June 25, 2015

Book Review: Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian

June 25, 2015
Like It Never Happened
by Emily Adrian
Series: Standalone
Publication: Dial Books on June 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama

Rebecca Rivers wishes she were known only for being a great actress, and not for the (untrue) rumors that have followed her since middle school.  Landing the lead in her school's play changes everything: Rebecca casts off her old reputation; grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates to form the "Essential Five"; and gets to kiss the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage.  Even Mr. McFadden, the play's critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though the Essential Five vow never to date each other, Rebecca can't help her feelings for Charlie.  But the on- and off- stage theatrics of the cast are eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything . . . even if some of it is just make-believe.

Love, drama, and destructive gossip collide in this whip-smart story about stereotypes and standing up for the truth.

"I had thought that falling in love was a decision.  Like first you noticed a boy was cute and smart and had good taste in movies.  He kissed you and it occurred to you to love him.  If a certain amount of time passed and nothing went wrong, then congratulations: love.

But apparently that was not how it worked at all.  Apparently love happened accidentally, and without warning, and at the exact moment you were supposed to get out of the car."

Like it Never Happened by Emily Adrian goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover (or synopsis).

And I don't mean that in a positive way.

For months I've seen this considerably attractive cover all around the book blogosphere and a handful of encouraging reviews to go along with it.  But prospective readers, be forewarned: I'm sorry to say I won't be adding to the positive feedback.  

This book did not work for me.  

Here's why:

  • 1) The writing felt disjointed.  Events unrelated.  The story didn't flow.  Honestly, it felt as if Adrian was desperately trying to stitch together her narrative from individual (flawed) pieces.  For example, our main character, Rebecca Rivers, goes to the "Shining Stars Summer Camp for Performing Arts" for only about two chapters.  Ok.  And while there, Rebecca pretty much does nothing.  Nothing at all happens to progress the storyline whatsoever (except for maybe one event at the end).  This book definitely could have gone without this random insertion of a summer camp experience.  Then immediately after camp, the writing abruptly jumps back to "normal life," which brings me to my next point.

  • 2) The writing was abrupt.  Ok, Emily Adrian, I give you credit for throwing a slight curveball in here, because I'm still going what the devil?!  Rebecca just seemingly "falls in love."  In one second.  Flat.  

  • 3) The "scandal" only happens at the end of the book.  It felt like the author was stalling for about 300 pages, and wrote random fluff to fill in the pages until then.  

  • 4) There isn't a huge focus on the whole theater/drama aspect.  You would think a book that claims to be all about theater, would actually be all about theater.  I mean, sure, the school play is mentioned on occasion, and a couple rehearsal sessions are thrown in for the heck of it, but Rebecca's extracurricular could have as easily been painting or piano or something.

  • 5) I disliked the characters.  They were two-dimensional, dull, and quite honestly, boring.  Also, the "Essential Five"?  Rebecca's theatrical posse of friends, consisting of Rebecca herself, Charlie, Liane, Tessa, and Tim?  There was no point to it.  The "Essential Five" could have should have been the "Essential Four", because you hear about Tim maybe once and then never again.  It's obvious he was thrown in the story for the sole purpose of creating a better group name.

I'm sorry, am I just a cynical being?  

If anyone else has read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

author image

Julia Anne

I'm a teen with a refined taste for good books and great writing, currently living in Honolulu, HI. I'm a reader. A dreamer. And an aspirant writer. One day I have hopes to travel the world, but for now, I'll settle with venturing through the written works I read.


  1. Oh no! I was so looking forward to this one. Darn you pretty covers, you lead us in and trap us with your beauty and colorfulness. I hate when the writing doesn't really mesh well with the story. It just doesn't portray or complement the plot well at all. Some writing feels so unfeeling and without any spark, it's hard to read! Ugh, unlikable characters? That's a HUGE problem for me because I don't put up with that stuff xD I feel like there should be a much greater focus on the theater, it's in most of the synopsis! Also it kills me that this whole scandal they're alluding to doesn't happen until much later. Don't say there's a scandal if it hardly makes an appearance. Ugh I think I need to skip this one... Sorry you didn't like it, but nice review!

    1. Hahaha, your comment is way too true, Rachel. Unfortunately, yes, this book didn't appeal to me (much at all . . .). Hey, but maybe you'll enjoy it. I don't want to completely turn you off to this book, especially since you were looking forward to it. I'd say give it a try for yourself! :)

      Thanks for the comment.
      Julia Anne

  2. Aww...shucks. :( I saw the summary for this and how it was about theatre and got really excited because I'm an actress myself, so I'm really sad to hear it doesn't actually have much of a focus on the acting aspects. :( And the disjointed writing and characterization don't sound much of a help either. *sighs* I think I'm going to skip this one - even if it does involve theatre. It's a shame this didn't work for you Julia Anne, but thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Hey, Zoe, thanks for the comment! :)

      Yeah, unfortunately, I didn't feel as if there was a huge focus on the theater, if that's what interested you in the first place. :( But it's cool you're an actress yourself! I didn't know that. I bet you're an exceptionally talented performer. The book didn't work for me, but you might have better luck! I'd still give it a chance.

      Julia Anne


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