For almost two years now, Kiera's boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she's ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together, Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university, everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart.
Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source—a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he's purely a friend that she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes...and none of them will ever be the same.
I want to address a major point of the novel first. I don't usually take issue with love triangle stories per se, especially where the author has thoughtfully constructed delicate but powerful relationships. Unfortunately, love triangles are all too often a part of real life, and if art mimics life, love triangles are bound to appear in novels. (Especially YA because we all know what being a teenager can be like sometimes.)
I do have a very hard time stomaching cheating or adultery however. (It made me very uncomfortable through Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed and it was probably my least favorite part of Gone with the Wind.)
I had to dock Thoughtless a few stars for the way my stomach turned during pivotal plot points. The bottom line is this is a love triangle that takes place during a relationship. The main female character, Kiera cheats on her boyfriend, Denny with his best friend Kellan while she is still with Denny. She's with him both emotionally and physically and I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse. (She can't makeup her mind because she loves them both? Or she has so little respect for them both?)
Luckily I really liked Kiera as a character. I identified with her although we have little in common. I came to understand where she was coming from, even if I didn't agree with it and I appreciated the realistic guilt the author had her suffer. (Not over-dramatic, but deep and cutting.) If you are less bothered than I am by cheating then this might not be as much of an issue for you.
I also really appreciated the unique setting and the older age of the characters and Stephen's ability to write them as adults and not as teenagers who just happen to be in their mid-20s. They actually act their age. They have their own goals, ambitions and weaknesses. Character development is definitely one of Stephen's strengths and her secondary characters are as likable, if not more likable, than her main characters. They have their own personalities and don't just mesh into one giant blob in the background.
Oh, and some of the scenes will leave you heart thuddingly breathless. If you read Thoughtless, you know I'm talking about the rain scene. Stephens writes tension - both good and bad - masterfully. She does a great job of balancing anticipation and gratification so the reader doesn't spend the entire book waiting for action and so there isn't too much of it that it gets old.
I only gave it three stars because of the explicit cheating, the kind of cliched plot-idea (A rockstar? Really?) and because the writing isn't going to change your life. The plot moves briskly but there are parts that drag when they shouldn't or breeze past when they should be slower and more developed.
All in all, 3 out of 5 stars ain't bad and I liked it enough to read the sequel.