by Christina Lauren
to be published on October 14
by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read."
When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.
Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed...
Sublime was a tricky read for me. I knew very little about it going in, so I didn't have a preconceived picture of what it should be as I read, but what I got was still vastly different from what I imagined it could turn out to be.
Some movies are beautiful on the surface. They are filled with lush, stunning images that are so, so pleasing to the eye. But where these movies fail is beneath all the images, at the core: the characters are flat, the plot is confusing or dull, or the whole thing may not even make sense. But, hey, it sure is something to look at.
Sublime is that movie. (Well, as a book, of course.)
I cannot for even a second deny that Christina Lauren (actually a duo, consisting of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, authors of the infamous Beautiful series) has something here. Their prose sings and paints beautiful pictures in every sentence:
"When she tilts her head slightly, inspecting the pencil, her hair catches a dusty sunbeam, making it seem almost translucent. The strands twist and spill over shoulders that are hunched forward and wrapped in a shirt that's too bulky for someone so delicate. She looks like a shadow of a girl. A shadow wearing a cap of sunshine."I could get lost in the beautiful maze that is their writing. However, the rest of the book just doesn't live up to it. Colin and Lucy become insufferable in their haze of romantic need, to the point where Colin actually legitimately considers (and does! He actually does this!) freezing in a hypothermic lake to get his grubby hands on Lucy. Suspension of disbelief is far beyond impossible at this point.
"'Go into the lake.' Before Jay can get a word in, Colin barrels on. 'I started researching hypothermia, and it takes a long time for the brain to shut down entirely. I mean, in between being cold and being dead, there's a lot of room. . . . No, Jay, listen. I understand it. Metabolism slows. The body shuts down to preserve energy. But the mind is still active . . . we'll time it right down to the second, and you'll resuscitate me.'"All for a little touching. Okay, Crazy Man.
Before the two were so crazy in lust, Colin was actually a sensible character. He had feelings, and drives, beyond just intercourse. ("He wants to open his brain, to tear out the ugly pages and replace them with new, happier ones. Ones where moms and dads don't die and monsters don't carry girls into the woods in the middle of the night.") But then Lucy came along, and his second brain fired up and Colin lost all sense of likability.
The plot of Sublime revolves around Lucy and Colin. Lucy wakes up and doesn't know who she is or where she is or what she's here for. But then she sees Colin in the school and knows she's here for him. (Cue romantic orchestral music.) Naturally, the two cannot keep their minds off each other. Or their hands. Or their mouths. And, as the novel progresses, conflict is added. But it's probably not the good conflict you're looking for here, in this paranormal romance novel.
The conflict is that Lucy and Colin can't fully touch each other, because they're in different forms. Lucy is kind of a little ghostie, and Colin is just a normal guy, and they can't touch. The rest of the novel is a quest for epic secks. Which is just sad. This shouldn't be categorized as a paranormal romance, because it gives you false hope that the paranormal part of that will have some sort of substance to it, will be larger than it is. Make no mistake, folks: Sublime is a romance novel, through and through, with barely any paranormal to distinguish it.