“Elegantly Wasted” by C. Elizabeth Vescio, is an incredibly interesting book that took me completely by surprise. The title threw me off initially and I was afraid it was going to be some run-of-the-mill romance. However, it was the exact opposite and had me hooked within the first few paragraphs.
For the most part, “Elegantly Wasted” is about a girl who is struggling to fit in with her family and find her place in the world. We follow Frankie as she goes from teenage outcast to assassin. Along the way she learns more about her family and learns that she’s not as out of place as she thought.
One of the little quirks that I really enjoyed about this novel, is that there’s a quote at the beginning of each chapter. The quotes come from everywhere, sometimes from pop culture but also from places like the video games, there was a Portal quote in there that made me giggle. It shaded the story with personality and it gave you a nice hint of what the chapter was going to be about.
What really drew me into this book was that even though Frankie constantly denied her humanity and ability to empathize, she still cared about her family deeply and worked to keep them safe and out of the dark side of her life. I spent a good deal of time hovering between really enjoying the book and wondering about the ultimate outcome.
There wasn’t a whole lot of romance in this book, which actually made it more enjoyable for me. Many authors seem to think that a book with a female protagonist has to have romance. While there were some potential elements that could lead to romance in this book, it was never a focus. It really allowed me, as a reader, to enjoy Frankie’s struggles without having to decide if she was making smart romantic choices. Romance in a book can often distract from the characters and dilute the plot. It was, for me, one of the things that made this such a good read.
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend reading it. My only hope is that the author doesn’t try to push romance in this series and truly sticks to developing the relationships between the characters.