Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jenn's Review: Eye Candy

Eye Candy (City Chicks)Summary:  Lydia Vanderwalk has an obsession with candy, so when she invents an NEB--non-existent boyfriend--who turns out to be the male hire-a-date equivalent of a jumbo box of Hot Tamales she knows she’s in trouble.

Lydia has worked hard to have the right job, the right wardrobe, and the right everything else, in the quest for the appearance of perfection. Fed up by conversation #3,524—not that she’s counting—about long-since-exed fiancé Gavin, Lydia goes to drastic measures to change the subject. When she needs her NEB for a golden career opportunity, she enlists a talent agent friend’s help to produce perfect date Phelps. He was supposed to be pure eye candy, but there’s more going on beneath the surface than Red Hots looks and Pop Rocks spontaneity.

Throw in a banking wunderkind ex-fiancé, a trio of cutthroat couture-climbers, and a designer of questionable orientation and origin, and Lydia soon learns that what you see is often much less than what you get when it comes to people and not everything in life can be solved by a Jolly Rancher and a trip to Ann Taylor.  ~Product Description

Review:   I requested a review copy of this book from the author, Tera Lynn Childs, as I had heard good things about her work.  While I would definitely read her work again, I'm not sure this novel was for me.

The plot of this book is Picture Perfect with an ex-fiancé and a candy addiction thrown in, and it took me a little while to get past that. Thankfully, the story did develop beyond that and had some interesting characters. I loved Ferrero, the crazy artistic designer, and Elliot, the model with surprising depth. They gave the book warmth and humor. However, I was slightly dismayed upon reaching the end of the novel to find that the Tera Lynn Childs had written two endings. While I understand the motivation behind it (I'm sure most readers will feel strongly one way or the other about Lydia's choices) it felt a little like a let down -as if Ms. Childs didn't feel strongly about it. I think I would rather have been apoplectic over Lydia having made what I felt was the "wrong" choice or warm and fuzzy over what I felt was the "right" choice. Instead I was left feeling apathetic.

I also had trouble warming up to this book because I didn't find Lydia particularly likable. She's got a runway figure, a candy addiction with the metabolism to handle it, and body image issues. (Not something a normal-figured woman finds endearing.) She also throws candy terms into her speech like "Double Bubble Damn" that are supposed to be endearing but I found obnoxiously cutesy coming from a grown woman.  But the crux of it is Lydia's a society girl who's almost as superficial as the girls from work whom she rejects for being shallow.  Lydia is completely self-absorbed, has two men falling all over her, and every opportunity she could wish for. Throughout the book she learns to be more observant of the people around her, and how not to substitute candy for what is missing in her life, but her character growth seems so minimal it was hard for me to appreciate. Though I had warmed to her by the end of the book, I think I was routing for other characters more than for the heroine.

Despite my criticism, there is a lot I like about Ms. Childs' writing style and her sense of humor.  Again, I think I just picked the wrong book. She can write interesting characters, I just didn't happen to like this one.  I will certainly try another of her books. If you're looking for a fun, frivolous read, you may really enjoy this one.

Final Take: 3.0/5

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