I feel so sad to be writing this review. I had such high hopes for the final installment of the series, but this book didn't deliver for me at all.
As I try to wrap my mind around everything that transpired throughout this series, it just reminds me how many lose threads were left undone or were wrapped up too easily. That's the thing that bothered me the most. The main conflicts that I was waiting to see how they would be resolved were taken care of so...lazily? At the same time, new conflicts were thrown into the mix (what was up with that eleventh hour love triangle? Also, what happened to Peyton? The character just disappeared?) that detracted from all of the resolutions that I needed from previous books.
The first 40% of this book made my head spin. New characters were introduced in Tolstoy proportions. Inane details were thrown out about what the characters were doing that weren't necessary to further the plot. I say "plot" lightly because I don't really know if this book actually had one. Twoish years have passed since Emma and Evan have split and Emma has transformed into a delicate butterfly that all of the female side characters have to handle with kid gloves else they may brush against a wing and damage it irreparably. The coddling in some instances was almost comical. Watch out, don't say the wrong thing...you may just wake the baby. I found myself rolling my eyes more often than not.
Emma, it appears, has beer flavored nipples and a magic cooter because she is desired by every character with a penis. I just didn't get the attraction, seeing as how for about 70% of the book, she acts like a over-dramatic lunatic. Gone was the strong character from the past and in her place was this person that wasn't recognizable to the Emma of the past two books. As I was reading, I tried to turn off my critical side and just go with it, but her actions were so crazy at times that I couldn't . If I witnessed someone I cared about acting the way she did, I'd be the first one carting her away to the mental ward. It wasn't normal depression, this was something else, something that needed professional help.
Okay, this is going to get a little spoilery, just a warning. Every main plot point from the past was cleared up in a lazy way. 1.) Momma drama? -kill the character off. 2.) Love triangle hell? End the (obviously) doomed relationship by sending 'heart signals' and the extra wheel just disappears. 3.) Have a murder on your hands? Call one of the character's dad's and everything was just a misunderstanding. 4.) Use texts and letters to fill in any remaining plot holes. I'm sorry, but if you've spent two books opening up all of these story pathways, it's not cool to resort to telling us how they are cleared up. You gave us showing, not telling to get to them, why take the lazy way out now? It was just so frustrating to read.
Honestly, the relationship between Emma and Evan felt like it took a backseat to Emma's craziness. By the time we got to their reconnecting, I didn't even care, actually, I thought that Evan was too good for her. I can't see how she could go from thinking about ending it all to emotionally viable with no clinical help. She was so bad, that I felt that she should have spent some more time working on her own problems, not a relationship. Oh well, everyone read this for the relationship, myself included, so I guess we got what we wanted, even if it took a really fucked up route to get there.
Overall, it took me about 5 days to read this. I wish I could say that the holiday had something to do with that, but really, my mind just wandered to something else, every couple of paragraphs. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with that disorienting POV switch every couple paragraphs, probably the most annoying storytelling I've ever read.
So, with all of those annoyances, and there were more (don't even let me get started on the blushing), I just didn’t want to go into any more detail, I give this book 1.5 stars. The .5 is for the nostalgia that I feel towards the other two books. This one, I can’t recommend and would steer a friend away from the series as a whole because of it.