This is going to be one of the most open, most honest reviews I’ve ever posted. So it’ll probably end up being one of the longest as well. And since I’m about to express some sentiments and opinions that may be a bit controversial I’d like to give you some disclaimers first.
So here we go: I love Krista and Becca. I love the world they have created, their characters and their dynamics. They are two of my favourite authors and I feel like I will always reach for their books no matter how old I get. The Addicted series is a very special series for me. It came into my life at a time when I needed it the most, it helped me deal with a lot of shit and get over many insecurities and situations and it will always, always feel like home to me. The Addicted characters have become somewhat of a family to me and I’m really glad I will always have this series to fall back into.
That being said I was a very different person when I started this series. I was about to turn 16, struggling with body image, a ton of insecurities, coming to terms with my bisexuality, and in a very bad mental place. This series and its characters really helped me build my confidence, open up to others, accept myself and my body and find my inner strength. And for 15-year-old me that was a lifesaver. These characters are so ingrained into my personality now, especially Rose and Ryke. Rose was my first introduction (via a book character I mean) to modern-day feminism: she was the first woman in a series to call herself a feminist, she always stood up for what she believed for and she always called others out on their sexism and misogyny. I’m not claiming she was the first female character I’ve ever read about to be a feminist. Just the first to call herself one. And that first introduction led me to a bigger, wider, deeper research where I discovered so, so many things and above all intersectional feminism.
There’s a reason I said intersectional feminism. And here we go with a few things I have to say about this series in general: (spoilers ahead obviously) (Also, this is not exactly a review of the book. More like some general thinking on the series as a whole)
1) Rose Calloway is not the epitome of feminism: Like I said before, she was a great first introduction to feminism for me. She taught me a lot about self-love, standing up for other women, loving yourself, and being confident. But the truth is her feminism comes from a very, very privileged place: she is white, she is straight, she is cisgender, incredibly rich, able-bodied and with a body type viewed as typically beautiful. So how can I call this woman a “feminist queen”? Which brings me to my second point….
2) Lack of diversity: NA isn’t – generally speaking – the most diverse genre of literature. 9/10 mains are white and cishet. So, I sort of get why the first books lacked diversity, since the genre itself isn’t really open to it. But as the books progressed and with so many characters being introduced it felt like they could have added more characters of colour and/or queer. Such a large percentage of the fanbase are queer and/or women of colour and they should have been able to see themselves represented in their favourite series. I’m not just talking about characters of colour being completely absent from the series (seriously, there’s not a single character that’s not white). Out of the main six, only one of them is LGBT+ and even then no label is used. Like, I completely respect it when someone does not want to label themselves, but that specific character is so obviously pansexual that not using the term just feels like the easy way out. And since we’re talking about that specific character…
3) Connor Cobalt just doesn’t work as a character: He is so very unrealistic. Yes, I know it’s fiction but hear me out. In the series, he always appears like this sort of deity, always able to provide a solution, to read people’s minds, to see exactly what they want. But, that would never happen in the real world. And I’m not just pointing that out because it’s unrealistic. I’m pointing it out because if I ever met a guy like Connor I’d run the other way. Dude seriously thinks he is god, constantly overstepping boundaries and limits. Again, it works in fiction because the authors make it. He even planned a surprise wedding for Christ’s sake! It worked perfectly in the books, because Rose ended up loving it and it seemed super romantic and all, but what if she wasn’t ready? What if she didn’t wanna marry him?? Like, we get it you’re smart, but you still need to ask your partner this sort of thing. As much as I loved him in the series I would never wanna be with a guy like him in my life.
4) Now, let’s talk children shall we?: Okay, so let’s start with the Cobalts. First of all, the series started off with Rose absolutely not wanting children and Connor wanting 8. They ended up having 7. Hmmm…. I’m not saying Rose changing her mind or her perspective or whatever is wrong but???? I kind of feel like it perpetuates the whole stereotype that women who don’t want children just haven’t found the right man yet. Now, let’s move on to their actual children. Out of 7 children, only one is gay (I have no read DLU yet so if that’s not true anymore I’m not aware). And only 3 children out of a number of 13 total are lgbt+. And guess what, only one of them is a lesbian. I really wish this is something that changes in the Like Us series because let’s be honest here for a sec: We’ve already been introduced to the gang from the Addicted series, a gang that ended up being extremely supportive and loving parents. So use that opportunity and give us more lgbt+ characters, especially trans ones who barely even get any rep at all. Give us lesbian Luna Hale!!! She loves aliens and space, that’s practically sapphic culture!!! Also, Daisy’s struggles to conceive in Long Way Down would have been a great opportunity for them to adopt and actually introduce some characters of colour in the series. But that’s in the past so I’m not going to stand on it for long. It’s just that with so many children as potential protagonists for the Like Us series I feel like we deserved better and more rep.
This is turning out to be even longer than I expected so I’m going to stop right there. Once again, I have nothing but respect for Krista and Becca and what they have created and I will always love them for what they gave me. But since last week I complained about the lack of sapphic girls and romance in Cassandra Clare’s books I’d feel like a hypocrite not to do the same here. I just want to see myself represented and I want everyone else to be able to see themselves as well. I know for a fact that Krista and Becca have one of the most loving and supportive fanbases, full of people willing to offer up advice and information, beta and sensitivity read any and every of their books.