Damaged Like Us (Like Us #1) , by Krista & Becca Ritchie

When this series was announced I was over the moon. I’m not even exaggerating, I was so happy that I’d get to see the Addicted children all grown up, that I’d get to see the core six as parents, I was literally jumping up and down for days. And when Krista and Becca announced that Moffy is bisexual? I almost teared up. But that was many, many months ago and things have changed for me.

First and foremost I’ve learned not to settle for the little to no representation we – sapphic women – get. I need more and I want more. I needed Jane and/or Sulli to be queer. I needed to see more sapphic girls in this series, not just a 13-year-old girl. Moffy may be bi; but he is still a white cisgender dude. Not the epitome of representation. I’ve talked about this many times in the past and I’ll repeat it once more: white cis gay males occupy a lot of space in literature and they are clearly privileged among the lgbt+ community and I am done pretending I am satisfied with only seeing them represented. So, let’s get into the actual book now.

1) It was a bit of a mess: Other than the apparent forbidden romance there wasn’t a lot going on. Admittedly, it was a fairly short book – at least compared to KBR’s latest works – so if too many things had happened it would have felt even messier. Still, there were far too many characters, most of them new, and, as a result, the characterization ended up being a bit poor. Also, I felt like many of the characters turned out to be completely different from what I was expecting. This is in no way the authors’ fault; I can only “blame” myself and the expectations I had for this book, expectations that were obviously very different from what the girls had in mind.

2) Descriptions: I swear to God, if I had to read ONE more time about Farrow’s or Moffy’s perfect bodies… Like, okay we get it they are both hot, it’s been established, now stop it. I get that it’s pretty common in the genre but it kept annoying the hell out of me and pulling me out of the story. Seriously, I was getting so frustrated over this that I kept missing the actual plot. I did appreciate Jane being chubby and confident, or Sulli not giving a fuck about body hair, but that small inclusion of body positivity was “overshadowed” by the constant mentions of Farrow and Moffy’s perfect bodies.

3) Alpha Males: Moving on to a sore subject: Alpha-males. I hate alpha males. I hate reading stories about them, I don’t particularly like them in real life, and I could never see their appeal. They always feel too stereotypical, too unoriginal, and they seem like the easy way out. You’ve no idea what personality traits to give to your main male lead? We’ve got you covered, make him an alpha male. Again, this is about my personal taste and I am not trying to say that it was in any way wrong to write a story about an alpha male, but hey it’s my review so it has to be personal. So, when I realized that this story was going to be about not one, but two alpha males I nearly lost it. I thought “Okay, this is it, you’ll never finish this book in your life”. Yet, I did and here we are.

4) Chemistry: Uuum, so what happened with chemistry? I’ve always loved Krista and Becca’s relationships the most, but this one was a bit underwhelming. I had the exact same issue with Amour Amour and Thora and Nikolai’s relationship, but since Damaged Like Us is only the first book in a series I am positive Moffy and Farrow’s relationship will grow on me and develop over time. I enjoyed their tension, but I’m hoping to see more domestic/fluffy stuff, considering how little we got to see these things in that first book. I also hope we get to see more of Omega, because their scenes (especially when they were all together at the gym) were some of the most interesting parts of the book for me.

5) The infamous chapter 40: What the hell was that??? I did not see this coming. I’ll admit that the rumours were an interesting enough twist, but the core six’s reactions? I felt like they were completely out of character! For Rose, Lily, and Lo not to trust their own kids?? It felt very unrealistic and had me cringing so, so hard.

6) Paparazzi: I felt like the whole paparazzi thing was a bit unrealistic. Again, I get that this was the story the girls needed to tell, that was their vision and what they had in mind. I just found it strange that the paparazzi would still care about the same family, after 20 years. It didn’t exactly bother me, I just thought it was weird and I hope everyone’s relationship with the media changes over time.

Now that all that’s been said, I still enjoyed the book. It was an easy, fast read and it was nice to fall back into the rhythms of the Cobalts, the Hales, and the Meadows. I will always feel a bit nostalgic reading about these characters that played such a big part into shaping who I am. I loved seeing all the children grown up – even if they turned out to be far different from what I imagined they’d be – and I loved seeing the core six as parents (except from chapter 40 that has now been officially deleted from my memories). Even if I didn’t love the book as much as I expected to, I’ll still read the next one and continue on Moffy’s journey.

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