Hope(less)by Melissa Haag
Series: Judgement of the Six #1
Published on March 3, 2013 by Melissa Haag
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Gabby's brain is like a human fish finder. It comes in handy when she wants to avoid people. Mostly men. They seem to like her a bit too much. It's lonely being different, but she's adapted to it. Really. She just wishes she knew why she is different, though.
In her search for answers, she discovers a hidden community of werewolves. She immerses herself in their culture, learning about their world until she meets Clay. He's unkempt, prone to mood swings, intense without saying a word, and he thinks Gabby is his.
It's going to take every trick she knows to convince Clay to go away, and every bit of willpower not to fall for him when she discovers the man beneath the rough exterior.
Judgement has begun...
If I had reviewed this novel based solely on the prologue and beginning chapters, I would have put it down immediately. Thankfully, Hope(less) improved quite a bit after a rough start and turned out to be an enjoyable read. Haag gives us a new take on werewolves, focusing on the social aspects of the race versus the furs and claws. If you’re a fan of a “cute” YA paranormal romance, you’ll enjoy Hope(less).
Now you may be wondering why I referred to it as “cute.” This isn’t one of your sizzling hot paranormal romances, nor is it the tale of an annoying love triangle between a girl, a werewolf, and her best friend (or something along those lines). Gabby’s relationship with Clay is sweet. She doesn’t approve of the ways of the werewolf pack because they hold her back from what she wants: freedom. Clay is a man of few words but he continuously gets under Gabby’s skin until she realizes he might not be so bad after all. You won’t find any hot and heavy scenes between these two but it works for them. Their relationship isn’t something that the author throws in your face. Like Gabby, you slowly see the change between these two, an unlikely friendship evolving into something more.
The majority of the novel takes place after Gabby’s high school graduation, set two years after the beginning chapters. In those two years, she meets Sam who acts as a grandfather of sorts to her, and takes her in when her foster parents run out of room in their home. Sam educates her on the ways of werewolves, and then parades her around in front of every eligible (unmated) male werewolf. Not cool. But Gabby doesn’t let it get her down and fulfills her end of the bargain before heading off to college. To her dismay, she has a furry companion to content, one who’s determined to “claim” her. Gabby doesn’t let Clay rule her life, though. She continues to pursue her dream of attending college and having her own life. Her decisions define her as a stubborn and strong willed young woman who just wants to have something of her own. I liked her as a character and found her story very easy to read.
On the other hand, I have mixed feelings about Gabby’s furry companion Clay. Most of the time I liked him, but he didn’t talk. Ever. It drove me a little nuts, at least when he was in human form (I could process it better when he was a wolf), but it was tolerable. Haag gave Clay a determined personality despite his lack of speech (and he was especially endearing in his fur). Gabby’s roommate Rachel had one of the biggest personalities in the book, in my opinion. She is a generally happy person with a bad habit of talking to Clay like he’s a dog (not that I can blame her). I thought she was a good compliment to Gabby as they have drastically different personalities.
My biggest complaint about this novel is the prologue and first two chapters. I thought the prologue was completely unnecessary and the background information provided could have been integrated to the rest of the novel. The first chapter did nothing but put me to sleep and the second, like the prologue, could’ve been tied in to the rest of the story. After those chapters, the plot jumps ahead two years which is quite a change. I also didn’t care about the characters or story in the least until then as the beginning didn’t have a strong enough hook to make me want to keep reading.
Hope(less) is a great read if you can get past the first couple chapters. It’s a paranormal romance that doesn’t lay it on too thick and its lack of explicit content makes it a good choice for younger readers. I recommend it to fans of YA and PNR, and if you’re looking for a new take on werewolves, you’ll be in for a treat. I hope to see more of Gabby and Clay in the future.