The Wrong Side of Kai is the first book from Estelle Maskame that I’ve read despite hearing a lot about her. Admittedly I’ve purposely steered clear from her books because they all seem like they’d be fluff and not really my thing.
I’m also aware of how young she is – when The Wrong Side of Kai was published she had 6 books out and was 22 years old. Because of this I doubt how much life experience she can have that would enable her to write anything of any real depth. That’s not meant to be a read, or a personal attack – far from it. After doing some research I’ve found that she writes light-hearted YA contemporary books – A.K.A what I call fluff, and there isn’t any depth to them. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT if that’s your thing, or if you want a bit of fluff to cleanse your palette and/or want/need a quick and easy read.
So after looking into her past works before starting The Wrong Side of Kai I felt like her writing would be full of the typical YA tropes for this genre, and it is. Which is FINE but it’s just not MY personal favourite thing in the world to read. But what made me want to pick up The Wrong Side of Kai is the story of revenge and girl who was sexually active as a teenager – because that’s relatable to my own teenage past – and I wanted to see how it was handled.
So the story of The Wrong Side of Kai follows high school kid Vanessa, and she doesn’t do the whole relationship thing, she prefers to just have some casual fun. When her most recent casual encounter ends badly, she discovers that intimate moments of her and her latest conquest were recorded and have since been spread around the school. She’s naturally distraught and wants revenge but doesn’t know what to do until Kai, the new boy in school, – who also happens to be, like, totally hot, becomes friends with her because he is, coincidentally and conveniently, also out for revenge. The Wrong Side of Kai is ultimately a fluff romance centred around Vanessa and Kai and their mutual need for revenge on their douchebag classmate.
So, as you can tell from my little synopsis, The Wrong Side of Kai covers many topics like cyber bullying and revenge porn which are sometimes hard to read about – but it’s important. But because this is fluff, hard-hitting topics are never really explored in any depth.
But The Wrong Side of Kai is quite fun. The pacing is, for the most part, good – although it gets a bit awkward towards the end and I do feel like Vanessa repeated herself a lot. But overall it is fun fluff full of characters that are easy to read about, especially the side characters who were all likable. It was also nice to see a happy and pretty healthy friendship in a YA Contemporary and this came in the form of Vanessa and Chyna.
So, so obviously I didn’t think The Wrong Side of Kai was perfect, so here’s what I didn’t like about it regardless of it not being my typical genre:
The parent (alive or dead) storyline was quite vague and was pretty much used as a convienent plot device when it was needed, and then kinds just faded into the background. If it had been fleshed out more then Vanessa’s pain would have been a bit more understandable.
The pettiness of the characters was real! There were times when the sob-story parent storyline (and yes, I’m calling it that because it wasn’t fleshed out and fully realised) could have helped excuse Vanessa’s pettiness at times, but it just couldn’t. Some of the revenge and motivations were just…so…petty high school. And I know, duh. It’s set in high school with teenagers and they don’t have the greatest impulse control over their emotions and actions (I still don’t, but I find that fun) but jeez.
And here are the issues I have with the tropes that are in this book (I know, I know – this book isn’t for me and isn’t my thing so I should just chill out. But it’s my review and I don’t like these tropes – ever.
The insta-love is on steroids here. Seriously…6 days?! 6 DAYS?! I can’t even.
Also, there was the oh-so-cringe-inducing ‘guy says something that comes out wrong/not how he intended and girl storms off and is dramatically upset for a while’. *eyeroll*
But again, these are tropes that I don’t enjoy, but others do.
All in all The Wrong Side of Kai is a cute bit of fluff that mentions heavy topics, but doesn’t delve deep into them/their impacts/their repercussions – because it’s fluff. And that’s ok – it’s not supposed to be super intense or serious.
I definitely recommend if you’re looking for something super quick to read, you like fluff or you need a cleanser.
To be honest, you’ll likely see it on Netflix soon because it seems like it’s screaming out for a Netflix adaptation. So let’s see if my prediction comes true…
Vanessa Murphy doesn’t do relationships.
With a father who doesn’t notice her, it’s easy for her to sneak around with her latest fling, Harrison Boyd. But when an explicit video of Vanessa hooking up with Harrison is leaked the morning after she ends things with him, her life is thrown into chaos.
And Vanessa wants payback. Enter Kai. With his own vendetta against Harrison, Kai proposes revenge, and the two pair up to ruin Harrison Boyd’s life. At first, they are nothing more than an illicit partnership. Teammates working towards the same mission.
But – between late-night stakeouts and crime committing – Vanessa is drawn into Kai’s life. And, as the two grow closer, she finds herself letting Kai into hers.
Do you want to find out what’s on The Wrong Side of Kai? You can do that here with FREE worldwide delivery!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review. I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions are honest and my own.
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