WARNING: Here there be spoilers
I have an unpopular opinion (I know, big surprise). I think Colleen Hoover is a miserable contemporary fiction writer. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she’s a pretty miserable writer in general. But Verity was different from the other four of her books I’ve read (those being Heart Bones, It Ends With Us, Ugly Love, and Layla). Heart Bones was a romance, It Ends With Us was a poor excuse for social commentary, Ugly Love was the glorification of an emotionally abusive relationship, and Layla was whatever-the-fuck Layla was. But Verity was a thriller. And I’m convinced that made all the difference.
Colleen Hoover is known for her twists and turns, whether they’re good or bad, well-thought-out or nonsensical. So, to me, it makes sense that she would write a thriller. And she did a bang up job, too. I don’t want to offer too much praise for this book, because it’s not like it’s the most revolutionary thing ever put to paper, and aside from its twists, it really isn’t well written. But it does nothing if not grab you, and although the introduction has very little to do with the book and was gimmicky, it does make you want to keep reading.
I think I finished Verity in almost one sitting, slack-jawed with my heart racing. I loved that there was really no predicting what was coming next, and though I kept guessing, I just couldn’t stay ahead.
Now, I’m not a big thriller reader. In fact, besides Verity and The Push, I can’t even think of what the last thriller I read was. So maybe my bar was set super low because, beyond not outright hating Heart Bones, I have never really had a positive thing to say about Colleen Hoover’s work. Or maybe it’s just a good book. I don’t know. It was fun, though, and dark, which makes for a great combination.
If Hoover ever decides to write another thriller, I might pick it up. But her other more juvenile books can stay where they are; I won’t be unshelving them. I had hoped that her next book would be a thriller and that she would recognize her knack for it and stay in that lane, but alas, Reminders of Him was announced, promising to be more of the same shit that bookstagrammers eat up for some reason.
If you can handle reading about fictional violence against children, then I recommend Verity. But if you can’t, I really don’t think you’re missing out on anything particularly significant by not reading it.
Dates read: July 29-30, 2021