The Roughest Draft was a rough read for me.
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is an adult contemporary romance novel which follows author duo Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen as they write the final book in their contract. Since the two did not end on good terms when they finished their last novel, so they must overcome their differences in order to finish their piece.
Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka has written several young adult contemporary romances. I have read a couple of their books, Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest, and did enjoy them, rating them 5 and 3.5 stars respectively. One aspect of If I’m Being Honest that I really enjoyed was the complex relationships between the characters, so I was expecting to see a similar dynamic play out in The Roughest Draft based on the synopsis. As a result, I was excited to pick up their first venture into the adult category, as it seemed like it would include many aspects that I liked from their previous works.
To start positively, I feel like Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka work really well together as writers. Technically, their writing is easy to read. With two authors, it can be extremely noticeable when one writer stops and the other writer begins. However, in all of the books that I read, I cannot tell if there is a shift in who was writing the story. That being said, I was particularly thrilled by the story or writing either, as I found it difficult for this book to keep my attention.
Unfortunately, there was one large aspect which really overshadowed any enjoyment that I could have towards this book. One criticism I had of Always Never Yours is that I do feel like their is some cheating which occurs before the couple actually gets together. In The Roughest Draft, one of the big reasons that Katrina and Nathan do not talk to each other is all the rumors surrounding their relationship and if there is cheating involved since they spend so much time together holed up in a house to write their novels. Readers get told time and time again that this is just a rumor and that Katrina and Nathan was always respected personal and professional boundaries.
The opposite, however, is shown quite frequently in the text. The Roughest Draft is told in the present day was well as in flashbacks. In both the present day and past flashbacks, readers see multiple examples of emotional and physical cheating. One large part of a romance book is liking the love interests and rooting for them to finally get together. However, it is hard to root for a couple who engages in this type of behavior. It is also frustrating as a reader to be told they aren’t cheating when they clearly are in the text. Additionally, it makes me disappointed that this trope has appeared in the first book published by this author duo as well as their most recent release.
Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Roughest Draft because it didn’t hold my attention and it contained plot points which were a major turn-off for me. I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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