Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on October 9, 2012
I have had this book on my shelf for a while. It was one that I just had to read after reading many readers’ thoughts on it, but then I was distracted and I didn’t pick it up right away. My loss! This story lived up to all expectations. It did a fabulous job of making me feel I was part of the story, the characters and their emotions.
Everything felt authentic and real. This is important because the author tackled a difficult subject or more like set of similar subjects: rape, attempted rape, violent death, murder-suicide and dealing with the after. I would definitely caution those with sensitivities here. The author includes resources near the back that are good for those who have a past of this, but also for those of us who might be the friend of someone going through this.
Now that I’ve gotten over the heavy ground, here’s a bit about the story. The story opens when Jacqueline leaves a frat party early because she’s just not feeling it. Her recent break up from a three-year long relationship, watching her roomie having a good time with her boyfriend and also having to watch her ex have a good time. It’s too much, but then a drunk frat guy traps her at her truck and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Bad went to worse and the ‘worse’ was going to happen until an unexpected savior comes to her rescue.
Jacqueline is so worked up that she never learns the name of the guy until she realizes that he’s in her Econ class and the way he settles slouched in his chair with wild hair and faded clothes sketching and doodling gives her the impression that he’s just slacking. She has no idea what to do around him since she just wants to forget that awful moment he witnessed never happened. She settles into a new seat since her old one was next to her ex and tries to stay distracted as she plans how to speak to the prof about changing seats, making up the two weeks she missed dealing with the break-up and ignoring both her ex and the guy who rescued her.
Fortunately, the Professor sympathizes and gives her a second chance. He sets her a new project and insists she meet with the tutor to get back on track. Jacqueline is a music major with responsibilities outside of class to her teaching younger kids her instrument and practice in the school orchestra so she ends up carrying on an email relationship with the tutor.
After a bit of time and baby steps on her part, she starts to feel connected to both Lucas, the guy who rescued her and stirs her with his enigmatic smiles and seeming interest and Landon, the tutor she only connects with by email. Suddenly dealing with her ex doesn’t seem so painful and she starts to rejoin life again, but naturally that’s when she’s blindside by more trouble.
The storyline is about a girl who had it all, but then discovers that what she had wasn’t real while at the same time she has to deal with being attacked. It’s not a dark morose story for all that, but it’s not light and fluffy either. Jacqueline’s story is told first person entirely from her point of view. I was delighted with how the author managed to portray a college sophomore girl accurately, portray the conflict of the story with enough angst to be believable, but she never tipped the balance over into too much of Jacqueline getting lost in her own head or going drama llama. She is young and just coming into her own, she makes some mistakes, but yet she grew from it all. I was so impressed with her character.
With the way it was all told through Jacqueline’s eyes, the other characters are introduced and move through the story the way she sees them. Her friends Erin and Maggie and even her Ex, Kennedy, were all easy to read, but I loved how this perspective left Landon and Lucas mysterious and shadowy and that I got to know them and watched the relationships build at the same time as Jacqueline. Again, the author showed her strength with the first person perspective and getting me as the reader to engage with her characters.
The end was a tad rushed when it came to the future, but not before the main threads of the current story were wrapped up satisfyingly and left things in a believable place instead of the neatly tied up fairytale ending.
All in all, loved it and it left me with a feeling that the bar has been raised for all my future New Adult Contemporary Romance reading.