I thought book one sounded cute and had a bit of an Emma-vibe to it so I was eager to try a new to me author and narrator. This prequel was noticed after the fact and so I decided to start at the very beginning. While the series is adult contemporary romance, this prequel is how it all began back in high school. It was a bittersweet piece that did its job of introduction and set up for what is to come. And oh yes, the Emma-vibe continued and was even referenced.
The story opens with high school junior, Brooke Pierce, transferring to a new school as a result of her parents’ separation. Brooke is torn up by her dad’s mid-life crisis and cheating with his bimbo receptionist and her mom is angry and bitter after years of what seemed like the perfect marriage. Brooke had been secure and now everything is up in the air which is why being flirted with by Luke sets her hackles up.
Luke is captivated by the new girl who is pretty and acts like an ice queen to him and nice to others. It becomes his goal to thaw her out and get her to like him. But when Luke is there for a vulnerable moment with Brooke after her dad stood her up and he gets her story, he changes gears, sets aside his attraction, and follows her silly rules ‘to just be friends’.
For both Brooke and Luke, the friend zone grows harder as time goes on. Brooke makes more rules and Luke struggles. Her fear of relationships after what happened with her parents drive her, but still her dream is to become a matchmaker. She will make the perfect matches for everyone else, but not for her.
Alright, I ended up enjoying this shorter story for the most part. It is not a complete story and functions as the set up for the longer book coming after it. While me heart was sad for Brooke’s situation, there was also a part of me that was impatient with her the way she was treating Luke. Granted, he was going along with it, but it’s frustrating to watch someone whistle away a good thing out of fear and denial.
I thought the high school setting, the situation with their families, and the surrounding characters were well done. The tension between Brooke and Luke was about right and they are both likeable characters.
The narrator, Tiffany Williams, was a great choice. I enjoyed her storytelling and her voices for all the characters. I’m glad that I have the next book of the series with her doing the narration.
I can easily recommend this prequel that can be read by teen or adult. Not sure about the whole series which may just be for adults, but this one is versatile that can’t really standalone without the rest.
Romance Roundabout #24 YA
Literary Pickers #24 microwave
New to Me #12 author/series
Austenesque TBR #4
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