Review: So Close to You by Rachel Carter

So Close to You
Rachel Carter
Series: So Close to You, #1
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 320
Rating: 1 of 5 stars

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Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.

When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices--and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them . . . and herself.


Instances like this make me want to curl up in a corner and cry. When I first read the synopsis for So Close to You, I was definitely intrigued. Right away, this book became one of my highly anticipated reads of the year. I thought it would be amazing. I thought it would be thrilling. I thought it would be that type of book that I would read in one sitting because I wouldn't be able it down. What I didn't think, however, was how incredibly wrong I would be.

In So Close to You, Lydia Bentley has grown up listening to her grandfather's theories of the mysterious Montauk Project, and the even more mysterious disappearance of her great-grandfather. While she's a skeptic on the existence of the Montauk Project, Lydia Bentley agrees to go hunting for clues of her great-grandfather's disappearance in Camp Hero, the alleged foundation of the Montauk Project. But what happens to Lydia is something that turns her skepticism on its head, as she's transported back in time to 1944 - the year her great-grandfather disappeared.

There's only so many cliches, tropes, conveniences and coincidences I can tolerate when reading a book, and should a book cross that line of toleration, you can bet your wallet that I'd be irritated. So Close to You crossed that line. No, scratch that. So Close to You vaulted miles and miles over that line. So Close to You is so far past the line that it can't even see the line anymore. Just read the synopsis I provided:

[...] she's transported back in time to 1944 - the year her great-grandfather disappeared.

Oh, but not only is she transported to the same year her great-grandfather disappears, but she's transported to the same week her great-grandfather disappears! And with no explanation as to why she transported to that particular year, at that particular moment. It was just random. How convenient!

Oh, she meets a mysterious and broody boy who's been watching her and is always there when Lydia's in trouble, "as if he has a radar that knows when she's in trouble"? How original!

What? Lydia and Wes Broody Boy declare their love for each other after interacting no more than five times? *smack!* You hear that? That's the sound of this book's originality slapping me in the face.
The main character is incredibly dull and uninteresting, yet she has not one, but two incredibly gorgeous boys vying for her affection? WHOA. THE ORIGINALITY. IT'S SO IMMENSE.

And so brings me to my next thing to rant about topic: the insta-love and love triangle, which apparently is mandatory for YA books to have. I don't understand the relationships in this book. I don't understand what both of the boys think is so special about Lydia. Part one of the love triangle is Wes, or, as I've called him so far in this review, Broody Boy. Oooh, he's mysterious! He has secrets! He's also made of cardboard. We're given absolutely no character development when it comes to Wes for the majority of So Close to You, and when we are actually provided with a shred of character development, it turns out to be just that: a shred. Then, of the five (at most) times Lydia and Wes interact (two of which they actually have a full conversation in, the others they say a few words and Wes goes away), they come to the conclusion that they're falling in love with each other. Then, shortly after Lydia comes to the revelation that she's in love with Wes (and even before she realizes that she's in love with him), she can't stop thinking of him. Everywhere she goes, at least something reminds her of him. Then we're given two pages of Lydia just gushing out her extreme love for Wes to one of her friends, Mary:

[...] "he [Wes] keeps showing up when I need him. I don't know how he does it, it's like he has this radar or something."

It could be that he has some sort of magical radar that only detects when you're in trouble... Or it could be that he's stalking you, and he knows whenever you're in trouble because he's always watching you... Y'know, just a possibility... (But this magical device theory is coming from the girl who jumped to the conclusion that she's travelled in time because a particular hallway that was dirty an hour ago is now clean. Logic: something this girl lacks.)

[...] "and I feel like I could be myself around him."

Like I mentioned a little earlier in this review, you've only had a full conversation with him twice. You haven't really had a chance to "be yourself around him."

[...] "and there's something dark and dangerous about him, but there are these moments where I see something deeper inside of him. He's capable of so much more than he thinks he is."

Ah, yes. Because who would know what he's capable of more than a girl he's spoken to twice? (And if I see the word 'dangerous' used to describe a love interest again, something will be thrown.)

Is the gushing over yet?

Chuck Testa

[...] "and sometimes I look at him and our eyes lock and it's like I'm physically incapable of pulling away."

Seriously, just... just shut up. For the sake of readers, for the sake the person you're talking to in the book, hell, for the sake of humanity, just shut up.

And to all of this obsessing, Mary replies with:

"All that in just a few days?"


*sigh* Okay... Moving on...

Part two of the love triangle is Lucas, who is a sergeant at Camp Hero. Lucas finds Lydia at Camp Hero when she's transported into 1944, and brings her to safety. Coincidentally, Lucas is very close with - wait for it... The Bentleys! (AKA, Lydia's family.) Once again, how convenient! There's not much to rant about when it comes to Lucas, or him and Lydia's relationship, because their relationship was actually given some development. Of course, it was still insta-love, but it was given much more development than Lydia and Wes' relationship.

Other than the mediocre at best characters (with the exception of Mary, who I really, really liked), the writing is startlingly amateur, and the plot is so predictable and boring. I went into So Close to You with some apprehension, because most if not all of the negative reviews this book's received has said it's boring. However, when those reviewers said that they thought So Close to You was boring, I assumed that as because Lydia was going around and experiencing what life is like in the '40's, and they were bored by that. I have absolutely no problem with that, and in fact, one of my favorite books of all time is 11/22/63 by Stephen King, and a very large portion of that book is just experiencing life in the past. However, the book wasn't boring because all Lydia did was experience life in the '40's. In fact, she doesn't do that at all. This book is boring, because it's just. plain. boring. There's no other way around it - barely anything happens, and when something actually does happen in the last twenty five percent, it's anticlimactic and still boring.

And I suppose the ending's supposed to be tragic, and I'm supposed to feel for the characters, and I'm supposed to care about what will happen to them in the next book, but that's just it: I don't. I don't care about the characters, the story, anything. I just. don't. care.


  1. HAHAHA I can't count how many times I giggled reading this review. Two paragraphs in and I was like, "I WANT HER AS MY BEST FRIEND." But I empathize with you! I really do hate disappointments, more so when I actually buy the book (money=wasted), thinking it will be good when it's not. Lydia and Wes=Bella and Edward Cullen?? Ugghh.

  2. Thanks, Kelly! That's all much appreciated. I'm really happy my review made you giggle. :)

  3. "the insta-love and love triangle, which apparently is mandatory for YA books to have"

    Oh don't get me started! :D


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