Book Review | Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

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dear aaronRuby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.  The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.  Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.  What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

rating

3 out of 5 stars

review

This is my fourth Mariana Zapata book.  I liked The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and I liked Wait for It, but I’m going to have to say that Dear Aaron was a miss, which is sad, because it had so much potential.

The first 44% of the book is emails and IM’s between Aaron Hall, a soldier in the war (the book begins in the late 00’s) and Ruby Santos, a woman who becomes Aaron’s “pen pal” through the Helping a Soldier program.

After the 44%, we get into the meat of the book from Ruby’s perspective (only).  God, I don’t think I’ve ever read a “heroine” with lower self worth than Ruby.  And there is no explanation as to why she’s so down on herself.  It made no sense.  Well, there was a story about her past, but it honestly made her seem even more pathetic.

There were quite a few things about this book that I didn’t care for them.  Here are a few:

  • Ruby’s incredibly low self esteem
  • Ruby’s extremely over protective family (she’s 24)
  • The slow pace of the story once we got out of the email/IM stage of the book
  • Ruby’s propensity to apologize every 5 seconds
  • Aaron’s inability to say what’s on his mind
  • The epilogue totally sucked and made me mad in its lack of clarity and lack of wrapping up the story in any way

This book was way too long.  There were several pages I skipped because they were just unnecessary details.  I also really didn’t like the end of the book.  I really enjoyed the beginning, which was all emails and IM’s better than the end, which was an actual story.

The lack of character growth was really bad as well.  Once Aaron and Ruby meet, things were awkward.  In all of their back and forth, they never once saw a photo of each other and had no idea what each other looked like.  That was odd to me.  My husband and I met on a blind date in 1994 and I saw a photo of him then.  Just didn’t make sense.

I did like Aaron.  He was really sweet to Ruby, but he had issues with his family that were mentioned but not really discussed, so we didn’t know why they were there.  What’s sad is this concept was original and the story had potential, but overall, the story was really incomplete and a disappointment.

Happy reading.

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