Monday, November 12, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss

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Title: Ten After Closing
Author: Jessica Bayliss
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Pages: 328
Pub Date: September 04, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse
Book Source: publisher via edelweiss
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis: 10PM: Closing time at Cafe Flores. The door should be locked, but it isn't, Scott Bradley and Winsome Sommervil are about to become hostages.

TEN MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING: Scott's girlfriend breaks up with him over the phone while he's in the cafe's basement storeroom because he's late picking her up for the big end-of-the-year party. Now he can't go to the party, but he can't go home, either--not knowing if his dad will still be in a drunken rage. Meanwhile, Winny wanted one night to let loose, away from her mother's crushing expectations. Instead, she's stranded at the cafe after her best friend ditches her in a misguided attempt at matchmaking.

TEN MINUTES AFTER CLOSING: The first gunshot is fired. Someone's dead. And if Winny, Scott, and the rest of the hostages don't come up with a plan soon, they may not live to see morning.
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*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

This was one of my most-anticipated reads of this year, so I am terribly sad to say it was not my favorite.

Ten After Closing is told in two points-of-view. Scott is our first protag. He is working at a café to help out his mom with finances as his abusive father has recently lost his job and is now bumming it. The other protag/POV is Winny. Winny has a thing for Scott, so upon hearing that Scott has just been dumped, she is headed to the café with her friend, who ditches her there in an attempt at forcing her to confess her undying love to Scott. Ten minutes after closing the café, some men show up with guns to rob the place. It isn't random; it's personal. Scott, Winny, the owners of the café, and a couple of customers are still inside. The timespan of the book is only a day, alternating between pre-holdup, and post.

While I liked the premise of this book and was SO excited for it, the story fell short for a few reasons:

1.) The plot was shallow and not very detailed. Now, the book is centered on the robbery and the things behind the robbery, but I still needed some more backstory to feel a connection to the characters, yeah? We basically get a days' worth of getting to know the characters and a teeny-tiny bit of their backstory (which consists of their feelings [or lack-of] for each other, Winny having strict parents, and Scott having an abusive father). The potential for emotional investment was there, but it wasn't quite carried out.

2.) This book was SO try-hard. It was contrived and mechanical. It was full of clichés to the point of ridiculousness. The thrill/suspense aspect was so unbelievable to me, personally. It all played out like a really cheesy, low budget movie. It was too outlandish, and like I said, try-hard. I just wasn't sold on it.

3.) This book involved domestic violence, which is great. What is not great is the way it was wrapped up—which is not at all. In a nutshell, the abuser gets to keep doing what he is doing because the violence goes unreported to protect him. It literally pisses me off and I hate that there was no justice here. Huge mistake.

As I said, I enjoyed the idea of this book, but it fell way short. I enjoyed the hostage situation to an extent, but it was, overall, a perfect example of trying too hard. I can't say that I recommend this book, but if you enjoy something a bit over-the-top but quickly paced, you may enjoy it if you can ignore the flaws.
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