Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: Ditched by Robin Mellom

Ditched by Robin Mellom
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 288
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.

Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together — stain by stain on her thrift-store dress — exactly how she ended up dateless.


I almost DNF-ed after the first chapter

The story starts out with Justina waking up in a ditch with no memory of what happened the night before. But she very quickly begins alluding to events from the previous night, so she sort of does remember. And then she does remember. Confusing? Yeah, I was confused, too.

To make it even more confusing, Justina's first person narration started out relating the events in a broken, cryptic, half-explained manner (frequently noting "but I'm getting ahead of myself" and then dropping that train of thought!) and I had NO CLUE what was going on.

I wanted to shake her and tell her to just spit it out already--COHERENTLY! I don't like feeling lost as to what is going on in a story, so the whole first chapter really bugged me. I almost DNF-ed right there.

Like a teen movie

But I WAS intrigued so I kept reading and I'm glad I did. Once Justina gets to the 7-11 and starts telling her story to the cashier, the story picks up and the narrative smooths out a lot. I wasn't confused anymore.

At this point I totally felt like I had been sucked into a teen romantic comedy movie. Even the narrative style (tone and execution) made me think "MOVIE SCRIPT." This is a good thing. I love those kinds of movies, and I loved this book version just as much.

It goes something like this

The book alternates between the present in the 7-11 and the events of the night before.

The 7-11 chapters are short and serve as little interludes where the 7-11 cashier and, later, one of the customers who stays to listen, chime in with their opinions and sympathy. I liked these sections and they made me feel like I was another random person who stopped to listen to Justina tell her crazy story.

I also liked how these chapters provided a frame for the plot to work within. Justina's story can be mapped by the stains on her dress, and each interlude nudged Justina toward explaining how she got every stain, rip, and bruise (and tattoo).

Between each of these interludes is a larger chapter chronicling a part of Justina's prom night. These parts were the meat of the story.

Since I knew Justina ends her night alone, dumped out of a car, and hating the guy she was supposed to be in love with, my curiosity was super high. I read these chapters with rapt attention, trying to piece together the events of her evening and guess how she ended up where she did. It was almost like a mystery, complete with clues, red herrings, and suspects. 

Feeling sorry for yourself? Read this book

I decided to pick up Ditched because I was in one of those two-ice-cream-tubs pity party moods. I put on my pajamas, curled up in bed, grabbed a chocolate bar and settled into Justina's tale. It was perfect. Perfect.

Ditched made me smile and laugh out loud. I commiserated with Justina and snacked on junk food right along with her. I groaned out loud as her night went from bad to unbelievably worse. I grinned with fluffy happiness when the most unexpected people came through for her. Ditched was exactly what I was looking for.

Bottom line

After the rocky start, Ditched held my interest completely. The story moved along at a good pace with pieces of the puzzle coming together in each chapter. Ditched is a standalone.

Ditched is Robin Mellom's first book and already I can't wait to see what she writes next. Definitely a good pick if you're looking for a fun romantic comedy. Only drawback is that the guy is absent from the story for a large chunk of the book, but, don't worry, Justina more than makes up for that.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Can you believe it?! A contemporary without a single paranormal element!

Do you have any questions about Ditched that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!

What books do you turn to when you're in a two-ice-cream-tub pity party kind of mood?

Looking for another book like this? 
You might like: 

Click on the covers to go to my reviews/Goodreads.


  1. "I decided to pick up Ditched because I was in one of those two-ice-cream-tubs pity party moods. I put on my pajamas, curled up in bed, grabbed a chocolate bar and settled into Justina's tale."

    I couldn't stop cracking up at this! I know exactly what you mean though. Most of the time, I find myself bawling to reruns (or if it's a really bad day, Youtube fan videos **cringe**) of my favorite shows. When I'm feeling particularly angsty, I choose something by Joss Whedon or Doctor Who or Torchwood. Nothing can make me cry like a baby like those shows! Lol. Occasionally I'll pick up a book, but I tend to find that TV provides a better distraction when I get that way.

  2. Ok. You've convinced me! I have this on Netgalley, but wasn't exactly sure how I'd feel about it & now I'm kinda excited!

    When I'm feeling really bad or sorry for myself, I read books I know will make me cry. That way, I can get the cry out, but don't feel *quite* as bad that I'm indulging in a little- Woe is me- moment ;)

  3. I agree about the beginning, I forgot to mention that.

    But yeah, I loved when she starts to tell her story to the cashier! it reminded me of Forrest Gump when he's sitting on the bench.


    Lovely review!

  4. I also barely read Contemporary Stories and always prefer Paranormal. However, there are some I really love and those are the ones I cherish then!

    I'm glad you kept reading - I know it is so easy to put a book down where you don't like the beginning. But sometimes it's good to give the book a chance!

  5. I don't read a lot of contemporary but I'm putting this one on my list for when I'm in a "two-ice-cream-tubs pity party mood" because I have plenty of those! You bust me up! Thanks for the fun review!

  6. I saw the book in another blog and i decided to skip it. Thanks for your review! I so want to read it now! I really don't know how to pick good books without magic or supernatural and i wanted one^^ I'm so buying it :D

  7. I was ready to dismiss this book as not for me when I read your almost-DNF part of the review - but by the end of it I was intrigued! I really want to know how her night ended up like that now, too. It seems like it might be worth a horrible start.

  8. Ditched definitely doesn't sound like a typical YA read. Does she end up alone?? In some ways it actually sounds a little The Hangover... using pieces of the mess of the night before to put the story together!

  9. OMG, it sounds like a perfect read for me. I like these kind of books too, they are so fun! :) & I love that cover! Woohoo, another book to add to the list.

  10. Glad to hear you kept at it after the first chapter, it sounds like it was worth it. But that first chapter definitely sounds confusing and almost like I would be ready to throw the book against a wall and yell at myself for picking it up. It's nice to hear that it does get better. Great review!


  11. OOOOHH I'm so excited about this one!! I'm hoping to get it from NetGalley (even though the book releases tomorrow) and if not I'll for sure be checking it out from my library. :) Great review!

  12. So I feel kind of evil because I requested this book from NetGalley and they denied me because "I didn't fit their criteria" which really didn't make any sense because I read their criteria and I fit every point. So, my bitterness controls me and I didn't really want to read it. LOL! Book denial bitterness? Jen has issues! It really does sound like an excellent book, but I'm going to wait only because I'm a nerd like that. :D But, your review did make me want to get over my bitterness a little faster and actually read it versus not reading it at all. PLUS!

  13. I've been going back and forth with this one. So many people seem to love it, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to check it out for myself.

    Your review, however, completely swayed me. :D

  14. This looks fab, can't wait to read it! Great review, thanks.

  15. I agree, this was such a fun read, perfect for a quiet night in! I really liked the way it was told and after the initial few pages I was totally into it!

    Great review!

  16. I'm the kind of person who likes reading dark, dank books when I'm in a depressed mood. But I also can't resist a sweet fun book at any time. On odd contradiction. It is nice to be cheered up. And I like that it reminded you of a movie script.

  17. I'll confess when it's a two tubs of ice cream (B&J Cinnamon Ice Cream with Oatmeal Cookies) I pick up New Moon. Nothing like sharing a little depression with someone. And who better than angst ridden Bella. Though I'd love to see it from Edward's side curled up in a ball, wasting away. I also put on my Sad playlist on my iPod. I won't even share what's on there.

    But, I'm glad you powered through that first awkward chapter and loved the story! I might borrow this one from the library when it comes out. Lucky you to get a Hyperion book!


  18. Goodness, it seems like we really are of one mind lately. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did, although I had fewer problems with the book than you did. Justina and Ian were just so cute together!

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  19. I liked Ian but I really loved the Stoner Mikes-they were so funny and sweet.

  20. You've piqued my interest with this review. I think I may still be able to get this one from NG. Maybe I'll give it a try. I still have to get my challenges in order! I wanted to do a contemporary one.

    As for comfort reads, I don't know if I really have one. When I'm having a pity party I usually can't stand still long enough so I just clean house.

  21. Natalie, :D I do the same thing! I love putting on Buffy reruns when I’m feeling off. Joss Whedon is the best and I always get emotionally engaged in his stuff. I also chick romantic comedies. Those are my other feel-good alternative. Or crying movies when I really need a good purge.

    Ashley, I hope you like it! Haha I do the same thing. A book based on Nicholas Sparks is a sure thing for me. I’ll be a sobbing mess, but it helps :)

    Alex, Yes, exactly like that!

    Danny, Me too! I am such a ruthless DNF-er, so a beginning really needs to grab me or I’m gone. I’m glad I stuck with this one though!

    Alyssa, Aw, thank you and you’re welcome! :D I think if you like movies like this, then you’ll like the book too. It was fun and sweet.

    Yiota, Haha yep, me too! If it doesn’t have magic or something supernatural going on I’m a little lost :P But Ditched was fun. I hope you like it!

    Belle, Watching the events of her night unfold was a lot of fun. It kept my flipped the pages. Definitely worth the bad start (and, really, it was only one chapter I didn’t like, and not even a very long one).

    Katie, Do you want me to answer that :) I haven’t seen The Hangover, but the way you describe it, yes, exactly!

    Nina, Great! I hope you love it then! The cover will seem even more perfect after you’ve read Justina’s story.

    Andrea, Definitely worth it, but, yes, that was exactly how I felt about the first chapter. It does get better though, a lot better, and really the first chapter isn’t even very long. I’m just a big baby :P

    Sierra, I hope you love it! Good luck with NetGalley, but I think Disney archives its books once they are published. So hurry! :)

    Jen, hahahaha ooh Jen, I would be the exact same way! I hate that “didn’t fit their criteria” message. Especially when I go check and I DO fit the criteria. Even worse when I fit their stinking criteria the last time that exact same publisher approved me and NOTHING has changed between now and then! :P Um, I think I’m getting a little ranty :P But, what I’m getting at is, I totally understand where you’re coming from. But read it, because it’s worth getting over the bitterness :)

    So Says the Whale, I hope you love it!

    YA Yeah Yeah, I had a lot of fun with it. I hope you like it!

    Kelsey, Me too! After those first few pages I couldn’t put it down!

    Alison, ooh I love the way you described those “dark, dank books” :) Ditched was exactly like a movie. I can practically hear the soundtrack and see the actors :P

    Heather, You’re telling me there is an ice cream out there that is cinnamon with oatmeal cookies?! Oh my gosh, I need that in my life :) Thank you! I can totally see why New Moon would be a perfect book to read when you’re feeling down. I hope you like Ditched if you get it from the library!

    Asher, Yes, we are :) Mostly I only had problems with that first chapter. Everything else was smooth sailing. I agree, they were very cute together!

    Bookworm1858, Yes! The Stoner Mikes were incredibly funny and sweet. I also really liked their girlfriends and how all of them came through again and again for Justina.

    Gina, This would be perfect for the contemporary challenge. Ah, I love that you clean. We are so matched. If my bad mood isn't leaving me huddled with comfort entertainment, I'm rapidly cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. :)

  22. Even the title sounds teen-movie-ish. If it's good, then I'm a sucker for it! Great review, and I'll definitely pick it up.

  23. Even the title sounds teen-movie-ish. If it's good, then I'm a sucker for it! Great review, and I'll definitely pick it up.

  24. I can't wait to read this! I love the premise, and the cover is so cute. Thanks for the great review! (:


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