Book Reviews · Contemporary · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Review: The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford

The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford
Published December 27th 2017 by Pan Macmillan
RRP AUD $18.99

Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court—until her coach dropped her for being “mentally weak.” Without tennis, who is she? Her confidence at an all-time low, she secretly turns to her childhood friend, next-door neighbor Jacob—who also happens to be her sister’s very recent ex-boyfriend. If her sister finds out, it will mean a family war.

But when Harper is taken on by a new coach who wants her to train with Colt, a cold, defensive, brooding young tennis phenom, she hits the court all the harder, if only to prove Colt wrong. But as the two learn to become a team, Harper gets glimpses of the vulnerable boy beneath the surface, the boy who was deeply scarred by his family’s dark and scandalous past. The boy she could easily find herself falling for.

As she walks a fine line between Colt’s secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must decide between her past and her future and between two boys who send her head spinning. Is the cost of winning the game is worth losing everything?

A sizzling tennis romance perfect for the summer months, The Harper Effect, will be a grand slam for fans of Kasie West, Miranda Kinneally and Simone Ekeles.

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You might want to get comfy, this is going to be a long one. Oh, and there may be some spoilers, sorry (but not really because I don’t recommend you read this).

So, I try not to read into reviews or anything too much before I begin a book just to make sure how I feel about the book isn’t influenced by anything, but when I went to add this book to my Goodreads ‘Currently Reading’ list, I saw that The Harper Effect had an average rating of 2.73 stars, so of course I was like ???? why and curiosity got the better of me, so I skimmed Jeann’s review (Happy Indulgence), hehe. I hadn’t heard of the author before and the synopsis sounded like your typical contemporary, and because this is the author’s debut novel, I didn’t have any expectations.

The plot was alright, like it showcased the dedication it takes to achieve your dreams, but the execution was kind of meh. Some of the things in the story were questionable, to say the least (lightning fast mood swings?? Complete lack of trust?? Blaming being drunk for physical assault??????????). The characters in general weren’t terribly complex, but they also weren’t shallow. The author had a strong intention to include beautiful descriptions, but they just sounded a little bit odd to me, take this gem for example:

“He smooths a hand over his perfectly round shaved head, no freckle or bump daring to blemish it.” – Page 1

One thing I noticed was that the author was constantly telling, not showing and that annoyed me. The pacing was consistently off – everything moved too quickly or too slowly. I can’t count the number of times I had to go back a few lines and re-read them because I was just so confused. Honestly, I found the story quite difficult to read, and although there were a few good scenes, there weren’t a lot. Oh, and it probably didn’t help that I hated the main character ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Harper irritated me so much, and her character came off as such a spoiled brat – she’s dramatic, a serial liar and thinks the world revolves around her. She feels entitled to almost everything – the boy, boy #2, every single detail of boy #2’s life, a good relationship with her sister (even though she’s literally lying to her face) etc. Harper is so self-centred, and there’s a paragraph where she tries to justify her actions, saying that Aria was selfish for ‘taking Jacob for herself’ like????????????? PLEASE. STOP. Oh, and I forgot to mention Harper is a stalker and the story attempted to romanticise it??? Please stop. If someone did what Harper did to me, I’d run for the hills. There weren’t a lot of characters I actually liked, but I did like Aria and Colt for the most part.

The only character in this story I hated more than Harper was Jacob. He literally did not contribute positively to the plot AT ALL. After the first time we meet him, I hated him. It’s one thing to have a failed relationship, it’s another thing to break it off with a girl and then attempt to start a relationship with her sister. ESPECIALLY if you three were best friends growing up. I actually detest him for coming in between 2 sisters. Also, Jacob is lazy, entitled and ungrateful AND he doesn’t have boundaries.

The romance aspects were slightly better, I suppose. I did kind of ship them together, BUT I absolutely hated the love triangle. Honestly, the romance would’ve been so much better if there was no love triangle. ESPECIALLY when one part of the triangle shouldn’t even be there.

So yeah, if you’ve made it this far you can tell I’m not a huge fan of this book to say the least. I’m not recommending this to anyone.

TL;DR: Shallow (and hateable) characters, odd descriptions, questionable morals. Do not recommend at all.

I received a review copy from the publisher

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