Don't Askby Natalie Bell
Published on July 11, 2012 by Vagabondage Press
Two years out of college, Julie Spencer is realizing that her life isn't turning out exactly how she had hoped it would. After four years and $150,000, she has a college degree that hasn't gotten her anything more than administrative work, and she's stuck in some sort of love polygon that's better suited to high school than adulthood. Greg, the man she's been with for almost a year, is still in love with his ex, Chloe. The man perhaps she should be with, Duncan, lives six hours away, so she only sees him when he's in town on business. And her friends aren't any help. Tess is relationship-challenged, and Brian is in a long-distance, open relationship with a hook up buddy, and is-more than likely-also in love with Greg. Lost in a quarter-life crisis, Julie is just letting life take her where it will, while she tries to figure out exactly what she wants. But is putting off making a decision taking her just where she doesn't want to go? Don't Ask is the story of a new generation suffering from being caught somewhere along the edge of adulthood in a world that looks nothing like what their parents' knew.
This book doesn’t exactly fall in my usual genres. I took a chance on Don’t Ask, and after reading it my biggest question was “why did I read this?” If someone had told me exactly what the book was about, I probably wouldn’t have read it because it isn’t something that truly interests me. But I read it and despite the present tense and my dislike of the main character Julia, I kept reading. And reading. It took until the last few chapters before I actually cared about the Julia as a character but I made it that far. There is something about Don’t Ask that subtly draws you in. I couldn’t tell you what it is as I didn’t like all the drinking, drugs, and sex, which is essentially a huge chunk of the book.
Alright, so I wasn’t a fan of the present tense. That’s more a personal preference than anything, and the writing is decent, but I just didn’t like it. I also wasn’t a big fan of Julia. She does stick to her character throughout and is definitely 3D with her flaws, but I didn’t root for her. My test for characters is a single question: would I support this character? I didn’t feel that until near the end when she finally decides to change her life. I felt like it took too long to get to that point and I kept reading, hoping she’d wake up and see what her life had become but it took a little longer than I expected.
Despite all of that, I still finished the book fairly quickly, speeding through it in a few hours. I enjoyed Duncan’s character and wanted to yell at Julia half the time (I guess that’s a good sign). If you don’t mind an edgier read that takes a look at the sinful side of society, you’ll enjoy Don’t Ask. Due to the content, I do not recommend this to younger readers.