Saturday, June 10, 2017

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. But the moment Sterling Lane transfers into her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in Sterling’s pranks and schemes and nearly gets expelled. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. As she exposes his endless school violations, he keeps striking back, framing her for his own infractions. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the troublemaker he absolutely is.

As she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn't entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule—protecting Cole.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 Frustrating Stars

Ingrid Paulson is a new-to-me author, one I plan on keeping my eye on for future young adult novels.

Harper is the female half of a pair of fraternal twins who go to boarding school. Harper is definitely a type-A personality. With the death of her mother, the need to keep her twin safe (Cole is a free-spirit who is gullible and sees the best in everyone), and the need to prove herself worthy to a misogynistic father. Harper has a list of rules she abides by, is one of the most stubborn heroines I've read to-date, and doesn't have a single cell in her body screaming TSTL (too stupid to live) or damsel-in-distress. She's a force to be reckoned with and makes no apologies for it.

Sterling is a bad boy with a good heart – bit of a rich, misunderstood d-bag. Sterling is Cole's new roommate, and he and Harper do NOT start on the best of terms.

What unfolds on the pages of this love-hate novel (one of the first which truly brings on the hate) frustrated me to no end. So frustrated, I was reading feverishly, while white-knuckling my Kindle from the need to reach in and strangle both Sterling and Harper. This isn't chemistry, tension, and foreplay, at least not at first. It's true hate. I was so frustrated for Harper on every front, but I couldn't help but understand and like Sterling. Cole... oh, brother – Cole. *sigh* Ms. Paulson, please write a follow-up with Cole – I want to see someone knock some sense into him.

Harper and Sterling, they were both wrong. All. The. Time.

The frustration finally abated as our antagonists started working together instead of against each other, and I was able to relax. The pages didn't fly by as quickly, I wasn't snapping at anyone who broke my concentration, but I enjoyed how it did start to feel like foreplay instead of grounds for premeditated murder.

Mad props to the author for the level of frustration I felt. Harper was a right-fighter, no matter how wrong she may have been, and it bothered me how her voice wasn't heard in the beginning. I've been there – often – and it made me feel connected to Harper, even when she was going beyond the realm of rationality.

I don't wish to give plot points out, so I'm being vague. Side characters: there weren't many, but they added to the storyline, allowing Harper and Sterling to shine. I also appreciated how there was no 'girl-shaming.' Harper was one type of girl, and her roommate another, and Harper made sure no one disrespected Kendall for being a girly girl or thought her unintelligent because of it.

Highly recommended to fans of the young adult genre and the love-hate premise.

Young Adult age-range: 14+ due to swearing, drug & alcohol usage, and mild sexual situations (making-out).

Ingrid Paulson does not, in fact, loathe anyone. Although the snarky sense of humor and verbal barbs in Why I Loathe Sterling Lane might suggest otherwise (and shock those who think they know her best).  Ingrid lives in San Francisco with her husband and children and enjoys long-distance running, eavesdropping, and watching science documentaries. She has always loved books and writing short stories, but was surprised one day to discover the story she was working on wasn't so short any more. Valkyrie Rising, a paranormal girl power story was Ingrid's first novel. Expect another humorous contemporary romance to join the list soon.

Connect with Ingrid

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson to read and review.

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