Sunday, April 19, 2015

Johnny (Johnny #1) by Rachel Dunning ~ Review

Johnny (Johnny, #1)Source: Bought--free on Amazon.

Johnny (Johnny #1) by Rachel Dunning

Life can change. So quickly, so suddenly. One day you're driving down the freeway, your face lit up by yellow sodium lamps, music blaring through the radio, and you're singing, and the guy next to you is singing, and he turns to look at you, just for a second, a moment, that final smile lasting forever in your mind afterwards--

And then you're upside down, and there are screams and moans, a shattered windshield, spinning wheels, the glug-glug-glug of falling gas, and the man you love is next you.

And he's not moving.


Cat Ramsey has the perfect life -- a home in the suburbs, a loving family, the sexiest guy in school living next door.

And then it all changes: Her father's drinking shifts from the occasional beer...into a dangerous dependency.

He becomes loud.
He becomes angry.
He becomes violent.

Her world is turned upside down.

She turns to Johnny.


This. Book. Made. Me. So. ANGRY. Seriously, seriously, hugely, RANTING ANGRY. I actually read this book a while ago. Read it, blew up Val's phone with my ranting, and then pretty much dominated our next phone conversation ranting about this book. 

It wasn't even disappointing. It was INFURIATING.

But why? I should probably explain that.

Well. First of all. When I grabbed this book, there was no indication--NONE, zero, zilch, nada--of this being book 1 in a series (or trilogy or whatever it is). Not on Amazon, not in the synopsis, not even on Goodreads. Since then, this has changed. But then? I went into this expecting a standalone. Now, I don't hate series or anything. I mean, duh. Series are great. But THIS BOOK being the first in a series. Makes me mad. I'll get to why in a minute.

Second of all, that synopsis is a dirty liar. The first part, with the car accident? I was interested in that. I started this book to get to that. It seemed like it'd be emotional and interesting and hit me in the feels, ya know? OH WAIT NOPE. That part doesn't even happen until like 80% into the book--possibly farther. As I said, I read this book a while ago. It took me all that time in between to chill out enough to write this review. But I digress. That second part of the synopsis, about turning to Johnny? OH WAIT NOPE. This book is not about turning to Johnny for help. Or dealing that that car accident that seems so instrumental.

This book, my friends, is a LEAD ON into the rest of the books. It is all of the background information that is boring to read. It is setting up the troubled past we usually get the summarized version of in books. It starts where Cat (I seriously just had to check the synopsis for her name because I couldn't remember it) and Johnny meet. And then we're walked through that all the way through graduating high school. 

Honestly, if this had been done well I probably wouldn't be so mad about this. Except it wasn't. It was done lazily. The characters were so flat, and the voice of this book was nonexistent. It was monotone. I felt nothing. The writing, the story Cat was telling, got literally nothing out of me, except anger once I reached the end of the book. It was as if the terrible situations Cat was in were supposed to be enough to create a reaction out of me. Only problem was that I didn't care about Cat in the first place. 


There is a cliffhanger. 

So there's this whole, boring, backstory book that should really just be a prequel and stop pretending anything else... and then we're left with this big, enraging cliffhanger. I don't want to go into spoilers (because you may want to read it, though I don't recommend it), but the way the entire thing was executed FELT like a ploy. Read this first book of boring, get to the end, and then BAM--DON'T YOU WANT TO READ ON TO GET TO THE HAPPY ENDING AND FIND THINGS OUT???

No. I don't. I never will. 

And looking at the next two books, I know I'd just be swimming in more anger, so it's really a great thing I have no interest in finding out what will happen. I mean, besides the obvious...considering the books are NAMED AFTER Johnny, I can only assume how things will turn out... 


I don't want it to seem like I'm hating on this book because there was a cliffhanger. That's not it. I read books with cliffhangers all the time and love them. I love series and reading on and all that fun stuff. So the cliffhanger isn't really the problem here, it was just my breaking point when it came to this book. The problem I have with this book is:
- flat characters
- lazily written, boring story
- attempt at emotional blackmail that was a fail
- the complete lie of a synopsis
- having to wait at least 80% of the book for half the synopsis to even happen
- terrible, non-swoon-worthy romance (you know how important romance is to me!)
- boring falling apart between characters
- nonexistent character growth

You see my point? There was all that stuff, and then it was topped off with a cliffhanger. Felt like a slap in the face. Thus, I got mad and ranty. 


Overall, Johnny is normally a name I love. This book put a dent in that. I did not enjoy this book at all. I wasted two hours of my life on this book, and I regret every second. I'm not going to tell you NOT to read this book, because I can't tell you what to do, but I can say that I recommend skipping this one.

1 very angry star - No. Just no. No just no.


  1. Oh wow! How horrible! I hate when a synopsis is misleading! The whole book being boring background info... What a waste of time :( Well-written review though. I can see why it was such a let down.

  2. Ugh. I have nothing to say, only...ugh. I'm so sorry. Bad books happen to good people.

  3. Whoa! This sounds like an epic fail! ANd the sypnosis is all wrong... A definite pass for me!