Unexpected  Changes (Unexpected Changes, #1) - Danyelle Tousey
First things first, I received a free e-book copy from the author in exchange for my honest rating/review/thoughts.

I'm giving it a 1 star rating, when I feel it should be a 1.5 and there's not enough to warrant a bump up to 2 stars for me.

On the Author's profile on B&N:
I would like to give others a sense of what it is like to be an addict. I would especially like to reach out to family and friends of addicts that do not understand what it is like, maybe I can give you an insight to how they think and feel.

I think with this goal in mind, the book doesn't do too badly. If this is all you are looking for I think it meets the goal basically and should be a 2.5 or 3 star rating if this is what you want. There are only a few things I think you should know before you decide this book will help you in this area and there are a few drawbacks in this department. It doesn't go into rehab or what happens when an addict tries to get clean and all the struggle involved. As far as how easy it is to get addicted and how someone spirals down that is made painfully clear. It's just with the initial set up, it doesn't deal with how or why a "good kid" would willingly get involved with drugs but it does answer how or why a "good kid" can fail just like any other human being to drugs. Marissa's is an accidental taking of drugs and spirals from there. Yeah, she was having issues but she didn't succumb to peer pressure or look for a way out, she just happened to fall down a trap door. The tail end of the spin is particularly well done. It does handle and portray the prescription drug appeal and struggle well, and then when she goes deeper down the rabbit hole so to speak.

For the teen about to go off to college it does seem more "fearful not even once" track but isn't very helpful with how to resist, since, again, Marissa was accidental doping. The treatment of drugs reminds me of Go Ask Alice*, which coming from me isn't a compliment. I hate Go Ask Alice. However, this book may be great for a lot people, like Go Ask Alice was, but it wasn't for me. It will probably hit home the best with young adult women before heading off to college, but I admittedly don't know any that's as naive as Marissa. I think the farther from college age, the better this book is going to seem for young readers.

Now with the goal of the author in mind, I can't say don't buy this book. It might help people understand addicts and their spiral down. It might help naive college kids get a better understanding of how things work. I'm just not in either of those categories. I have seen drug abuse from a young age due to my family and environment and have no problem dealing or understanding it. So, the only thing I can read this book for is enjoyment and I have to say,I just don't find it to currently be that good.

It was really slow to get rolling. I found it was hard to get into the story for the first 100 pages, which is an awfully long time for a book only 200 pages long. I think with a bit more showing instead of telling, a bit more personality and... liveliness in the first half of the book, it would be an okay, easy, quickly enjoyable read. There were a lot of repeating phrases and words in close proximity and other little things about the writing that bothered me a bit. There were lots of opportunity to expand on things to make the story more in depth, especially in the beginning, but it wasn't worked upon. Whether this was intentional and I just didn't get the point of it or not, I don't know.

I think a continuation or an afterward about Marissa's struggle in rehab would be good. I think it would do more for the goal and give a more complete picture of Marissa. Maybe she was so bland in the beginning because she was still depressed (if that's the case, I didn't see or feel it) then Marissa discovering how to be happy and stay clean would really be her coming of age and show who she is more. I'm interested to see how the story and the author progresses along with Marissa.

Now, Marissa really is the privileged has everything girl that has some life changes, which she just can't handle. Marissa's pain didn't really hit me. It was mostly told but not really shown. I didn't feel it, it was so hard to connect with her. I didn't start really feeling Marissa until after she was addicted and struggling. (Of course, I'm more like Kim than Marissa so take that as you will) But it feels like Marissa as a character is lacking. There are many things left out or missing with who she is and a few things that didn't make sense to me. Now, of course, I can deal with a protagonist that I'm not fond of but following this cardboard cut out of a girl made the first half of the book unenjoyable. I couldn't connect or get into it since the story revolves around Marissa, Marissa is in fact the story and it felt like Marissa didn't come on stage til the half time show. The last half of the book picked up and I liked it. It was okay but it's hard to recommend an okay 100 pages with 100 pages of drag coming before it.

I mean Marissa literally has the fear of being on her own and then the passing of a family member to deal with. She really doesn't have any struggles besides that. I appreciate that Marissa recognizes that, it just made her come off as very whiny to me. Every one she meets just seems really terrific in her view. No drama or awkward phase besides the first 30 mins with her new roommate? Most college stories talk about growth and new experiences. Marissa only had this happen to her accidentally. She complains about how many friends Kim has but clearly Marissa has no issue with this either. Everyone is just waiting to be her friend from her co-workers, to her roommate to random people she meets. I was expecting more problems, more drama with Marissa given her age and lack of experience. I mean how often is it that college roommate get along that great, with no awkwardness or anything? How often do you get along with all your co-workers? Was there no one who bothered/didn't like/didn't get along with Marissa once they meet?

Marissa is just a big, bland blank to me. I'm the study hard book worm working since I was 16 yet I didn't connect with Marissa, because I couldn't find anything to connect to. She's well off, wants her own restaurant, and claims to be able to talk to strangers just fine but doesn't go out of her way to do that outside of work. That's all I know about her. I don't know her style of clothes, type of colors, taste in books, what music she does or doesn't like, if she ever listens to the radio or watches TV or goes online. With how things are today, you'd think she'd be connected online or using a computer to write essays for school at least. She has her cell phone and txt messages but that's it. No mp3 player, radio, I mean nothing, and she's able to afford such things too I'm sure, even with just using her paycheck money. I mean we didn't even get a good full description of what Marissa looked liked until half way through the book. (To be truthful, the only character that really got a full description upon appearance is Marissa's love interest, everyone else was spartan descriptions. It was hard to visualize because of this, and when I read I see the picture in my head so this is a big drawback for me.) Again, maybe it was intentional and for effect, but if that's the case, the effort was lost on me. I not only didn't get it but it actively frustrated me.

*I hate Go Ask Alice. It's all fear mongering about drugs and sex. She gets lucky for having a well off family and white to get her out of the mental institution at the end, everyone else is fucked. I couldn't stand the main characters and didn't really give a shit about her. I've seen drugs, sex abuse and death while I was growing up yet Go Ask Alice did a horrible, terrible, job on the subject. It felt very after school special, trying too hard and pumping up drama like an episode of Glee. (Which I also hate for many reasons, like it being horrible racist).