other. Wesley soon discovers a secret box buried in the nearby woods. The contents ignite a dangerous chain of events which threatens to extinguish their new romance—along with their lives.

DNF at 43%, then I cut to the last 10% to read the ending

I had to dust off my very rarely used DNF card on Northridge. Because the telling, the weird details, the distancing from the was becoming a chore to read. I'll make this as quick as possible and list my issues.

But maybe this review might help find the right sort of reader. I'm just not the one. There are plenty of popular authors whose technique of telling are similar to this. Maybe their readers/fans might want to check this paranormal new adult out.

I'm unsure if this is romance. The erotic moments weren't necessarily erotic (meh steamy-ish?) I guess it's more in the gay fiction camp? The attempts were vague and way too soon. Maybe it got more graphic deeper in the book but as I did read the's more in the HFN camp. And while I'm on the sexual note, the blurb hints to "hormone fueled attraction" between the roommates. How could there be any tension if the virgin gives it up so quickly (and oddly) at 23%. There was barely any sexual tension. We go from Wes talking to the guy to handjobs. I have a hard time buying repressed main characters just jumping into sexual situations so quickly. This author isn't the first to do this. Also, the flirty moments were at odd. And the love interest...uninteresting. What is he? Why make him have a similar background? (broken home, lonely, wears the same sized clothes, etc)

The pacing? Off.

The first POV which is usually a winner for me sadly was not. It became telling from the beginning and continued that way. The reader is placed into Wesley's head. He lived a life not many can tell: extremely sheltered being home schooled by a mother who suffers from a lot of mental health diagnoses. The fact that Wesley is functioning and able to leave his house after being imprisoned there should have been a great starting point. But it got lost in the superficial once he left home on his housemate. I had red flags that I ignored from 6% with the massive breakdown (that I feel was added for effect's sake) Truthfully if taking a step back - would Wes really just carelessly set his parent up like that? It seemed like it was setting her up for that reaction. I know you can't plan ahead but you can try to be proactive and there were no measures taken. Rang false to me, then again maybe I might not be the right person to read it being in the field I work in.

Wesley would have big experiences (ex. moving out, first crush, first sexual experience, first party) and it would be ignored or downplayed for longer paragraphed about coffee making or bath soaps or other mundane superficial things. And when I saw the name dropping (it didn't happen a lot in the first 42% but to me it was wasted page time)

The character voices? Sounded older than teens. Wesley could be explained away since he was raised by his mother and his aunt with barely any contact with teens his age. However, when most of the college students began to be interchangeable in dialogue, for me, there is a problem. There is ghostly sexual activity, we get more page time about soap or short shorts.

Wesley forgets his mother...18 years and he just seems to forget her especially after the big event at 6%? And he becomes a superhero witch. No big deal. He does from sort of having a social anxiety to being able to handle it?

I had to give up after I read more page wasting time about superficial things instead going back to the premise. Or at least focusing on the interesting aspects of Wesley.

Maybe the story got better in the part I didn't read. But from what I read at 90% and on...not by much. And the loose ends get too neatly tied up especially with the mother that seemed to be in the background.

This meanders too much and I like my paranormal (if there is a suspense angle) to be interesting. I don't like ghosts and witches aren't my favorite either but it got lost in the mundane for me. I don't do well with a plot that meanders.

On a serious note: if I could rate anything, the forward of Northridge is more than five Hearts. It's unlimited Hearts. I was moved. This is the author's last work. Sadly, Jace Payne died a few weeks before this story was published.

I wished I would have loved this story. It seemed to end with room for more books in the future.

May the author R.I.P.

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