Lengths by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt

LengthsLengths by Liz Reinhardt, Steph Campbell
Published by: Self Published on August 1, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 194
Source: Purchased
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Rating: ★★★½

Nineteen-year-old Whit Conrad leaves her conservative Pennsylvania home for sunny California, looking for independence, a fresh start, and a place to stash her grief. She promptly finds a job at a tattoo parlor, a craptastic first apartment, and one friend—Ryan—who is a little less friend, a little more benefits.

Deo Beckett is a soulful surfer with a passion for tattoos and beautiful women. On the eve of his twenty-second birthday, he finds himself living with his grandfather, recently unemployed, and seriously adrift. He doesn't know much about what he wants out of life, but he does know his current situation isn't cutting it.

When Deo meets Whit, she's all sexy makeup and fierce, smart-ass fun. It doesn't take him long to see past her tough shell. And when he gets a good look at what's under all the superficial stuff that usually gets his attention, it leaves Deo wondering if there might be more to life than living fast and free.

Too bad Whit has a past she doesn't plan on sharing—no matter how hot Deo is. She might want him, but she knows better than to let her guard down.

Deo falls for Whit, and falls hard. But everything about her, down to that mysterious tattoo and the way she thrashes in her sleep, tells him that the girl he loves is hiding something. And the more he pushes for answers, the more Whit pulls away.

Having your guard up is one thing, but are the lengths Whit goes to to protect her secret worth throwing away the second chance she has at happiness with Deo?

Lengths is a story about a romance between Whit — a girl running from her past — and Deo — a sweet surfer kid who’s a bit of a slacker and kind of heading nowhere.

The sex in this book is hot! It is a little more descriptive than in other books I’ve read lately, so just beware, if you don’t like too much sexual detail! But it’s very sexy.

I enjoyed Lengths, but it didn’t totally live up to my expectations. I think I just felt a little disconnected from the story.

As I’ve seen a few other people mention, there are some pacing problems. The book would jump forward weeks in advanced without much warning or explanation. That left some pieces lacking detail or sometimes I was just confused about how much time had actually gone by! I think the pacing issues also made me feel a little disconnected from the characters. It was hard to really get a good feel for them when we kept jumping ahead in time; some moments felt cut short.

For the longest time, I saw another problem with Lengths but I didn’t know how to explain it. Then I was randomly reading Kat Zhang’s blog, and she described the problem perfectly!

The thing about first person is that you are literally in the head of your character. Unless the story is very clearly told in retrospect, there are few filters between what your character is feeling and what is conveyed to the reader. Your character is not going to be able to clearly and calmly define her feelings seconds after realizing her fiance has cheated on her with her cousin, you know? Kat Zhang

In Lengths, Whit would often talk about her feelings (to herself), but explain them perfectly. Like she knew that she was hiding things and why she was doing it, and how she was putting up walls, and protecting herself, etc. But it didn’t feel real for her to know all that. I expected more freaking out, denial, and impulsive rage-fests, rather than thinking things like, “I knew he was right, because I close myself off and I’m running away from my past and need to put up these barriers to protect myself.” Her inner thoughts just sounded too calm, collected, and ‘informed’ (is that the right word?). It’s like Whit knew all her own thoughts and emotions perfectly, rather than being the jumbled up mess that most of us actually are. There were times when she did react more appropriately, but more than once I found myself thinking that Whit was able to “define her feelings” too easily or too quickly.

I think another thing that disconnected me from the characters, was the lack of relatable side characters. I mean we do have a few fun side characters like Deo’s mom, Deo’s grandfather, Deo’s friend, and Whit’s boss, but other than Deo’s friend (who only makes very brief appearances), none of those characters are on “equal” ground with Whit and Deo. Normally in books like this the main girl has a best friend who she confides in, or the guy has a friend who’s around a lot, but that was kind of missing in Lengths. Maybe it’s cliché for me to insist that those characters exist, but I think it helps to understand the character better. Whit is extremely closed off when she’s around Deo and it would have helped for her to have a best friend she could go cry to and “reveal all” to.

And finally, Whit had this big problem in her past that was a key part of the story and I felt it was a little anti-climactic. This part of the review is super hard for me to write because (1) I don’t want to give this “big problem” away, and (2) because I don’t want to judge people who have problems and who am I to say that a certain problem isn’t big or exciting enough for that person to be upset for long periods of time. But when I was reading the book and saw how heavily affected Whit was by this “problem,” I expected it to be much bigger than what it actually turned out to be.

Okay, I know I have a lot of criticism, but that doesn’t mean this was a bad book. There were some things that didn’t resonate with me, but it was still a very enjoyable read! It’s hot, it’s fun, and honestly it was refreshing to read about such a different lifestyle. So many books focus on girls who fall in love with sexy, rich guys. Instead, Lengths gives us a very casual, laid-back guy who is refusing to go to college and is living with his grandfather. I think that paved the way for a very good “pure romance” story!

The Verdict

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4 comments

  1. Oh! I love your review so much! I live how much thought you put into this review! I agree with the pacing, this also bothered me and it felt it was odd jumping around so fast forward sometimes.
    And this first POV narration, seriously I never thought About it this was, but you explained is perfectly,and why Whit didn’t work so much for it!

    DannyBookworm recently posted: In My Mailbox – Danny’s New Adult Edition
    1. Thanks Danny! I thought the POV thing was funny because it was bugging me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I was in the middle of the book, took a break, and found that blog post and had a total light bulb moment! It was kind of awesome.

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