*this book is only available on Wattpad, but for FREE!*
My Rating: ★★★★☆
*THIS PORTION OF THE REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE*
Too Late is more than just a romance story. This is not your typical CoHo read. Colleen Hoover really stepped out of her writing norm by writing this one. Too Late is meant to be a free story as a “thank you” to her awesome and loyal readers. Supposedly, according to Colleen herself, this is a story she wrote for fun. If she was able to come up with something this heavy and something so out of her writing element just for fun, then I think a credit is due for Colleen Hoover. While I think this story is the most real out of all of her books, it isn’t necessarily my favourite. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
As I’ve mentioned, this story is a lot more than your typical romance story where a damsel is in distress and Prince Charming conveniently steps into her tragedies and saves her. This story addresses more pressing matters and sensitive issues such as: domestic violence, rape, emotional and physical abuse, childhood trauma and neglect, drug abuse/addiction, drug dealing, and etc. When Colleen Hoover noted that this book is for mature audiences only, she was serious. There are a lot of triggers within the pages of this story and the issues presented are not to be taken lightly. And I appreciate Colleen Hoover for doing something like this: for both writing this story, and acknowledging that the contents of her story are serious topics and issues.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this book, but at the same time I didn’t. I didn’t enjoy it because how could I enjoy a story that is nothing short of depressing? But I enjoyed it because it was addressing the truth. This story opens up your eyes about the pressing issues that exists within our society today AND the court system (I won’t get into this here, I’m saving this for the spoiler portion of this review). Too Late has harsh truths written all over it and I appreciated that Colleen Hoover wasn’t afraid to do this.
My only problem with this book was that there were some holes. I can’t go into too much details about this in fear of spoilers. But it was disappointing when CoHo was on such a streak with how REAL everything in this story was, and then bam…suddenly, something unexpected and TOO convenient to be believable happens. Usually I don’t mind this, especially since Colleen seems to be the queen of “convenient incidents” (in no way do I mean this to be offensive towards her, I quite enjoy this about her as a writer, truth be told). However, it’s usually hard to look past these if I am not convinced by the author. I want to be convinced that this particular part of the book wasn’t just a cheap trick to make the plot of the story more convenient and more interesting. Plot twists are great when they are done right, but when they happen with a lot of holes and not enough foundation, they add something negative to the reading experience.
I was going to give this 3 stars out of 5, but when I sat down for a moment and really let everything soak in, I thought it deserved another full star. Simply because it was something different from what she usually writes, and because it couldn’t have been any closer to the realities that some people have to live with today.
*SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE EPILOGUES AND DON’T INTEND TO, THEN STOP READING HERE!*
Now let’s get to the good part—I can finally rant away about a few things in this book. If you’re still reading this, then it means you’ve read this book to its very last page (or you just don’t care about the spoilers or don’t ever intend to read this book).
When I was speaking about “convenient incidents,” I’m sure some of you may know I was talking about Sloan finding out that Carter isn’t actually Carter; he’s Luke and he’s undercover. This would have been an amazing plot twist had Colleen Hoover provided a more believable “tactic” as to how exactly Sloan figured out Carter’s identity. Instead, we get Sloan telling Carter that she figured him out simply because she had a feeling about him, and he slipped up by calling himself “Luke” to her instead of his undercover name Carter, and because it made no sense to her that Carter was spotted making out with a random girl (Tillie) but he kept insisting it was not what it looked like. I mean, what?! I understand that all of that is shady, but how did you pull out the theory that he’s an undercover cop from THAT? Not convincing enough for me. I was hoping that Sloan was going to reveal that she was doing some background check on him…or that she somehow FOUND evidence that he’s not who he says he is. Nope. Sloan figured him out merely through suspicion and theory. Not good enough for me.
While this bit bothered me a lot and left me dissatisfied, I did appreciate Colleen addressing more serious problems such as: how rape is handled in court, and the Battered Person Syndrome. Battered Person Syndrome is defined as “the set of symptoms, injuries, and signs of mistreatment seen in a person who has been repeatedly abused by a spouse, partner, or relative.” I’m sure I don’t need to further explain this if you’ve read the book. As for how rape is handled in court, Colleen was dead on (and very unfortunately so). A lot of rapists go free and often their victims are left feeling even more robbed when justice isn’t served. When Sloan was asking Ryan and Tillie if she couldn’t have Asa charged for rape, Tillie asks if she said “no” to Asa. After Sloan admitted that she had not said no to Asa (she was raped more than once by Asa, mind you), Tillie makes it clear that it’s useless bringing this up to court as it would be clear that it “isn’t rape” if she didn’t try to stop him. Sadly, this is the truth for some cases. This, however, doesn’t mean it’s right. The absence of no DOES NOT MEAN YES. This is a problem—a form of reality, that we don’t often see addressed in a lot of the fiction books that we read. Yes, I understand that there ARE non fiction books that discuss these issues, but there’s something to be said about fiction books that sometimes addresses the truth a lot better than some of the non fiction books.
Now moving on to the prologue—which happens to be at the very end of the book…I thought it was quite clever and effective to have that placed at the very end instead of the beginning. As we read through the book, I’m sure we all had one similar thought: what the hell did Sloan see in Asa that got her into this horrible mess in the beginning?! Having the prologue be at the very end, we get to see how Sloan and Asa were introduced and further proves the fact that first impressions aren’t always reliable and that we are all vulnerable to make decisions that we will later on regret. After reading the prologue, we begin to understand that anyone is capable of putting on a facade to get what they want, and we are in no place to ever judge people’s decisions without knowing fully and exactly their situation.
The prologue also addresses another issue: what victims of rape are like once all is said and done. We see Sloan struggling with what just happened to her. She starts making excuses for Asa and starts trying to convince herself that it was her fault; that she must have said yes in her sleep and that she owed him: “tit for tat.”
When neglect and abuse is all that you’ve known, your perception of things become deluded. Not only was this applicable to Sloan, it was also very applicable to Asa. These two characters were badly neglected and abused during their childhood and while they both ended up traumatized in their own way, they are on very opposite sides of the spectrum. A lot of people on the comments section on Wattpad started making excuses for Asa’s behavior after learning what he went through as a child. A lot of people even said they love Asa’s character and that somehow his actions are justified because he was clearly unloved in his childhood. But these people were missing something else: Sloan was also unloved and neglected growing up. I’m going to leave that up for you guys to contemplate.
Too Late is the monster that a lot of us are uneducated about. Too Late is fiction, but its contents are as close to the truth as possible. While this book was extremely exhausting to read, I don’t regret doing so. A reality slap once in a while is beneficial and humbling.