Review: After Hours by Claire Kennedy

July 2, 2015 Book, Reviews 2 ★★

Review: After Hours by Claire KennedyAfter Hours by Claire Kennedy
Genres: Adolescence, Drama, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Published by Simon Pulse on June 16th 2015
Source: Edelweiss
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Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn't just about waiting tables. It's about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it's about Tips.

Tips--the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.

Xavi will do anything for the money...absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi's stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.

Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy...even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes...and things are about to get dirty.

The story bored me a lot after a few pages in. When I reached the half-way point in the book, I began to skip certain things in each page and just go directly to the important details just to get it over with.

I didn’t get what was the big deal with knowing everyone’s secret in the restaurant the four main character’s work at. They are just people who work together, nothing more. You don’t need to know every dirty little secret the waitress or the bartender has. In real life you focus on your work and getting payed, not on what that person or the other does after work.

Other than that, what bothered me most were the characters. We have Isa, who has this great secret of being a beauty pageant and having indie rock parents. No one, NO ONE, must know how embarrassing that is. There’s Finn who has this other job no one knows about and the tons of money he always seem to have. Then there’s Peter, who has a secret crush with his non-blood-related stepsister, Xavi. And last but not least is Xavi, who needs to get ascended to waitress asap so that she can pay for a fashion designer school in NYC. All of these characters have their ups and downs through the story that get connected through their workplace and Tips, a game their boss made after hours where the workers pay to play and then have to do a dare to win all the money that was collected.

The only characters that I genuinely felt something for were Peter and Xavi, who struggle with what they feel and not letting anyone know, because they think it might look bad for being family. Peter wants to tell Xavi but he fears that she only likes him as a friend or brother, and instead would push him away. Xavi, in the other hand, has her mind focused on making her designer dreams come true no matter the cost. I saw in the book how they seemed to have some character development with the various scandalous things that happened through the story and I liked how it ended for them. A book full of their family and own drama would have been better for me <3

The rest of the cast, specially Isa and Finn, were like cardboard cutouts and lifeless. Just there for the sake of being. I couldn’t sympathize one bit with Isa after some stupid thing she does to Finn, which is completely WRONG on so many levels but won’t go into detail because of spoilers. Finn was weird to understand as a character because of his really dirty secret that can put his whole life, and the lives of others, at risk. I wanted to smack him as well. Isa and Finn started good but after a while they just weren’t interesting enough to care about.

The other characters were meh, except the boss named Rico. That man was twisted from the beginning and I didn’t know how no one knew what he was up to with that little game of his, Tips, and didn’t do anything about it until the end. The game and the parts of it presented in the book were fun to read about but not completely satisfying. We are told that Tips is to die for, that a lot can be at stake with the dares everyone comes up with. But we only see the really weak ones like kissing someone you hate, or a really messed up one like hooking up in the restaurant during working hours with a witness. Ew. Where did dignity go?

Spoiler ahead of the ending……. But Rico goes to jail because of something bad he did. The policemen know about the game, know that something is fishy there, that something doesn’t add up, but they leave it at that by winking at the employees and telling them they used to play Tips back in their days. Isa makes something bad too that could get her into juvie or maybe even adult prison. Yet nothing bad comes to her. She might have not done that on purpose, but she collaborated in a way. In real life, people go to prison for things like that, and here nothing happens. No punishment, no scolding, no lesson other than you can sometimes can get away with it and that it’s okay.

Maybe it’s just me being bitter about the book because it felt really slow and didn’t like some things. That’s just me. The writing in general and descriptions were good. There were a few enjoyable moments of the book with romance, kissing, and getting to feel for a character that has their world coming apart. We see a reality of how in some works there are despicable bosses that are scumbags who ask for nude pics in exchange of raising your paycheck or other favors, where some people might have no other option than do those things even if they don’t want to. That is a reality and I liked how the author worked with this, and how she presented the consequences this might bring to oneself. One should never do those things, no matter what. There will come another way to solve things other than exposing something so private as your body for someone as perverted as a boss, or maybe even a boyfriend or family member.

Overall, this wasn’t exactly my favorite type of book. However, I encourage anyone who is interested in some of the things I mentioned above to give it a try. Peter and Xavi are worth it, at least. I’m secretly hoping the author decides to some day do a story on them <3

Rating: 2 stars

Rating Report
Overall: 1.8
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I'm Jennifer. Addicted reader, and lover of books. I'm a full-time college student majoring in English Liturature and Linguistics & Communication, with aspirations of being a professional editor. Among other things. In the meantime, I obsess over books, history, art, and politics. I believe in freedom of speech and reading whatever you want. Open to discussions about anything and everything 🙂
  • Le sigh. I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of these types of book lately. We need to break the vicious cycle!

  • Karen

    Huh – that sounds kind of weird. Not for me…

    Karen @For What It’s Worth