Vain by Fisher Amelie
Published: 7th February 2013
Source: Kindle edition from Amazon UK
Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy.
I’m Sophie Price...And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. [Goodreads]
I really wanted to like this book. I thought it had so much potential and I'd been so excited to read it but it just fell a bit too flat for me.
I hadn't read any reviews before starting it, so I was unaware about the Uganda part of the plot (in case you haven't read this, I'll just be vague and say Sophie is sent there quite early on in the book as a court order). Although I enjoyed this strand, I felt like I really didn't know enough about Sophie's past life and wanted to spend more time there before being taken away from it. I was looking forward to reading about a girl I was meant to hate and the beginning of the book hooked me. Yes, I hated her and I enjoyed hating her!
All of a sudden, she's in Africa and everything is happening too fast. She's sent to volunteer at an orphanage in Uganda - somewhere completely out of her comfort zone. However, her attitude changes so suddenly that I just couldn't believe it. No longer was she a girl I could easily hate. After a few hiccups when she first arrives as she gets used to the living conditions, she quite quickly becomes adjusted and starts evolving into a totally different person. This was a girl who self-professed that she was a cruel, manipulative, vindictive bitch and now she's almost immediately selfless. I felt like I just couldn't keep up.
Inevitably there was a love interest and this came in the form of Ian, another volunteer at the orphanage. I personally loved Ian's character and really wished the author had given us more of an insight into him, but I couldn't see how he fell so fast for Sophie. He started off pretty disgusted with her, but this all just seemed to disappear between chapters. The plot felt too disjointed and under-developed to ensure the story and the romance worked like it could have done.
On the other hand, once I got used to the change of scene in Uganda, that side of the story did start to grow on me. It was a different twist and I loved the fast-pace of the action scenes. It was very touching to read about the orphans and the workers at the orphanage, I think the author explored that side really well.
However, this was just not enough to redeem the book for me. I never felt anything for Sophie even though she was meant to be a changed young-woman and as for the ending?! Did the author have a pressing deadline and need one Disney 'wrap it all up in a cute package and tie with a bow' end paragraph? It all just felt so rushed and unreal. Throughout the whole book there also seemed to be so many missing words and sentences that didn't flow that it started to really ruin the reading experience for me. I often found myself re-reading sentences 2 or 3 times trying to make sense of them and ending up just skipping them.
For me, Vain missed the mark. I wanted what was in the blurb and really felt like the book didn't follow through. I appreciate what the author was trying to achieve and I'm aware that by not enjoying it I'm in a minority, but overall I was sadly disappointed and I wouldn't recommend it.