Honestly, I feel like Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash had a pretty interesting premise and a fantastic start. Overall, I was really enjoying the read as I began. After a little while, though, I began to slowly lose interest until I realized that I didn’t actually care about any of the characters in the story. Virtually Yours follows Mariam Vakilian, a Freshman at NYU as she navigates the world after her breakup with long-time High School boyfriend, Caleb. In an attempt to move past her first love, Miriam decides to give virtual dating a try since all of the college students were given a coupon for the dating service at the start of the year anyway. Amazingly, much to both her surprise and perhaps targeting her lack of self-control in this case, Miriam soon finds out that one of her top three matches is none other than her ex-boyfriend. So, as any heartbroken girl might feel tempted to do, Miriam decides to try and convince her ex that they belong together by secretly dating him under a pseudonym and with a virtual reality avatar. Meanwhile, her number one match actually happens to be the guy she works with at the gym.
I really liked the idea for this story to begin with. It was cute, it was futuristic, and while I did feel certain I knew how the book would end (I was right) I was excited to give it a try. And to give credit where credit is due, Virtually Yours was off to a great start. I was intrigued, I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and I really felt like this was a story I could see happening in the future. I even recall commenting on how much I loved it at the beginning. And, wonderfully, the book was culturally diverse, which I appreciated. I think it was just an excitement over the premise and the belief that the story would just keep getting better. Unfortunately, Virtually Yours fizzled out about halfway through the novel and it had everything to do with the fact that none of the characters really seemed to have any chemistry with each other.
I just couldn’t keep myself interested when I felt that there was very little reason, barring the fact that they had somehow held a relationship for two years, for Miriam to love the love interests and for them to love her. I didn’t like the relationship with Caleb as there was nothing about the pair that made me feel they worked as a couple. I didn’t like the relationship with Jeremy at all, largely because it often felt like the only thing Miriam and Jeremy talked about was her relationship with Caleb. I don’t know how we’re expected, as readers, to think that these two characters have gotten to know each other well enough when 99% of the subjects they talk about are Miriam’s cat-fishing of her ex-boyfriend. It pretty much ruined it for me. There was no slow get to know you period, there were no moments where I felt that Miriam had genuine feelings for him and so all of the tension that was supposed to exist as a result of having feelings for him were present within the novel at all.
I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the supporting characters, either, as they all felt very flat, almost caricatures of their personality traits. It was unfortunate, but I genuinely didn’t feel like I got to know any of them well at all and several felt like there were solely there for plot purposes. And I hate when characters only exist to serve a plot purpose. And I think this book basically just fell really flat when it came to getting to know its characters and actually having its readers care about these characters. It’s a real shame, I think, since I do genuinely believe that this book got off to an amazing start. After a while, unfortunately, reading Virtually Yours simply felt more like a chore than anything else.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.