This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Intermix
Released on January 21, 2014
So many people have recommended this series to me so that when I had the opportunity to read the latest book; I took the chance. I’m still a rookie to the New Adult genre and I do cringe at the amount of introspection and angst that goes into this age level of books, but all things considered I found this book an enjoyable reading experience.
After a long forgettable night of drinking and partying, Robin wakes up in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. She remembers nothing about how she hooked up with him and what happened afterward, but its enough to guilt her into changing her lifestyle and dreading the return of her friends over the whole long summer they’re away from college. When Kylie and the others find out what she has done, she just knows they’ll find her disgusting and a skank- like she does. Robin wants to stay away from her friends, but can’t think of a way to do it without admitting why so she goes over to Tyler, Riley and Jessica’s house and that’s when she meets Tyler and Riley’s cousin, Phoenix.
Phoenix just got out of prison with five dollars to his name, borrowed clothes from his cousins and their couch to sleep on. His druggie mother never once visited him and she skipped out leaving him with no way to find his personal items. Life could be at a low, but he focuses on the fragile pretty girl who seems to have some inner pain and he just wants to protect her from what has her hurting. It amazes him that Robin isn’t intimidated by his tattoos, his intimidating looks and the knowledge that he was in prison.
Phoenix and Robin begin a friendship and then a relationship under the disapproving eyes of his family and her friends, but they don’t care because they are happy. Underlying the happiness is the guilt that Robin carries around and the fear of discovery along with Phoenix’s feelings of inadequacy and his anger issues. The truth finally wiggles out and it’s a big hot mess.
The plot, pacing, character development and the romance really worked on this one. I think what really stood out for me was that I was pleasantly surprised when the relationship took its time. Okay, it took its time by fictional romance standards. They didn’t just fall into bed and it was a while before the ‘L’ word was tossed around.
Another thing I really liked was the friendship and family stuff that were part of the storyline. The romance was not in isolation.
I liked that the characters’ actions had real consequences. Phoenix served time for his anger issues and Robin’s friends didn’t immediate forgive her part in Kylie’s boyfriend cheating on her.
I think most of all that I just loved it when these two came together as a couple. I loved seeing Phoenix finding happiness for the first time and Robin feeling worthy and noticed.
I confess that I never really got Robin’s thing in the beginning about needing to drink and party because she wanted to be someone different. I felt a little sorry for her, but next to what Phoenix grew up with it just seemed sort of shallow and weak as a reason to turn into a slutty drunk. Her issues were beyond me, but she did learn and grow and she accepted Phoenix which was a wonderful thing.
All in all, this was a satisfying read and I look forward to reading more from this author. Those who enjoy New Adult Contemporary Romance should put this book and the whole series on their lists.
My thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.