Prime Winner Take All Author Laurie Devore –

Thank you to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review I m not even sure where to start Reading this book was a chore, an absolute dreadful chore I m sure there are people who will adore this book but unfortunately I was not one of them These characters are awful, they are the worst type of people They had ZERO redeeming qualities We are suppose to feel sorry for Nell because she s a scholarship kid in a prep school It was impossible for me to sympathize with her at all, she was a rude moralist Jackson wasn t any better He played games and toyed with people It was awful I was hoping this would be a fun snarky love hate relationship but I was sorely mistaken This relationship was on the verge of being volatile I hoped it would get better but it doesn t Unfortunately for me this whole book was a miss. This book has many elements that actually crave in YA contemporary books so I should ve love it But I did not I liked it but I did not lose myself in it I m really sad about because I thought this will be a new favorite of mine so yeah that sucked but what can I say, we don t always get what we want.But I digress.So our two main characters, Nell Becker and Jackson Hart hate each other guts and they don t shy away from telling the world how they real feel about each other Nell is a competitive girl that yearns to be the best at everything she does but no matter how hard she works, Jackson is one step ahead of her which makes her lose her mind and hate with every passing day Don t care Don t show emotion Stay on top. Jackson on the other hand lives for the chance to of riling Nell and beating her They are a match made in hell and when they fall in a whirlwind romance, their feelings will be tested.So I can see this book being a popular choice for readers who are fan of enemies to lovers trope and if you really into that then I ll recommend this book for you because it doesn t get any better than this I, myself love the trope and tend to lean about romances that explore it a very intriguing way but with this one something kept me from loving it bit I ll explain that in details later because I d like to start with the positive things about the story First of all, I d like to say that I really loved how the title and the cover were 100% accurate with the story and the dynamic between the characters so that was cool What I loved about the book was how it was not all about romance even though that was the main plot but it also explored a lot of important themes like toxic relationships and how hard it is to balance our intense feelings between love and obsession, competitive behaviors that makes us strive for unrealistic goals and how that the parental pressure and the yearning to be perfect can turn teenagers into obsessive beings that are willing to hate the people they care about so they can win Be smart but not too smart Be a leader but step aside Be an athlete but never look too strong It isn t all about the trial It s about playing a part, and I m tired of it To be honest, I haven t read a lot of books that explored the themes within this book so that was something that I really appreciated and the balance between the love story and everything else going on with the two main characters and their relationships with their parents were executed well and made me understand a little bit the characters motivations.But there s a reason I didn t this book than three stars and that reason was the nasty things the two main characters did to each other and how toxic they were I mean some of the things they did made me speechless, I mean these two really need a bloody intervention because they have zero common sense So they are nasty t each other , I mean that s something to expect from them, after all they are living in this toxic unhealthy love hate relationship but what I did not expect was how nasty they were to their friends, especially Nell She was selfish, self centered and all she cared about was winning She was hurting her friends and using them to hurt Jackson and she is so entitled that she is just did see how this could make them feel, like something to be used in a game when they are just innocent bystanders Jackson did some nasty stuff but I think Nell was the worst of the two Betrayal is a curious thing Because it s so much than one moment of stabbing pain it s like losing your truth, your guiding principle, your selfI guess it was so much for me with all the lies and the fights and obsessive behaviors that I felt like I was reading something fake The story just left a bad taste in my mouth but like I said the themes the story explored are really important so I couldn t hate the book All I can conclude with is that it wasn t a good reading experience but the book will still appeal to a lot of readers For now I ll leave with this quote that I really loved You know what s funny about the end of something You don t realize how much that something took from you, and how much you gain back when it s gone.note I initially rated this book 2 stars but after thinking about it for a while, I upped my rating to three stars For Nell Becker, Life Is A Competition She Needs To WinFor Jackson Hart, Everyone Is A Pawn In His Own GameThey Both Have Everything To LoseNell Wants To Succeed At Everything School, Sports, Life And Victory Is Sweeter When It Means Beating Jackson Hart, The Rich, Privileged, Undisputed King Of Cedar Woods Prep Academy Yet No Matter How Hard She Tries, Jackson Is Somehow One Step Ahead They Re A Match Made In Hell, But Opposites Do AttractDrawn To Each Other By Their Rivalry, Nell And Jackson Fall Into A Whirlwind Romance That Consumes Everything In Their Lives But When A Devastating Secret Exposes Their Relationship As Just Another Game, How Far Will Nell Go To Win Visceral And Whip Smart, Laurie Devore S Winner Take All Paints An Unflinching Portrait Of Obsessive Love, Toxic Competition, And The Drive For Perfection Y all this book was a a real mess I m trying not to get mad at it but you know what I was actually excited to read this and it turned out to be actual crap bag full of white feminism and victim blaming and a metaphorical landfill Screw this I feel completely cheated There is 1 one redeeming quality in this book and that is Nell s character arc but you know what It doesn t even really begin until the book is about 75% over, and then it just seemed rushed and by that point I was just extremely capital D Done, anyway I feel like I wasted four days of my life reading this, all because I wanted to finish it to see if the problematic issues in it were resolved haha they weren t Listen,, for a book that was supposed to shoot down slutshaming and be super empowering, there was a surprising amount of girl hate hidden in between the pagesBoys get to have it all Girls are either sluts or saintsInteresting, Nell, since you spend the ENTIRE NOVEL slutshaming girls and blaming the victims of unhealthy abusive marriages Let s start with slutshaming and the I m not like other girls mentality There s a scene at the beginning of the novel where Nell and her friends are going to a party, and Nell describes her outfit for the night like thisI have on a tasteful sundress and a headband holding my auburn hair in place, understated, unlike what some of the other girls showed up inLike,,, dude,,,, why Why are you hating on girls just so casually This ain t challenged, either Side note I swear the word auburn is used to describe Nell s hair like ten times throughout the novel and there are literally no other adjectives used to describe it and I m just like ok we get it your hair is flippin auburn and it s integral to your personality lol And then Nell goes on to talk about this girl TristanI know Tristan Kaye, but not well She s the kind of girl who comes with a reputation and a hell of a lot of baggage sic Mostly I know that Tristan Kaye is not the kind of girl I d ever want to beAnd before people come at me saying but wait Nell changed I know Nell s opinion of TRISTAN changed, but the smack that Nell and her mother talk about other girls in general does not Nell is entirely condescending calling a girl saying she prefers Jane Austen s novel trite in a sarcastic way , shames another girl for making out with Jackson not resolved , and straight up victim blames Jackson s mother for staying in an abusive relationship In fact, the rushed resolution of this novel caused for me to not see much of Nell s personal growth at all view spoiler The two things that Nell REALLY changed about herself were this No slutshaming Tristan, and taking care of her mental health while learning to be a better friend All the other issues I had Not resolved Not that those two things are unimportant or don t matter, but it would have been nice to see some bigger changes too hide spoiler Upgrading this to 4.5 stars WOW This blew my mind and was pretty messed up, not gonna lie But it was also amazing and made so many brilliant points about being a girl, and power dynamics, and basically this was such a fierce surprise of a book. 3.5 stars Since I am a sucker for that high achieving rivals first hate each other but then develop feelings for each other thing I decided to give Winner Take all a chance, despite its not so good rating here on Goodreads I must say that this book did totally surprise me in many ways.The story starts really quick and I felt myself being drawn into the setting and the plot I was hooked from the beginning and barely able to put the book down for about the first half I m not saying the story was super exciting or suspenseful, just your average contemporary book with interesting developments But the important topics it dealt with were a pleasant surprise The main character Nell grew up as the only child of a middle class family in an environment that stresses traits as wealth, skin colour and reputation above anything else Despite her background, she finally managed to get a place at a well respected prep school and started her rise to the top of class rankings Using Nell as an example, the author lays out how society still makes it so much easier for rich, white boys to succeed in life In addition, the book deals with racism and slut shaming in a good way by laying its finger on the different consequences the same behavior can have for different people Towards the eding, it felt like Nell and Jackson faced the ame problems again and again without really making a progress and that started getting on me Said characters were developed interestingly and drawn with care, though Jackson seems to be the average rich white boy who seems to have everything in life, not because he worked hard for it, but because he was born with certain privileges Feeling superior to almost everyone else, he treated people and especially girls in a way that made me cringe Nell is someting entirely else At the beginning od the book, I thought she was a true idol when it comes to topics as fighting against traditonal rules and to rise to the top, wanting than other people would expect you to deserve In addition, she did not wait for the boy to make the first step and was mature enough to tell and show what she wanted But everything started to go downhill towards the end of the book I don t want to spoil anything, so I ll just say that she is not actually a good person She makes horrible choices and I eventually got really angry because of her In her acknowledgements, the author states that she sometimes jokes that this book is really about two terrible people who fall in love. I agree with her on that The writing was good in a flowing way that made me fly through the pages I still have a drop of bitterness to add Sometimes in passages with a lot of direct speech, I was unable to tell who was talking at the moment and had to wait for a clue to figure it out and then go back again and reread the whole passage This might not disturb every reader, but I found it a bit frustrating To sum it up, I would recommend this book to contemporary lovers who enjoy reading about serious topics and can stand reading about terrible people. The deeply flawed, competitive, and downright unlikable characters were great I loved the hate to love romance I m not a big romance person, but that fire between Nell and Jackson was excellent But the story itself was too long, without much interesting happening I may have found it compelling were it not rich white kids in a prep school full of mostly rich white kids The message about girls can have it all via Nell didn t really come through because of that Also All of the shitty parents felt like a distraction away from that very problem of the setting. I know this took way longer than it should have for me to read this book In my defense, I hit a high drama point and was experiencing a lot of anxiety in my personal life, so I had to put it on hold and try to become sane before I picked it up again.Winner Take All follows the relationship and rivalry between Jackson Hart and Nell Becker Both of them are driven and determined to win at lifeat whatever cost When they become involved in a romantic relationship, it consumes every fiber of their being AND IT IS DELIGHTFULand DANGEROUS Actual footage of Nell and JacksonA secret is exposed that tears them apart Then secrets and lies build up to a crescendo of chaos Fortunately, both Jackson and Nell have friends who are 100% honest and 1000% done with their nonsense They call them out when they are being self destructive and justgenerally destructive cause they involve other people SMH I live for books that actually show consequences to dangerous actions.PRAISE.Side Point THANK YOU for representing anxiety and depression and low self worth in an honest, unfiltered way.If you loved The DUFF, you will LOVE this Yes, there are some stressful points, BUT it s worth it in the end.Thank you to the publishers and those over at NetGalley for giving me an eARC of this book. I am a mega sucker for this kind of YA plot a prep school, a girl and a boy are in throws of a fight for academic supremacy, the guy is popular and rich, the girl is high strung and scrappy Sparks fly, right Only can she believe him She is not stupid to think he finds her to be SO SPECIAL from the other girls he s dated Or is this some kind of sick game And if it is, who is going to win it A lot of this book worked for me, especially the MC clear headedness about how this whole scenario is basically a fantasy The secrets and the family dynamics are stellar The points about sexism and privilege and over achieving are important, although delivered often too bluntly But then, it s a messily written novel that would have been so much better after a few rounds of editing I felt like Nell and Jackson walked in circles a lot, having the same kinds of conversation and fights Too bad, because it s a compelling romance scenario that worked in this YA book better than in a multitude of adult romances I keep trying to enjoy. you re probably going to read this book and wonder what s wrong with me and the truth is, I do not know