On Dublin Street  - Samantha Young Some spoilers ahead!

Oh, good grief. Before I even get started, let's just establish a couple of facts about this review:

1) I know my opinion is not the popular one (at the moment).
2) I do not feel guilty about Fact #1.
3) Therefore, I am going to be brutally honest.

If I could go back in time one week and erase the crazed idea I got to read On Dublin Street, I would. Even though I'm an avid romance reader, I have incredibly shitty luck with contemporaries, mainly because I expect modern characters to be more enlightened than they ever turn out to be. But here was this new, shiny thing with all kinds of 5-star reviews and a generous amount of buzz. "It can't be that bad," I thought.

Then I read it.

This doesn't end well.

While I know On Dublin Street is right up some readers' alleys, almost everything about it is my own personal Kryptonite. The only thing I liked about it was the ending because that meant I was finally done with it. So, with no further ado, let's get to the meat of this rotting carcass.

Things Rachel Didn't Like About On Dublin Street

The Quality
Apparently, this thing had two editors. I couldn't tell. A constant stream of errors kept me detached from the story about 90% of the time. Punctuation is misused (or not used at all), words and phrases are repeated with wild abandon, dialogue tags are left beaten and bloody behind crumbling storage sheds, sentences are mangled, and needless descriptions and characters are rolled out of a clown car even though they bring nothing to the story. The narration tested my patience time and time again with its repetitiveness. Joss can't just say "shit" or "fuck" when she feels like using a curse word (which is often). She'll take off on some Fuckity, shit, shittity, fuckity, fuck, shit exclamation that makes it look like the prose is suffering from Tourette's. In addition, she uses the annoying curse "Jesus C" all the freaking time. It's Jesus CHRIST, Joss. You can't throw around all those fucks and shits like a politician throwing out candy to little kids at a parade and then act all coy when it comes to Jesus. We all know it's Jesus Christ. "Jesus C" would have been fine if used once (or never), but it wore out its welcome VERY FAST. The whole story needed to be compacted and fine-tuned. Alas, it wasn't and ends up reading like a first draft fan fiction instead.

If you're thinking, "Rachel, it can't be that bad," allow me to present to you the following:

Example 1: As I had been for the last few weeks I was working Saturday's now at Club 39.

Example 2: "Wait," My look castigated, "You didn't pick up every time Adam called?"

Example 3: He seriously hated clubbing which had brought me to ask him the question 'why he owned a nightclub?'

Example 4: He should you have been a therapist.

These are just a few that really made my head splinter. You can find more on just about every page of the book, or you can check out my epic collection of status updates. Near the end, I felt like everyone just stopped trying. "You're" was used instead of "your" multiple times. Run-on sentences ran crazy. The plot just kept going and going for no reason other than to drag out the page count.

Call me a nit-picky bastard. I'm not ashamed. If a book goes out on the market for people to buy and spend their time reading, then it should be properly edited. Isn't it enough that we have to put up with wonky plots and asshole characters? Can't grammar and proper syntax rise above all that? I refuse to give more than one star to a book that uses "My look castigated" as a fucking dialogue tag, or that uses "Saturday's" as the plural for Saturday, or that neglects the use of commas like they're just "special gifts" we give out every once in a while.

Joss is a Cow
This narrator has the special honor of reading like both The Most Horrible Person in the World and a generic Mary Sue. Joss comes fresh out of the Tragedy Factory with a dead family, a dead best friend, and a shit-ton of "I've got issues" baggage. In order to facilitate Joss' fucked up persona, Young just has her do everything in the most irrational manner possible. She has all kinds of nice friends but insists that she can't let anyone in. She has a hefty inheritance that she "never" uses (which is a fucking lie) and acts like some great martyr because she works in a pub and wants to write for a living. She acts like a total hypocrite with her friends and even makes the problems of her roommate, which are actually serious, ALL ABOUT HER. Joss is such a bullshitter that she'll tell you one thing in the first-person narrative and then completely contradict it in her totally unnecessary inner monologue. That brings me to another complaint: Why the hell do I keep reading first-person narrative stories with frequent inner monologues? They do the same goddamn thing!

Joss makes a good decision when she starts going to therapy, but the therapy sessions annoyed me because it read like Young pulled every aspect of it from what she's seen on TV. If that damn therapist cocked her head like a bird one more time, I was going to scream.

I'll give Joss credit for being a caustic bitch to Braden a majority of the time, though. Sure, her "I don't deserve LOOOOOVVVEE!" reasoning is irrational, but Braden seriously deserves every ounce of difficulty she throws at him.

Braden Carmichael: Alpha-Douche-Bitch
This guy. He's a real piece of work. I hate this New Alpha character we've been seeing in books ever since Edward Cullen made stalking "sexy" again in Twilight. Perhaps my fantasies don't line up with popular opinion these days, but I don't find these guys attractive at all. The alpha male used to be confident, and yes, demanding, but he knew where to draw the line. Now, the alpha male is written as some wangsty, twagicy bitch with more insecurities than a teenager going through puberty and a majority of the characteristics you find in those lists that tell you if your partner might be abusive. I don't find this sexy. At all. I find it revolting, disappointing, and above all, ANNOYING.

I don't give a shit if Longshacks McGiantWang is a tortured soul with a sad past. That doesn't give him an excuse to shuck all personal responsibility and mistreat the people around him.

Braden Carmichael: Manipulative A-hole is one of these gems. From the beginning, he refuses to respect Joss' boundaries. All of their conversations go something like this:

Joss: Braden, I need space. I am being entirely up-front with you about this.
Braden: I don't give space to women I want to fuck, Jocelyn.
Joss: I can't have sex with you.
Braden: I'm going to fuck you so hard you won't be able to stand straight in the morning, Jocelyn.
Joss: I told you to call me JOSS. I hate it when people call me Jocelyn.
Braden: I'm never going away, Jocelyn.
Joss: You're a dick.
Braden: I am Alpha Male. Hear me roar! (throws her down on bed) Now let's fuck.

Braden has a very foul mouth that never gets sexy, and this is coming from a person who uses liberal profanity in her reviews. He actually made me tired of the word "fuck". His list of sins against Joss (and women in general) is long and well-documented in my reading updates. I'll just tell you the ones that pissed me off the most here: He threatens to beat up just about every guy who flirts with or looks at Joss. He ACTUALLY beats up a guy who flirts with Joss. He tells her what to do with her hair and how to dress because he doesn't want "other men" knowing how sexy she is. He shows up at her apartment unannounced even AFTER she tells him she needs space. He goes on and on in these really creepy exchanges about how he'll never "share" her, like she's a pair of his gym shorts or something. He initiates sexual encounters with her WHILE SHE'S SLEEPING. He manipulates her BIG TIME near the end of the story, telling her that he slept with another woman just to make her break down emotionally so he could discern if she "loved" him.

Frequently, Braden's body language and behavior are described in a way that suggests he's about to murder Joss.

Example 1: "That's it, we're done. This was a complete mistake." I moved to get up but found myself tackled back onto the couch, flat on my back with Braden lying over me.

Example 2: ... and then I strangled a squeal of fright as he lunged upwards, his strong hands gripping my upper arms as he dragged me down onto the floor with him. "Braden!" I yelled, as he rolled me onto my back. And then he did his worst.

After that second quote, he actually tickles her, which may disturb me even more. His moods rapidly fluctuate between "charming Scotsman" and "slasher pic serial killer". It was very hard for me to handle.

Braden is just a walking laugh factory of everything I've never wanted in a boyfriend.

"Because ... I like being the only man who knows how beautiful your hair is. How gorgeous you look with it down."

That seems sweet on the surface, I guess. But then think about it. If Braden could push it that far, I bet he would like to be the only one who knows how gorgeous Joss is, PERIOD. What I'm implying is that he would never let her be within seeing distance of another man if he could get away with it.

"You try to leave, I'll tackle you." Even though he wasn't looking at me when he said it, I could tell he was deadly serious.

Deadly serious? She believes that he's DEADLY SERIOUS about threatening to TACKLE her? This is so unromantic that MY vagina has put up a "Closed Until Further Notice" sign so I can recover from this shit.

Things Don't Make Sense
Joss' back story makes very little sense. It seems that Young knows very little about American trust laws and the American foster care system. We're told that after the death of her parents, Joss was funneled into the "awful" foster care system. This requires a great suspension of disbelief on the reader's part. For one, her family had a great deal of friends and neighbors who probably wouldn't want to see Joss end up with strangers. For another, her parents apparently took the time to set up provisions for her to inherit a great deal of money at 18 in the event of their deaths but neglected to arrange something major like CUSTODY OF THEIR CHILD? Lawyers and executors would be involved in this type of deal, and they would exhaust every last option before putting an heiress with family friends and a fucking UNCLE in the foster care system. Nothing is explained, though. We're just expected to believe that Joss obviously went there because she's a poor little thing. I don't buy it.

The Sex is the Same Thing Over and Over Again
On Dublin Street doesn't really push any erotic boundaries. Most of the sex is missionary and involves Braden basically sexing Joss into submission. While he constantly talks about how much he wants to "fuck" her, Joss has the same physical reactions EVERY DAMN TIME she sees him. "Oh, Braden wore a new shirt! My panties dampened and my nipples pebbled in response." Joss' panties are referred to as "damp" so often that I've started a working theory that her vagina is the Dead Sea. It didn't help that Braden makes all kinds of comments about how "wet" she is during the love scenes. Is there no other description to use? I get it! Joss is in a perpetual state of horny for the possessive bastard.

The Elitism
Basically, rich people like Braden and Joss are totes awesome and principled. The only poor people are described as gold-diggers and drug dealers/users. I read another review that went into this in detail, so I won't rehash it here.

In short (and I know, there's nothing "short" about this review), this book is not my cup of tea. If I could give it ZERO stars, I would. However, GR won't let me, so one star will have to do. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a truckload of neglected commas in Scotland looking for a good home right now. I think it's my duty to rescue them.

Just for fun, I'll leave you with this randomly plucked-from-the-text quote:

... when a bolt of lust shot between my legs and I looked down to see a gorgeous merman's head there.


Edited on 10/19/12 because I woke up in the middle of the night to the realization that I forgot to include a couple of the repetitive phrases that annoyed me. If you've already read the review and really want to know what would wake me up in the middle of the night, the additional material is in the first paragraph under the heading The Quality.