The plot is quite simple: Caroline Reynolds moves into a new apartment, and every night her next-door neighbor, Simon, has loud sex with a different woman (hence the wallbanger part). Tired and orgasm-less for months, she confronts him, and hilarity ensues. There’s also a cat, a bunch of minor romances between her friends and his friends, and a very slow-building romance that surprisingly takes the time to establish a strong friendship first.
As I said, Wallbanger is highly entertaining and readable, which is its biggest, and probably only, selling point. The cover and blurb make it sound like a story filled with sex, but it’s the opposite. The scenes where she hears him have sex are written in a way meant to be comedic instead of erotic, and Simon and Caroline don’t get together until more than halfway through the book.
There are some serendipitous circumstances that force our main characters together, but I liked that they take the time to get to know each other first. She doesn't want to be another notch on his bedpost, and even though they flirt and the chemistry is there, all that energy goes into their friendship instead of the bedroom. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this. The relationship that develops between Caroline and Simon makes the romance believable, and the happy ending one I’m willing to bet on.
But as much as I liked the romance, the book is plagued with flaws that lessened my enjoyment, and that would have been easily fixed with the help of a good editor. Some parts are embarrassingly awful, and the book in general could be described as grating. The tone is light and fun, sometimes achieving great comedy, sometimes crossing the line into the ridiculous. As much as I liked how slowly the romance develops, it makes no sense that two people who clearly enjoy sex would be so careful to become lovers. The characterization is inconsistent, especially Simon’s, who goes from secure playboy to insecure boy. Most of the story is told from Caroline’s POV, but there’s a scene told from multiple character’s POVs that just didn't fit the book. And then the last scene is told from the cat’s POV. The cat's! Had that scene been in the middle instead of the end, the book would have been an instant wallbanger for sure. So as much as I enjoyed the first half, I found myself skimming through most of the filler scenes. I think an editor would have been able to cut the over the top, unnecessary parts, of which there were many.
Ms. Clayton has a lot of talent, and I think she should stop writing fan fiction, come up with characters inspired by her own imagination, and get a good editor. She has a lot of potential and raw talent, and with some help she could shape it into an outstanding book, something Wallbanger is not.
I would recommend it with some hesitation and a reminder that enjoyable doesn't always equal good. It’s deeply flawed but highly entertaining, and if you’re looking for a light, fun story, this is exactly it. Obviously if you have issues with pulled-to-publish fan fiction, you should avoid it, but otherwise I liked it.
Review by Brie
Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.
Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and--was that a meow?--punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.
Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick...
Omnific Publishing. November 25, 2012.