CLEAN SLATE by ISLA OLSEN
Twelve years ago, I thought I had everything figured out: I’d go off to college, get my marketing degree, come back to my charming little hometown of Finchley in California’s Gold Country, help my high school sweetheart build his carpentry business, and live happily ever after…
Ha! That’s teenage naivety for you.
Instead, on the eve of my college departure, Slater Goode (henceforth known as The Devil) ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it. Figuratively.
But I don’t care about that anymore. At. All. I have a great life in Chicago… I mean, things aren’t exactly rosy right now, what with my boyfriend slash boss cheating on me, and then losing my job over that little vandalism incident… But that’s just a blip. Things will get better. They have to. I’ll be damned if I’ll be returning home to Finchley with my tail between my legs.
But then I get some news: The Devil’s grandfather, whom I love as if he were my own, has passed away in a tragic mishap of the coital nature, and missing his funeral is not an option.
Despite my desperate prayers, when I return home I’m appalled to find The Devil has not been the victim of some disfiguring flesh-eating disease. Nope, if anything he’s even hotter. And he’s sweet, and funny, and everything I remember falling for back in high school. But he’s still The Devil who shattered my heart and there’s no way I’ll give him the chance to do it again.
Exes with benefits, though? Now that could be an idea…
There is also a lot to dislike about Clean Slate.
I enjoyed some aspects of the main characters—Slater and Zack. But a lot of the time they simply fell flat. Zack for his part simply seemed like an immature alcoholic running from his feelings. And Slater was an empty husk. By the time naked stuff happened I wasn't even interested because it just came from left field. We have no real back story and aside from seeing each other once since Zack returned for Ted's funeral no real connection between the MCs.
The wheel was spinning but the hamster was dead.
Also, despite the family tree provided at the start of the book, I was lost everytime a new person was introduced. I couldn’t remember how people were related—I wasn’t returning to the family tree every time someone new popped up to figure it out—and it was never explained very well. Mostly characters were thrown onto the page and you were expected to know who is who and their relevance and relation before they disappeared just as quickly. It made it hard to enjoy the story when I didn't understand why a character was important.
If I wasn’t provided an ARC I probably would have stopped reading after chapter ten.
By chapter 13 there was still no real explanation as to why the broke up. Maybe because Zack was leaving for college and Slater didn't want to do long distance? At least, that is what is hinted at.
Things are made clear by chapter 16 and its anti-climatic as hell. Lots of build up and zero follow through. But, if you can make it to the end its a solid finish if all your looking for is a lot of sexy time and a happy ending.