Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: The Opportunist By Tarryn Fisher

Title: The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies #1)
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Genre: Mature Young Adult

Goodreads rating: 4.27 out of 5.00 (4, 000+ ratings)
Goodreads link

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

Review By Chantelle

My relationship with this novel is so complicated... Love hate doesn't even come close to the myriad of emotions I felt after I finished this sadistic creation by Tarryn Fisher. I say sadistic, because upon finishing The Opportunist, I was lost and emotionally exhausted. I was found crying and huddled in bed questioning every hope and ideal I've ever developed about the concept of love. Hours later, I was found ranting to any and every friend who was willing to listen to me. 

Angry at Fisher and confused at the strength of my response to this novel, I went searching for answers as to why Fisher decided to toy with my mental stability with such a draining and ruthless plot - so I went to her author bio page on Goodreads. This is what I found.
I try to write stories that pull on people's emotions. I believe that sadness is the most powerful emotion, and swirled with regret the two become a dominating force.
And herein, my fellow romantics, lies the reason behind the whirlwind of doubt and depression that engulfed me after encountering The Opportunist. Thanks Tarryn, you obviously nailed that objective! ...

Despite my raging temperament, I could see that Fisher's ability to create a piece that had such a powerful and lasting effect on me only highlighted how well written this novel is, therefore, I can not recommend this novel highly enough! 

Olivia Kaspen has a troubled past that revolves around her college love, Caleb Drake. When she discovers by chance that Caleb has lost all recollection of their long history due to an accident, Olivia capitalizes on the opportunity (à la title) to start their relationship anew. Fisher gradually reveals all the angst-ridden details of their passionate and, let's admit it, unhealthy relationship by flawlessly transitioning between narratives of the present and past, leading up to a climatic and emotionally tolling conclusion.  

Click me to read spoilers

The most terrifying aspect is the fact that there is an Olivia in all of us - that rash, impulsive voice whose first choice, without consideration of the consequences, is to lash out for instant gratification.

Every time she is hurt by Caleb, Olivia returns the favour with triple the spite - she lies, she cheats, she manipulates, she loses her virginity to a stranger just to one up him! And the devastation is widespread, showing exactly why our other YA heroines reasonably over think certain situations. Olivia ends up marrying (and settling for!) Noah, a very likeable guy but who she does not love wholeheartedly. What is worse, is that we know she not only deserved it, but earned it. The epilogue set 10 years later drips with regret:

You can only give your heart away once, after that, everything else will chase your first love.

I have finally accepted that there are consequences to every action. I earned them and they are rightfully mine.

It hit home, and it scared me. To romantics everywhere, settling is never an option. To young adult readers everywhere, the golden rule that we depend on, that unspoken agreement between us and the author, is that we trust that no matter the adversities, we'll be given a happy ending. Tarryn Fisher's disregard for this was however, unarguably a powerful tool. Her use of plot to create a novel with the ability to make you question your beliefs and values is one worth a great recommendation.

All that being said, there is a cure to the vortex of premonitions about ending up a lonely, bitter spinster and to the dangerous thoughts about quitting the genre of YA.
These are my top 3 picks for what to read after The Opportunist:

  1. Easy By Tammara Webber
    (This is an absolutely addictive read that will rescue you from any plaguing The-Opportunist-related thoughts)
  2. My Life Next Door By Huntley Fitzpatrick
    (This novel is young, light, adorable and most importantly, optimistic! YAY) 
  3. Sweet Evil By Wendy Higgins
    (Sick of chick-lit? Cross into the paranormal/fantasy world with this amazing, original take on Nephilim)

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5