mini-review · stuff I read · YA all the way

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

S30046340ummary from Goodreads:
Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle’s plans for the future were all figured out… until she failed senior English and her single college acceptance was rescinded. Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass English and get back into Ohio State—and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden boy next door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.

The Big F is a really sweet, real contemporary YA romance that isn’t just about the romance (there’s a love-shape, y’all, but it’s not bad) but about learning to take responsibility for yourself. It’s about realizing that people change. It was really nice to read a teen romance where no one was a d-bag or an alpha-hole. I loved Danielle’s best friend Zoe, she’s a hoot. (Could have done without the romance genre bashing, tho.)

Read for the September Teen Book Group at my store – plus we had a signing for Maggie earlier in the month.

Genre disgression: Books like The Big F, Fangirl, and When Dimple Met Rishi hang out in this really unfortunate space where they’re tagged as YA/teen but really push farther out into the adult world because the characters are eighteen-ish or early college-aged. This is where I feel “New Adult,” as a descriptor, got hijacked early on as a tag that’s short for “here’s your romance with extra sex and maybe kink but not real erotica contemporary” when it really could have been used to signal romances or other genre fiction in either the adult or teen markets with characters that are newly out in the adult world and working out a things that happen to people learning to handle themselves. But the cat’s out of the bag and we’ll never get it back. (I’ve tagged this as “New Adult” because I’m a rebel.)

Dear FTC: I bought a copy of Maggie’s book.

Reading Diversely · Romantic Reads · stuff I read

Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Jennifer Brown

34857442Summary from Goodreads:
I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend.

Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great.

When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night.

I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny.

I guess the only thing we can do is try…

Friend (With Benefits) Zone came across my radar on it’s release day (so I couldn’t get it read last week) but because it was an Avon Impulse, the ebook isn’t very much to buy right away.  So I did.

Because I jumped at the opportunity to read an #ownvoices book – this one a romance specifically about a Deaf/Hard of Hearing couple written by a Hard of Hearing author. (I believe it’s loosely connected to a previous book, Signs of Attraction, so my “must read series in order” senses are prickly.)

It’s a pretty good read. I liked the story and characters. Jas and Dev are such great characters together, with a really classic friends-to-lovers plot.  I would also characterize this as a “new adult” contemporary romance, since they are both maybe around 21/last year of college age, because not all new adult is erotica, harrumph. The secondary characters are wonderful, particularly Dev’s brother Blake and his boyfriend (who have a little B-plot), and Dev’s and Jas’s friends Nikki and Pete (who have a little C-plot!), and created a very “real” world for the main couple to inhabit. What pulled the story down, for me, was 1) alternating 1st person POV which I loathe unreservedly in almost any type of book and 2) approximately 100 pages was Jas being completely obnoxious about pushing Dev away/refusing help from anyone (because she does get dealt some really shitty crap in the beginning of this book) which was about 50 pages too many, in my opinion. But the resolution was great, and the sexy-times were appropriately sexy and occasionally hilarious (because sometimes it is).

I’ll definitely be checking out Laura Brown’s previous book.

Dear FTC: I bought my copy of this book.