Wrong in a Lot of Ways

Wrong in All the Right Ways: A NovelWrong in All the Right Ways: A Novel by Tiffany Brownlee

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Thank you, Macmillan, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve already been your sister and your girlfriend, so being your friend shouldn’t be that difficult. —Emma

Wrong in All the Right Ways does have a fantastic cover, but I can’t say the same thing about the content. I really wanted to like this modern reimagining of Wuthering Heights, but it fell short in terms of character development, plot cohesion, and dialogue construction.

Initially, I had high hopes for Emma, the protagonist. She was a fellow nerd. Both of us took our studies seriously, loved books, and disliked children. In other words, I thought that I had found a kindred spirit. My opinion changed when Dylan, her foster brother, came into the picture. I had no qualms about the not-really-incestuous relationship, but I just couldn’t tolerate the instalove, which was unsurprisingly founded on mere physical attraction. At the end of the book, Emma explained why she fell in love with Dylan. However, it was too late to salvage her lusty image.

Another thing that I didn’t like about Emma was her catty attitude toward her parents, her dad in particular. I understood why she resented him. I myself don’t want my parents to micromanage my life. Still, Emma’s dad didn’t deserve to be hated. It felt like the author painted him in such a negative way just because she needed a semblance of an antagonist.

My dislike for Emma increased when she toyed with Keegan, her best friend’s twin brother. Honestly, male objectification is just as bad as female objectification. I believe in girl power, but how can manipulating someone be a sign of empowerment? I needn’t say more.

As for Dylan, I thought that his arc was pretty ironic. He got pissed off when Emma “assumed” that all foster children had a dark past. Guess what, he actually did have one. In retrospect, Dylan was your typical boy in YA contemporary: handsome, broody, and quite rebellious. Oh, and he was very good at being corny. Just recalling his cheesy conversations with Emma is making me cringe.

Finally, I had a problem with the plot twist that made the last 100 pages seem like a weird Filipino soap opera. The dramas in my country are notorious for using amnesia as a plot device, so I was both surprised and annoyed. Ironically, this overrated trope made the book quite original; it was my first time to encounter it in a Western novel. Har-har.

To end on a positive note, I appreciated how this book made me reflect on love’s boundaries. Emma and Dylan’s romantic relationship was complicated. I was confident that it was instantaneous, but I wasn’t sure if it was illegal or immoral. While reading, I often wondered how such a complicated romance could be dealt with in real life. That open ending didn’t help at all.

Overall, Wrong in All the Right Ways deserves two stars because it has more flaws than virtues. I didn’t love it, but hardcore fans of Catherine and Heathcliff might feel differently.

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