I loved the idea of Unlovely. A romance gone horribly wrong? Sign me up (you know how much I love something different). Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.
The story is about a young man (named Harley of all things) who returns to his small town (renowned for a prestigious dance school) after his first year at college. Of course, going out into the wider world, he doesn’t quite fit in on the way back. But what struck me as odd is that after having spent most of his life in the shadow of this dance school, it’s only after he’s left and come back that he truly notices the students at the school. After years of being apart (and a bit beneath) these dancers, he suddenly manages to date one, and become (kinda) friends with another. I just didn’t buy it.
The romance between Harley and said dancer (Cassandra) just didn’t ring true. But I guess that was kinda the point. He’s supposed to be enchanted by her. I did feel the true love between him and his high school sweetheart (who strangely gets pregnant by and marries another guy). There’s also this weird evil woman who runs the whole nastiness part of the story and the bizarre relationship with Harley’s dad. It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
I think what most disappointed me was the supposed horror aspect of the story. I was expecting monsters or gruesome murders. Something like that. But the reality of the story was much more benign. I wouldn’t have classified it as horror. More like a thriller. Maybe then I’d have liked it more, if it had matched up more closely with my expectations. Then again, I probably wouldn’t have requested it had the blurb been less sensational.