Published by Atria Books on March 10, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…
I’ve been hearing so many good things about Colleen Hoover’s books for the past few years that I decided it was time to finally read one. I’ve been really into the New Adult genre lately, and after doing my research on Hoover’s bibliography, I thought Confess would be a good place to start. Well, I loved the idea behind Confess, but unfortunately the book fell flat for me. Let me tell you why.
First and foremost, Confess is the story of Auburn and Owen, and is told in a dual-perspective format. Auburn has moved to Dallas for some reason unbeknownst to the reader, and stumbles across an art studio one day named Confess. The studio is hiring, and because she needs the money she decides to take the job. It turns out Owen is the studio’s owner and artist. He somehow knows Auburn, but she doesn’t know him. This is another secret that Hoover keeps from the reader.
As I mentioned, I really liked the idea behind Confess. Owen’s artwork is based on anonymous confessions that he receives through a slot in his door (it’s very similar to the famous blog PostSecret). I loved the idea that Owen creates paintings based on these confessions. I also thought it was genius that the confessions in the book were real confessions that Hoover received from her readers.
In the same way, I did appreciate that Hoover attempted to weave the ‘confess’ theme into the characters. Auburn needs to confess why she’s in Dallas, and Owen needs to confess how he knows Auburn. Keeping secrets from the reader can add suspense and be a real page-turner, but there are way too many secrets in this book. As I was reading I took notes on all the questions I had. This list is 10 questions long, and while some of those were answered as the book continued, the beginning of the novel was full of holes, and I found it difficult to form a full picture of the story. What could have been a good mystery turned into a mess because there were just too many unanswered questions.
I also found that the character development was quite lacking in Confess. For example, Auburn tells the reader that she has one goal in mind, yet all of her actions go against that goal. She is a very passive person who does what everyone tells her to do, even when she doesn’t want to do those things. It was annoying to see how she makes all the wrong decisions, and repeats them time and time again. Similarly, Owen is written as a lying and manipulative character, yet readers are supposed to accept that Auburn “deserves” his love (a word that is far too often used in this book, by the way).
Moreover, I found that the writing style was quite jumbled throughout the novel. For instance, Owen tells the reader early in the book that a certain character is a bad guy. However, that character does not show himself to be bad until late in the book. I would have much preferred Hoover to demonstrate the bad character’s qualities, than to expect me to simply trust the words of Owen. I definitely prefer to read writing that shows rather than tells.
Finally, the ending of Confess really bothered me as well. The solution is unrealistic because characters act outside of how they were written early in the novel. It is also formed extremely quickly. Even more troubling is that the solution doesn’t truly fulfill Auburn’s main goal. Of course, I am being purposefully vague so as to not spoil the book, but suffice it to say that the ending would never happen in reality.
Overall, I’m glad I gave Colleen Hoover a try. She did come up with a really interesting storyline, and her writing style is very fast-paced. However, I thought the flow of the book was jumbled, and the characters were poorly developed. That being said, I do want to give another one of her books a try. Confess seems to be a love it or leave it book, and I am part of the latter. I don’t recommend this book unless you are a huge Colleen Hoover fan and attempting to read all her works. I will definitely let you know if I read anything else by her in the future!
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