Confess by Colleen Hoover Review: Artwork & Confessions

March 23, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Confess by Colleen Hoover Review: Artwork & ConfessionsConfess by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books, Simon and Schuster Australia on March 10, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: New Adult, Romance
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Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

I know, I know. How could I be disappointed with a Colleen Hoover novel? Why is it only 3 stars?

Aside from the fascinating twist of a romance developing over confessions and artwork, I had trouble getting into Confess. From the start, I just did not get along with Auburn and Owen with their first meeting based on dodgy feelings.

Let me explain. Auburn is desperate for a job, and she walks straight into a stranger’s apartment after seeing a job ad and meeting him for the first time. After they go out for a drink, she invites him into her home. Safety and preservation doesn’t even occur to her and her naivety was her defining character trait.

Luckily, Owen brings up as a joke, that he won’t rape, murder or torture her. Isn’t that creepy? Auburn just laughed it off, but when you think about it, she doesn’t really know this guy. Perhaps it’s my fault coming out of reading You from a stalker’s point of view, but Owen also had these obsessive thoughts over Auburn when they first met, like it wasn’t the first time he’s met her. So you can see, we started off on the wrong foot, but I’m glad these feelings subsided.

Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.’

Confess only spans about 4 weeks or so, and after their first and second meeting, Auburn and Owen have already formed a deep emotional connection with each other. This is different to insta-love, they were clearly attracted to each other at first, and the love came later. But when Owen stands up on his second date with Auburn and she pines over him, and he does the same, my eyebrows were raised at this point. I felt like Owen’s “I’ve known her for ages” sort of thing was a convenient way in forming this attachment early, and I was just left out in the cold.

Now they do have chemistry, don’t get me wrong. But attraction, chemistry and lust? Sure. A deep emotional attachment? Especially for Auburn, what are you thinking! You met this guy once and you hit it off. I just wasn’t a fan of Auburn’s naivety, her irresponsibility and her lack of safety.

“…People leave their confessions in the slot over there, and I use some of them as inspiration for my art.” – Owen 

The romantic barrier in Confess is the family drama, with teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and addiction at the forefront. These aspects were wrapped into the novel really well, especially when it involves child custody and a complex relationship with the legal guardian. Annoyingly enough, this again is used as a plot device for Auburn to be manipulated by the biggest asshole in existence – her brother in law Trey. Come on, even I knew he was trouble from the start!

When you add a baddy into the mix, of course the other guy is going to be a white knight. And Owen, typical tortured artist with a troubled past, just can’t do any wrong. He’s got some interesting secrets, I’ll tell you that, but something about him felt just too flawless. You just couldn’t fault the wonderful Owen.

Aside from Hoover’s incredible writing, I love how her recent books have transcended her artform of words. Confess contains stunning artwork based on real life confessions. It was intriguing how these were submitted by real people, and if that’s anyone reading my review, I admire you for your bravery and strength and I hope you found some absolution from it.


Although Confess had an interesting angle focused around confessions and artwork, the rest of the story featured too many romantic tropes and a relationship that developed too quickly for my liking. It reminded me of a combination of Ten Tiny Breaths with a car accident as the turning point for the characters, You with Owen’s point of view upon first meeting Auburn, and 50 Shades of Grey with Auburn’s naivety and possessive controlling love interest (which is where the second guy comes in).

The characters felt very black and white and Auburn’s naivety rubbed me the wrong way. I love Colleen Hoover but unfortunately Confess is her first book that I’ve rated less than 4.5 stars.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (*sniffles*) 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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38 responses to “Confess by Colleen Hoover Review: Artwork & Confessions

  1. I had the same problems as you did with Confess, Jeann. I just didn't feel neither Auburn nor Owen, and really, would it have been so difficult for the readers to have learned Owen's big secret(s) just so it was easier to understand him?
    I still gave it 4 stars, though, because I loved the art-work and the confessions, CoHo is so original with incorporating other artforms into her stories 🙂
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  2. I'll be honest. I see this book and it just looks so pretty, never mind the plot LOL Hoover and I don't have the best track record, she just doesn't do it for me. BUT the premise to this one does sound good, I guess? I mean, the artwork is pulling me in just a bit more! I'm not feeling this rushed relationship so eh. Side note: I may give Ugly Love a go soon, with that movie in the works and whatnot. Lovely review, Jeann!
    My recent post Living In the Age of Sloths

  3. lornak99

    I just read my first book by her recently-Maybe Someday, and loved it. From your review though, I think I would have problems with this one as well. Think I will pass.. Thanks for a thorough and thoughtful review 🙂

  4. I'm definitely pushing this one to the backburner for quite a while now. I've seen so many reviews now with the same issues and I was hoping this would be her redemption. Nope. I loved her Slammed series and Hopeless, but I see them more as mature YA than NA, and I've found that's where the difference in her work lies, for me at least. Her last few releases have been becoming more and more pedestrian NA and I'm tempted just to skip this altogether. Fabulous review Jeann, sorry this one didn't work for you, but hopefully your next read it much, much better <3
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  5. Aaaww maann. I hate naive characters. :'( But but, I love Colleen Hoover so so much! I like Ten Tiny Breaths and kinda liked 50 Shades so I'll have to see if Confess is up my alley or not.

  6. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I keep reading reviews where people were disappointed by his one. I don't know if I even want to read it now. I think I need to pick up Maybe Someday or Ugly Love first. Great review, Jeann.

    • Such a shame, I've only read a few reviews of raves so maybe the rest are coming. I loved maybe Someday, Ugly Love as well! Thanks Marianne.

  7. danielleisbusyreading

    I really like the idea of artwork and confessions, and the music CoHo incorporated into Maybe Someday sounds great too… really neat ideas for NA. But.. I just can't read her books anymore. They're just not for me. :/ I feel like she has definitely taken a different turn, and her romances are more dark, twisty in a way I don't like :/

    Sorry this one didn't completely work for you!

  8. This is one of the best and most informative reviews I have read on this book. And I have to admit that I am glad I decided not to read this one, your review just proves that I would not enjoy it… Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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  9. I think you're my long lost twin with your reviews.. I thought I was the only who didn't like this novel that much, the concept was brilliant but it wasn't executed that well which makes me want to cry 🙁 I agree about the insta love and the dumb heroine.. I don't know what she was thinking inviting him for COFFEE at night! STUPID GIRL. I love CoHo but this was a disappointment. It could have been her best yet though – Have you read her book Ugly Love? Nailed it with your review Jeann <3
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    • You know what, you're totally right Benish! I haven't found my twin yet, but it looks like we've thought the same about quite a few books lately! My book twin <3 Yeah….I mean I guess I put myself in her shoes, and thought I wouldn't do that either. I did love Ugly Love actually! What did you think of it?

  10. Zoe

    Aww…it's always disappointing when one of your favorite authors writes something that you don't entirely love. 🙁 Nonetheless Jeann, thank you for still sharing this honest review despite your disappointment. I can definitely see where you're coming from – naivety in a character is one thing, but having her be too naive makes it a bit unrealistic and annoying after a while. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
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  11. lol – Yeah, after reading You, I can see why you'd feel that way. I didn't get that vibe though, and knowing this isn't that kind of book didn't put me on the defense or question her judgement. And Trey … belch. I can totally understand her predicament as a mom, though. Glad you still liked it, even if it isn't as much as the others.
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    • I know, I guess I couldn't really relate to the decisions she made! I know I would be suspicious, that's for sure. Thanks Christy!

  12. This one didn't work for me either, sadly, and I've loved everything I've read from her otherwise. The romance definitely was too quick and didn't hook me like in Maybe Someday. It had a lot of potential, especially with the artwork that was probably the best aspect of it!
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    • I know, I kind of wish there was more artwork and confessions, definitely the best part! Thanks for visiting, Alysia!

  13. I didn't love this one as much as her other books too, but her writing was still top notch. I struggled with how fast the romance developed too and if it were a little bit slower I would have liked it better, I think.
    I did like the confessions though! They were really interesting.
    Lovely review, Jeann!
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    • I know, I could read her grocery list and be happy I think! Yeah, the romance kind of developed a bit fast over the period of time that they were together. Thanks Nick!

  14. Oh man, Trey was such a dick. I feel like he was almost too cliched for a contemp romance. Also the mother, my god, such a terrible person.
    I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than you did, mostly because of the banter haha. I dunno, great banter can sometimes make me dismiss a lot of the flaws in a romance XD
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    • I know right, he really was just one-dimensional cliche, but then again, I felt like Owen was too! Hehe, her writing was exceptional as usual.