Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I have to be honest. I’m not sure how to begin this review. I am a fan of New Adult romance. I have no issues with reading teenagers and romance. I’m a 49-year-old woman who thinks of herself, quite often, as her teenage self, so reading romance about young people can be as titillating as reading romance about older characters. This is my third book from Monica Murphy, and in general, I like reading her stories. Even though I struggled a bit with the last book, Falling for Her, mostly because the hero was not likable for much of the story, I was ready for Addicted to Him because I adore when a writer takes a character you love to hate and redeems them. In this case, we’re talking about Jake’s nemesis, Eli Bennett, from Falling for Her. And the strength of Murphy’s newest story is her ability to induce you to like a character whom you thought you wouldn’t like at the outset of the story. That is an indication of Murphy’s writing prowess.
Now, here’s my dilemma. I’ve read quite a bit of NA romance especially various stories with bully romance. Even with those stories, I never felt like I was reading teenage drama. It’s probably a criticism of that genre that the teeenage characters read like adults. However, with Murphy’s Addicted to Him, it reads as 100% teen drama, a veritable roller-coaster of emotions. For once, this reader wanted to get off that ride after a bit. I finished the book until the end, and I will definitely read the next book. Yet, I wasn’t bowled over by Eli and Ava’s story. Instead, it felt very immature. I liked Ava in Falling for Her because she was the voice of reason for her brother. In this book, though, she was unpredictable. It was clear that she was attracted to Eli (for God knows what reason…he does NOT make a good first impression). She’s smart, kind, and seemingly self-assured until Eli. Then, she second-guesses their relationship constantly and plays him to a certain extent. At some point, I began to feel sorry for Eli because Ava treats him poorly. Then, to a certain degree, he retaliates and treats Ava poorly. When these two [ALERT] tell each other that they love each other, it isn’t believable because they have acted like emotional vampires with each other. This becomes the roller-coaster ride of this book. When they finally come to a place of peace, Murphy blows it up and leaves us in pieces for the next book.
For me, I liked Eli’s evolution. I liked reading Ava’s story and seeing her insight on the Eli and Jake dilemma. I didn’t like the inconsistency of Eli and Ava’s journey, however. It tended to make the story tedious and petty. Quite frankly, I can watch TikTok in smaller doses for that.
Here’s my hope: a more placid book 2. I don’t mean boring. I don’t mean no angst or fireworks. I mean fewer highs and lows for Eli and Ava so that there happy ending feels charged. There is an adage that best elaborates on the real truth of Addicted to Him: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” If you want to know the reasons for Eli Bennett’s actions, it lies heavily in this adage, and Murphy has yet for Ava to really explore the consequences of this truth in Eli’s life. I’m hoping Book 2 will give us all the dreamy happiness that seems to be missing in Monica Murphy’s Addicted to Him.
In love and romance,