Book Review of WANT by Stephanie Lawton

Posted August 13, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 8 Comments

Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Release Date: June 7th, 2012
Pages: 318
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche.

Julianne can’t understand why Isaac suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it before she inherits her mother’s madness. Isaac knows he must resist his attraction to a student ten years his junior, but loneliness and jealousy threaten his resolve.

Their indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball—the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite—forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.

Will Julianne accept the help she’s offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?

Review: WANT by Stephanie Lawton was one of those books you stay up all night reading. It was impossible to put down. I don’t say that about very many books, but this one kept me reading until the early hours of the next day. It’s not a perfect book, but what it does have is a great story and compulsive readability. 

If you love books with a music theme and background, you probably will enjoy WANT. I loved the way the author wrote the music scenes. The sensory language was fantastic and so well written. I appreciated that the protagonist was a fan of Rachmaninoff. She’s  not the only one. I really did appreciate the usage of classical music. I’m generally a big fan of books with a music theme. This one was no different. 

The characters are also extremely well-developed. You may not like them, but there is no denying that they are flawed and in possession of a multi-faceted personality that jumps off the page. Even Julianne’s mother, who I hated (you are supposed to), was a character full of depth. I believe that writing great characters is the author’s strength.

As far as the writing itself goes, it could have used a little work. Let me explain. Except for the music scenes, I found the rest of the book to be lacking in imagery and sensory language. There was almost too much dialogue. I could have used less telling and a little more description. 

I also had other issues with the dialogue. It didn’t flow as well as it could have. Dialogue tags were practically nonexistent. That’s bad. You don’t want excessive dialogue tags, but you also have to be able to tell who is talking. I found in quite a few areas that I didn’t know who was speaking, and I had to read backward to make sense of it. There are many different types of dialogue tags. There are plenty of different ways to practice using them, and it takes skill, but I couldn’t find it here, unfortunately. I found most of the scenes with conversation jarring, and there were A LOT of scenes with dialogue.

I was also annoyed and a little creeped out by Julianne constantly calling her father “Daddy.” She’s a grown woman. I’m not saying no one does this, but I do think in real life that the word is used sparingly. Most people use it when they are trying to be cute or sweet. It’s not something that’s generally used every day. It got annoying. And then some of the characters would call Julianne’s father “daddy” too. It was really…strange, and it made me uncomfortable. It’s totally a personal choice, I know that, but it needs to be noted. It bothered me. 

You will find a love triangle in this book. If that bothers you or you are tired of them, you probably won’t like this one. BUT…I did think it was remarkably well done. Both of the love interests are interesting characters. I can see women being fans of both of them. They have flaws, they feel like real people, and I really believed in Julianne’s confusion. I understand why she had a hard time making a choice. 

As far as the rest of the story goes, there are many plot details I would like to chat about, but I can’t without spoiling things. I had a few issues with the theme of abuse, and I didn’t particularly care for the way Isaac treated Julianne. There were things he did that angered me, but more than that, I was angered by Julianne’s reaction to the things he did. When a man grabs your arm and causes a lasting bruise, you don’t feel flattered or LIKE that kind of attention. But Julianne did and I kind of think that this sends the wrong message. Julianne was a messed up character herself, but I still didn’t care for that reaction.

As far as the way the book ended, I thought it was abrupt. I thought a few of the loose ends could have been tied up better. But I do agree with the way the author ended the story. She did the right thing and I think it was important and almost the ONLY way the book could end. It probably will disappoint a few readers, but what can you do?

I know it doesn’t seem like I liked this book much, but I did. I just had some issues. I could easily recommend this book to the right person. It’s definitely not a book for everyone. Music lovers, fans of young adult romance, teen angst, and a lot of drama will probably like this book. It really depends on what your reading preferences are. If you decide to read it, please feel free to stop by and tell me what you thought.

To purchase a copy of WANT from, click here: Want.

8 responses to “Book Review of WANT by Stephanie Lawton

  1. I can totally understand liking a book while having a few issues with it. I like that you read this really quickly, I love books like that.

    Having to re-read dialogue because I have no idea who is talking is one of my peeves too, and the Daddy thing is a bit odd! Great review, Kara!

  2. Amy

    Fantastic review Kara!! I don’t typically like love triangles much because to me they are over done, but if it’s done well and for a reason I don’t mind them. I am glad that you were able to enjoy this book even with the issues. This sounds like a book that I would enjoy.

  3. I’m with you on this one! I could not put this book down, but I couldn’t exactly tell you why. I was bothered by Isaac’s big, deep, dark past, I felt that it really wasn’t a big deal that would make everyone in the town *gasp* at the fact that Juli and him were working together *eyeroll* but none the less I enjoyed it. Great review Kara!

  4. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of this one yet. It really sounds like something I could enjoy–though the mention of the love triangle makes me cringe just a bit. I am a little tired of them, but I still give them a try because sometimes they’re done well enough that they don’t bother me. It just all depends. This was a fantastic review. The book sounds good. I’m going to put it on my to-read list and pick it up sometime in the near future. Also, that is one beautiful cover, I must say. 🙂


    • It is a beautiful cover. I think we are all sick of love triangles. Thing is, if they are done well I am willing to make an exception. This one was pretty decent and the characterizations were believable. Most of them aren’t.

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