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BOOK REVIEW: College Bound by Lilia Ford

Title: College Bound
Series: No. It's a standalone.
Author: Lilia Ford
Genre: Defiantly NOT a romance, or an erotica. Some unknown genre that gives me a headache. -_-
Rating: I-Don't-Even-Fucking-Know-Stars
Cliffhanger: No
HEA: I would say hell no, but I suppose that answer is a fucked-up yes????? 
Aka the totally lurid tale of the convenience store sex slave!

After a vicious fight with her slut-shaming jerk of stepbrother, Natalie storms out of the family McMansion, never imagining that would be the last time she’d be allowed in the house. A string of truly rotten decisions follows, until she finds herself suspended from school, friendless, broke, and camping out at the minimart where she works. Worst of all, her college applications are due!

Thanks to a helpful teacher and her own stupendous brilliance she manages to get into her top choice college. Unfortunately, dealing with the financial aid forms proves to be too much for her supersmarts and she is about to lose her spot because she cannot get the money together to pay the deposit.

Enter Gareth Boyd, an old family friend and all-around manipulative bastard, who makes her an offer: sleep with his (totally hot) roommate, Jamie, and he’ll pay for everything.

How hard can it be?

Okay. So. To be honest, I don’t really know what I just read:

A romance? No, I didn’t feel any lovey-dovey vibes.

An erotica? Uhhh, maybe? But the sex scenes weren’t explicit. In all actuality, they were kind of glossed over (for the most part). And, to be honest, I was always uncomfortable reading any of the sex scenes.

The only word that can sum this book up is ‘confused’—because I was, with the main characters, with the plot…with pretty much everything.

Written in Natile’s POV, there is a lot of her monologue, and not so much dialogue. The book is written like Natile’s telling her life story to a friend. I didn’t know if I cared for that or not.

And at first, the story is slow-going. Natile introduces herself, tells us that her parents died, and that her guardian (her stepbrother) kicked her out of the house because she was labeled as the school slut.

Then she introduces Gareth, whom is rich, but only invites her over for a meager sandwich every once in a while. Right off the bat, Gareth gave me bad vibes; I didn’t like him one bit. And during this time, Natile tells us she’s homeless (living in a gas-station) but hopes to be accepted into college—Brown, specifically.

Only, Natile doesn’t have the money to go to Brown…so that’s when Gareth (the stingy sandwich guy) offers her a deal: in exchange for him paying for her college tuition, Natile will sign a contract relinquishing control of her entire life into Gareths hands…and into his roommate, Jamie’s, bed. (Or rather, tied up on the living room floor.)

This is where shizzz started to confuse me, because even though Natile has a problem with every single part of the contract, she signs the thing anyway—effectively agreeing to be Grareth’s slave, and Jamie’s sex slave.

But then, after the contract is in effect, Natile decides she doesn’t want to be controlled (even though she just willingly signed over her life without hesitation) so she proceeds to fight Gareth over and over and over again—all the while not really doing anything to help herself, or to stop the abuse she supposedly doesn’t want.

Uh, seriously?

Personally, I didn’t find this book romantic, hot, sexy, or erotic in any way. It kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

And all the characters were sooooo confusing:

Natile didn’t want to be controlled, but she didn’t want to leave. Natile didn’t want to have sex with Jamie, but she didn’t want to stop. Jamie supposedly didn’t care about Natile (besides having sex with her), but in the next paragraph Jamie’s suddenly very kind and thoughtful. Gareth promised to look after Natile always, but he’s gone for a huge chunk of the book while Natile is being fucked up elsewhere. Natile is getting paid to have sex with Jamie, and yet when Jamie offers to buy her clothes, she wigs out because she doesn’t want to be bought like a whore. Natile doesn’t like Jamie sometimes, but she might love him. Natile loves Gareth, although he scares her. Natile wants to have sex with Daniel, but she’s relieved he didn’t want her like that…

…You get my drift; and the cluster-fuck paragraph above is only the tip of the freggin’ contradictions and hypocrisy in College Bound.

The entire book—ever character, every one of their thoughts and actions—just did not make a lick of sense, and it didn’t help that I didn’t really like any of them.

Gareth—just no. He was a sick, twisted abuser. I didn’t like him at all. There was nothing appealing about his character. He preyed on Natile and manipulate her and her entire life for his disgusting benefit. He didn’t love her! He used and abused her, and it made me angry to read any scene with him in it. I absolutely hated the fact that Natile supposedly loved Gareth, when it was clear by her actions and inner thoughts, she hated him…and well, I hated him, too.

Jamie—he was just messed up. Better than Gareth, but still...I didn’t believe he really, truly cared for Natile either. He liked that he took sex from her, and that was pretty much it.

Daniel—he was actually my favorite. A little mean, a little too rude, but still, not as fucked up in the head as Jamie and Gareth. Daniel was pretty much the only character in this book I semi-liked; he was a decent guy, and I respected his decisons regarding Natile. He tried to give her a semblance of a normal life, or at the very least treated her like a human (unlike Gareth and Jamie, who treated her like a toy they could play with—emotionally and physically).

And Natile—I just…don’t even know. An entire book written in her first-person POV and I still don’t understand her. Her thoughts were a rollercoaster ride I kinda wanted to get off of. She was put in a bad position, but she didn’t even try to get herself out of it. She just let all these people manipulate her, use her, and abuse her.

The book’s underlying plot was just…I still can’t tell you what it was, it was that confusing and just weird. Something about Jamie having a lot of money and going off the deep-end, then Gareth controlling ‘saving’ the day, then something to do with mob bosses or criminals or some crap? I don’t even know…

I do have to say though, something about this weird book kept me reading—even though I had a hard time reading it. Go figure. Maybe it as because there was some interesting plot twists that (still didn’t make sense but) surprised me anyway.

In the end, I really didn’t know what the heck to think about this book. I didn’t particularly like it, but I didn’t completely dislike it either. I guess that's why I didn't give it a rating, because I wouldn't know what in the world to rate it.

The more I think about it, I know what this book was about. It wasn’t a romance. It wasn’t an erotica. It wasn't anything more than a book about a girls decent into a lifetime of manipulation, manhandling, and psychical/metal/emotional abuse... and that's just sad. </3

P.S. *I was given an ARC of this book from NetGalley. But I do solemnly swear that I am up to... good. ;) This is a fair and honest review of this book. Pinky promise.*