Did I Mention I Love You by Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame is a book I requested on NetGalley, and I was really, really excited when I got the “Request Approved” email, because the plot sounded pretty interesting. Eden is a sixteen year old girl from Portland, Oregon, who is about to spend the summer with her father & his new family n Santa Monica. Sounds awesome, right? Not for Eden, who hasn’t spoken to her father since he walked out on her and her mom three years ago. Throw in a troublesome but hot stepbrother, and you’ve got a pretty interesting summer.
Tyler is an absolute asshole for a good half of the book, and Eden does a good job of calling him out on it. She doesn’t look past his horrid attitude just because he’s hot. The only reason she does begin to fall for him is because she starts to see another side of him. I have to admit, I wasn’t liking Tyler as a love interest, and I believed his behavior was entirely inexcusable. However, when a major plot twist regarding his childhood was revealed, it actually made a lot of sense. I’m not saying his actions where okay, but they were actually pretty normal for a person in that situation. With that in mind, he becomes a pretty likeable character.
He still screws up a lot though. Contrary to Tyler, I actually really liked Eden as a narrator, and I don’t often say that about 16-year-old female narrators. All too often they’re whiny and come off as immature. Eden on the other hand did complain a lot about her dad, and the situation she was in, but personally I could relate to her, so I didn’t have a problem with it. Most of the time, it was she was humorously sarcastic, which I enjoyed. Most of the side characters, specifically the friend group, I wasn’t a huge fan of. They often got on my nerves, but Eden & Tyler’s story was interesting enough to keep me reading.
One pet peeve of mine is when stories focus more on setting the scene than character building. I don’t need to read stuff like, “I got out of bed, I brushed my teeth, then I went to my closet, then I made my bed, then I went downstairs.” It’s added information that I don’t necessarily need. This story had a lot of that. I’d rather have more descriptions of the characters and their attitudes and attributes. I don’t care if you go on for several paragraphs about how Tyler looks and acts. It’s much preferable to Eden’s morning routine. It finally changes paces and picks up speed once you get past the first part of the book though. In typical fanfiction/Wattpad fashion, the story comes to an explosive climax about 70% of the way through; the situation is almost so unbelievably bad for the character you have to suspend belief in reality for just a tiny moment. You have a moment of, okay, it can’t possibly be that bad, but oh yes, it is.
The romance aspect of the book takes quite awhile to get rolling, but it’s hardly noticeable since that’s not the main focus of the book, at least in my options. The first 20ish% of the book is about a girl reconnecting with her father who walked out and a step family she had never met in a town she’s never been to. The author does a good job of building background and character development in the beginning, making the lack of romance hardly noticeable. It’s also a plus since that means there was no insta-love, a huge pet peeve of mine. In fact she calls him a “jerk” that “does drugs” and is “pathetic as hell”…definitely not insta love. I will say though, when the romance aspect does arrive, it’s so out of the blue that you’re completely caught off guard. It’s a moment of “Wait…what just happened?!” Emily May of the Book Geek once pointed out that she hated romances because they were so predictable. You know they’re going to end up together in the end. Even though I don’t hate romances (obviously) I do agree that they’re extremely predictable. She went on to say it takes a talented author to keep you guessing as to whether or not they ultimately will end up together. Eden and Tyler have a lot of roadblocks in their way, and part of me wouldn’t be shocked if they needed up apart. But I want to keep reading with the hope that maybe they will. It’s the hallmark of a good author. Now I’m not saying Estelle Maskame just wrote the best romance since the Notebook, but she did pull off what a lot of romance authors can’t, and as a result I’m hooked on the series. Near the end, she has you believe that it’s over and done with between the two of them, but then with just a few lines, a door is opened and hope sines through, effectively paving the path for a second book. Will I be reading that second book? Hells yeah.
This story is categorized as a Teens & YA Romance, and it reads like one, in the sense that the main character talks like a normal sixteen year old (OMG, she is so annoying. My stepmom is the worst, etc), so if you’re looking for a more mature character with a slightly steamier or more complex romance, I’d say pass this one over for a New Adult romance. However, if you’re looking for a fun YA read, look no further the than Did I Mention I Love You?
Now, technically the first book isn’t released until December 1, 2015 in the United States. However, it was released in July in the UK. In fact, the second book due on September 30, 2015, and the third on January 12, 2016 in the UK as well. We’re lucky with the fast release dates since it’s technically already fully written (thanks Wattpad). At this point, there aren’t any US release dates for the last two books. However, if you use a little trick of mine, you can avoid the needless anxiety-inducing wait. Ordering off of the Amazon UK website costs and arm and leg thanks to shipping and the fact the the pound is more valuable than the dollar but hey, it’s worth the sacrifice if you simply can’t wait. Personally, I’ll be ordering them in advance from the UK since I’m a horribly impatient person (it’s a fault of mine).
Note: some people have a problem with the main topic of the story, some don’t. It’s a tricky subject, but it’s also a pretty popular subject in literature and television. It happened in Clueless, Gossip Girl, Fallen Too Far (Glines), to name a few. I actually think the bigger issue in the book is Tyler’s drive abuse and alcoholism, not his attraction to his stepsister. And unlike a lot of step siblings, they didn’t grow up together; they met when they were hormonal teenagers. That’s just my personal opinion. That also means it’s not incest (no blood relation), so find a different line of argumentative reasoning, please and thank you. So, while some people may say, “Ew that’s weird”, I’m more inclined to say, “somebody get that kid into rehab.”