Blame it on the release of reputation, but I’ve been craving a little dark and twisty these days, so when I saw Colleen Hoover has a novel that is supposed to be a departure from her usual style, I had to buy it immediately…no, really, I bought it as soon as I stumbled on the link on Amazon (on that note, I apologize in advance for all the T. Swift gifs in this…so, sorry I’m not actually that sorry). Also, side note: I swear I do read other things besides CoHo…I just haven’t recently. Again, sorry not sorry. Anyways, I’ve got my glass of Apothic Dark, so let’s get this discussion on the road.
A few trigger warnings: this book depicts rape, domestic violence, child abuse, graphic violence, sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, murder…a lot of sensitive subjects here. I can’t really say that much without giving away a lot of the story, so I’m just going to leave it at this. Sloan is just your average college student, working toward graduation while living with her drug dealer boyfriend (that regularly abuses/rapes her) because she needs him to pay for her brother’s group home to keep him away from her deadbeat mother. Carter is your average college student that is secretly an undercover cop (not really a spoiler, you literally figure it out in the first chapter that he speaks) trying to bust the biggest drug dealing ring in the university’s history by infiltrating his gang as the Spanish speaking addition, who accidentally falls in love with the drug dealer’s girlfriend. Asa is your friendly neighborhood drug dealer with severe daddy issues that believes men aren’t intended to be monogamous and women exist solely for his sexual pleasure, but also thinks that no one else can mess with Sloan since he called dibs because she makes him coconut cake. The usual, right?
The first thing I will say is that Colleen Hoover is the queen of tackling sensitive subjects. Anxiety and depression? Been there. Domestic violence? Done that. Your significant other revealing that they were actually the one that almost killed you? Got the t-shirt. (Technically, since I’m not naming titles, it’s not a spoiler, right? If I just spoiled some for you, I actually am sorry, and will bake you cookies as an apology). With Too Late, she reinvented herself and went extremely dark side…she even initially released these with the name C. Hoover to let readers know it wouldn’t be the same as her other books. From the very first pages (no exaggeration), you could tell that the old CoHo couldn’t come to the phone right now…
One interesting aspect of this book was that it was originally started as a side project for CoHo, basically published chapter by chapter in real time. It wasn’t actually going to be a legit novel until the fans demanded it (and for that, I thank you, CoHorts!). Then, once she wrapped up the story, she decided that the story wasn’t over (*insert praise hand emoji* because it was a little too neat and easy of an ending for these characters) so she published 2 epilogues and a prologue.
As always, in true CoHo fashion, the characters are multidimensional, complex, and just plain captivating. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s so easy to look at Sloan’s situation and pass judgment–why would she stay in that horrible relationship?! It’s like watching a horror movie and screaming at the protagonist to run outside instead of running up the stairs because we all know the killer is coming…at the end of the day, the person is doing whatever they believe it takes to survive, and for Sloan, living through this hell is what it would take for her to survive. She’s strong in her own way, and I couldn’t imagine being put in that situation. Similarly, at one point, you actually feel sorry for the psycho drug dealing boyfriend because he clearly didn’t have an easy childhood. Don’t get me wrong…she doesn’t try to make you like him. She just makes him moderately more sympathetic.
In summation…all hail queen CoHo.
Let me know if you’ve read this one and what you thought!