“Perhaps if you spent as much time on your homework as you did on shopping, this would be an A.” ～ Dalton Reid (20%)
Because telling the whole class such a thing makes you a good teacher/person.
Always You is a character driven story and unfortunately it's hard to like our main characters, Wrenn and Dalton. What it is, is another student/teacher romance with a few twists. In the prologue we're introduced to the first twists: Dalton may or may not have the same disease that his father died of. It's never spelled out what disease it is at this point in the narrative, but it comes back later. In chapter one we're introduced to Wrenn's struggle with her losing her parents and brother in a car accident. Now Wrenn has moved to live with her aunt who's the headmistress for an all-girls boarding school where Wrenn attends. One of the teachers goes into labor, and Dalton is hired to be her replacement for eight weeks. Soon Wrenn and Dalton get to know each other and the romance begins.
As I said, this is a character driven story. And really, I couldn't care for either Dalton or Wrenn. They were both flat characters that needed better developing. Both of them have gone through traumatic events, but it never shines through how this affected them. For the first 60% they could've been anyone else who hadn't suffered anything traumatic events. (Well, Wrenn claims to function on four hours of sleep on a good night. As someone who's suffered from sleep deprivation, I know this is ridiculous. You can't function on four hours of sleep for a longer period of time, and Wrenn is functioning as if she gets a full night's sleep each night.) Apart from their pasts, I couldn't care less for them either way. Dalton shifted between being an asshole and chuckling at everything. I'll admit he was never a real asshole to Wrenn, but that first quote? That's enough to make him one. Wrenn on the other hand is portrayed as if she's the good girl, so much different from all the other hormonic teenagers that wants to get in the new, young hot teacher's pants. At the same time she's just as obsessed with Dalton's looks as them, she just isn't blatantly obvious, which makes her so different. She's also the outcast and exposed to bullying from time to time from Paige. (This bullying business is never handeld well either, with no teachers reporting it, neither does Dalton when he finds out.) I understand this would make Wrenn bound to dislike the girl and think nasty thoughts of her, but I think Wrenn and her friend Kass took it too far at times. So no, neither Dalton nor Wrenn was particular enjoyable characters to read about.
She said that Paige’s nasty personality meant she didn’t have to feel bad about objectifying her, which always made me giggle.
Objectifying another person is not okay.
I won't go into the whole student/teacher relationship, because it's pretty textbook example. I mentioned Dalton's disease would come back later. And it does. Around the last 30% or so. It's brought back into the light and Wrenn finds out, about the same time some other things go down. Wrenn and Dalton get a happy ending, and I quite enjoyed in which direction the story took at this point. For me, the ending made it more realistic, but it was far from good enough to save the book from everything prior that. The poor characterization and character development, and at times questionable writing, can't be saved by a decent ending. The story is fast paced, which led to part being passed by too quickly, such as the development of Wrenn and Dalton's relationship from friends to lovers, or Wrenn and Dalton tackling their past traumas. The narrative scratched the surface, and for me I need more than that for a story of this kind.