Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (Mar 2014)
Sixteen-year old Jackie Howard knows nothing about her new guardian Katherine Walter when she moves from New York to Colorado. After discovering that Katherine has twelve boys, Jackie fears that living in the Walter house isn't going to be easy. It's just icing on the cake that the boys look like Abercrombie models...
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Warning: May contain small spoiler.
I’ve been meaning to pick this book up ever since it came out, and of course, a year later seems to be how long it takes for my lazy ass to get around to it. The premise was something that seemed promising to me in terms of being a funny and light read, I just wish I liked it as much as I thought I would.
Plodding along. That seems to be the right phrase in how I got through this book, I just felt like I was turning the pages without any real pull and interest in what happens. To be honest I’m not sure why I felt like that, the book was by no means bad - it was light and there were many moments of humour, but I think (I think) it was the relationship between Jackie, Alex and Cole that bothered me most.
In total, I felt like character wise, there wasn’t enough depth to begin with, with our main character Jackie. Though we get the background information on how and why she’s found herself living with 12 boys, it didn’t hold enough pull for me or an sense of real emotion. Maybe there should have been more of a focus on developing her character personally and family wise, which was perhaps hard to do, given the huge variety of characters Novak had introduced us too; I will admit, it was hard to keep track of each boy. I couldn’t become as emotionally invested in the characters because there just wasn’t enough focus on each one, and I appreciate that is hard to do in a span of 350 or so pages, but it wasn’t enough for me. Had there been more emphasis or focus on the characters themselves, I think I would have enjoyed it more.
Hoping this isn’t about to spoil it for people, but you have been warned! Anyway, for me, the relationship that forged between Alex and Jackie just didn’t hold enough chemistry to seem believable. Their friendship, and initial bonding I did enjoy, but the development of friends and the attraction just felt weirdly wrong to me. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it felt like she was dating her brother, more than anything else LOL an odd thing to feel I’ll admit, but it just felt so platonic between them. There was no spark, no passion, no fire burning in the pit of her stomach-kinda feels and maybe that’s what I just didn’t see them as a couple. Even when they became a couple, a nagging voice at the back of my mind kept telling me “he’s only using her to make his ex jealous” which was true - proved further by Alex near the end and in the way he treated and reacted to Jackie whenever Cole was around.
As for Cole’s character itself, again, even with Jackie and him, there was no real connection. Admittedly, they had more fire than Alex and Jackie, where she actually felt hate (fine line between love and hate as they say) towards him, irritation at his character, and this later fuels into something more romantic. Though I still wasn’t rooting 100% for them, I did view them a better pair than Alex.
Another niggling dislike I felt was my irritation at how Jackie dates both the brothers. Though she’s allowed to feel and do as she likes, I felt it an irresponsible decision in how she not only dates both brothers (albeit at different times) but also how she’s dating the sons of the hosts who have given her a home - there was no thought from Jackie on whether this is a good or bad idea given she lives under the same roof them and any trouble caused could affect the whole family.
I wish I had liked the story more, but the main things which make a story for me, (the characters and the chemistry) was just off. The idea was great, 12 boys, 1 girl - kinda like the movie “Yours, Mine and Ours” meets “Cheaper By The Dozen” which is of course why I picked up the book in the first place, yet the execution wasn’t quite up to scratch.