a review of kulti by mariana zapata

A Review of Kulti by Mariana Zapata: Poop and Big Girl Socks

📖 GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult
📃 Number of Pages570 pages
🪴 Average Goodreads Rating4.27 ⭐
🌻 My Rating2 ⭐

I was in a mood for a good, tastefully done age-gap romance Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas so I was really excited to read this one. Unfortunately, Kulti by Mariana Zapata was a disappointment (mind the spoilers).

The writing

Its obvious fault is the writing. I don’t want to be mean, but it’s terrible. There are pages and pages of internal monologue, vague descriptions, repetitive phrases (like The German/poop/Big Girl Socks/etc.), etc.

I started skimming after a while. The author insists on describing Kulti’s looks every time he appears on the page. There are sentences like “the six-foot-two-inch football star said”. What’s the point of that? His eyes are described every time he speaks as well, and each time the description gets worse. We get it, he has hazel eyes, please move on.

Then, Sal keeps referring to him as “The German” in her head which is really weird. Especially when there’s another character from Germany and she refers to him as “the other German”. It’s so cold and distant, not something you would call your friend, even in your own mind. It’s not just that, but she uses other terms for him instead of his actual name. What’s wrong with just calling him “Rey” or “Kulti”? (and I don’t mean the food names, those are kind of funny sometimes)

Then there’s the “poop” thing. Basically, she has to imagine him pooping every time she starts fangirling internally. It was funny the first time. But then it kept happening halfway through the book, even when they became friends, and it’s super weird. There are thousands of random “poop” words in random paragraphs. Same with her “pulling up her Big Girl Socks”. It got really annoying (honestly, I got a headache from all the eye rolls).

The plot, romance, and more

Now, about the story itself. The premise is actually not bad. A football player meets her childhood hero, being initially disillusioned by his behavior and learning to love who he really is. Interesting, right?

But I never got the impression that she got over her fangirl obsession. Seriously, even after they become friends and start a relationship, she keeps thinking things like “omg, the great Reiner Kulti is mowing my dad’s lawn” or “omg, this star football player is actually kissing me”. It’s just weird and creepy. While he falls for her, she’s stuck in her teenage dream. It’s not cute or romantic.

While we’re at it, this wasn’t that romantic at all. Sure, there are a few scenes where you can feel the chemistry, but the rest is just meh. For example, the way he reveals his feelings sucks. One, his speech is lame. Two, she starts having a panic attack for some unknown reason.

And then they have this strange kissing scene that just… doesn’t make sense physically. It’s just weird. We have another scene where they just sit on the couch and he tells her how he feels. And she doesn’t say anything remotely romantic to him. I mean this is a thing in most MZ books — the hero has a big speech and the heroine barely says that she loves the guy. Why is that?

Despite the slow pacing, I never felt like their relationship actually developed. They never got to a point where a romantic thing made sense, at least in my book. Plus, the smut was just awful.

Then we have a thousand subplots that never get resolved. Her relationship with her sister, the thing about her grandfather, the thing with Amber, the thing with those guys at softball, and much, much more.

There’s so much slut-shaming in this one (fair warning). Sal keeps referring to other women as whores, sluts, hookers, etc. for various reasons. Then she’s all sad when another girl calls her a whore for sleeping with her husband. It’s still uncalled for, but she makes such a huge deal about it and then continues calling other girls those names. Makes no sense. She’s also slut-shaming everyone who had more than one partner in general. What’s with books and abstinence/virginity/celibacy? Stupid.

The only thing I genuinely liked about this book is her father. His personality and love of football reminded me of my grandfather and it just warmed my heart to read his scenes.

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