Definitely NOT Monica, but definitely impressed!
Hello, Joanna! Congrats on getting on Inkitt's trending page!
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I stumbled upon "Definitely NOT Monica" by chance, and had read it all in a day. Usually, I only read the first couple chapters of stories on Inkitt, but this really pulled me in, especially since you'd mentioned that your main character had OCD in the blurb. A lot of writers really miss the mark when writing characters with OCD, and I wanted to see how an indie author would cover the subject. Needless to say, I was impressed!
When I saw "humor/romance" as the genre, I was a little wary, as I'm not a huge fan of the romance genre at all, but God, I loved this, possibly because you focused more on the characterization of all the characters so well.
The characters! I just loved all of them (except for Troy, of course!) so much. Reading about each meeting between Jenny, Grayson, Jonty, Phil, Anthony, Ellen, Suze, and Petra (I got them all, right?) was amazing. I felt their triumphs when they worked towards their goals, and their pains when they'd made mistakes along the way. They're just so real, so human, I found it so rewarding to read about their individual lives as they struggled to overcome their addictions. I loved the way they all interacted with each other, and the whole female-friendship dynamic between Jenny, Petra, Ellen, and Suze, as well as between Jenny and Amber, really added a beautiful touch to this story.
And Neil! Oh my gosh, Neil. Although we didn't see much of him, he's one of those characters that falls into the category of characters who show how much other characters develop. As we see Jenny giving him cigarettes, to food, to clothing, we see how much she changes as a person in order to help him, and I think this idea is brilliant.
It's clear you've done your research with addictions and compulsions. I was a little wary of this at first, as I said, because so many people get it wrong, but you've handled the subject so remarkably well, and you showed the characters' development in such a wonderful and realistic way. For example, Jenny never completely stops her compulsions, but she learns how to overcome them for the most part, and ultimately grows as a person.
And Petra's arc? Wow. I just loved Petra. From the way she talked about her husband in the beginning, I thought he was abusive, as the plot led us to believe, though when she came to terms with herself and her addiction, I legitimately wanted to cry. She's just such a strong and badass character, and the fact that she's balancing her job and taking care of her children, who she shows such amazing love to, with coping with stress and her addiction, really shows her as such a strong character.
Next is Suze. When you first introduced her, I thought she was going to be a static character, the classic "mean girl". However, there is no room for bland tropes in this story, and I was pleasantly surprised with her character arc. I love the fact that you treated her compulsion to shop with the same graveness as the rest of the characters' addictions, and I have so much respect for you as a writer for the way you composed and handled this story.
And Phil! Who could forget Phil? He's freaking amazing. As a character, he didn't really change as much as the others did, but honestly, did he really need to? I loved the way he supported everyone, and how he tried to understand Jenny, even when she'd obviously hurt him. (By the way, I don't remember her telling him about what she meant to happen in the gym basement. Did she ever tell him?) And it was so rewarding to see him finish the marathon as well.
As for grammar, there are a couple minor errors here and there, such as missing commas, which unfortunately take away from this amazing story. I often forgot I was reading an indie book since the writing felt so professional, though the grammar sometimes took away from this. But other than that, if my book doesn't win the novel contest (let's be honest, we're all here to win), I hope this one does! It was absolutely brilliant, and I can't wait to read what you have in the future!