With spring in the air, I have been really craving some good new contemporary romances in my life. I was browsing books on Libby (amazing app that allows you to hook into ebooks and audio books through your local library) and remembered I had not read Sally Thorne’s latest, so it was an obvious choice to fulfill my craving! Here’s what I thought. As always, this is spoiler-free. Hope you find it helpful.
I went into this book with high expectations because I loved The Hating Game so much. And you know what? This book was actually pretty good. I didn’t love it as much as THG, but I did really like it. The storyline was totally different, but the book was just as steamy and the plot kept me intrigued to the last. It’s definitely a winner, and if you like steamy contemporary romances with witty dialogue and very “real” characters, then this one is for you.
What I Loved:
The members of our OTP, Darcy and Tom, were absolutely wonderful. Darcy was a bit crazy–totally sarcastic and direct with such an ability to keep everyone at arm’s distance by saying exactly what is on her mind and by insisting on being absolutely independent and following her own path. She is not perfect, and when we meet her, she is on a bit of a self-destructive bent. But underneath that all is a vulnerable and capable person just waiting to grow her wings. I absolutely loved her and felt like I could relate to her in so many ways.
And Tom is just the sweetest cinnamon roll who buries his true emotions DEEP and puts up with so much (loving) abuse from Darcy and her twin brother Jamie. He is also physically described in ways that make me buzz. He just sounds beautiful and I love everything about him. When he kinda freaks out (no spoilers here), it is utterly believable because he has been holding it together through so much crap, it just seems like something had to give. I loved it at the same time as I hated it, if that makes sense.
I also loved most of the other characters, particularly Darcy’s bestie Truly and the now deceased grandmother whose house is central to the plot of the story.
What I Didn’t Love:
There were some things about the plot that were a little too “pat”–like the bit about Tom coming from a poor single-mother household and receiving the charity of his well-off neighbors (Darcy and Jamie and their parents) is a bit over the top and rubbed me the wrong way. Just felt kinda black and white and not totally realistic. But it worked for the plot, so I was able to accept it in order to keep on enjoying the rest of the book. Also, some parts of the book dragged a bit while others felt a little rushed, so the pacing wasn’t perfect. I feel this is more of an editorial issue (they should have helped Thorne fix this) and I could live with it, but I also think it could have been way better.
The other thing I really didn’t like was Jamie for most of the book. He is so aggressively possessive of his twin sister and treats her as inferior/fragile/incapable in ways that just really really bugged me. Perhaps that was Thorne’s point–to make a commentary that this way of treating people isn’t okay and look how poorly it actually works out. But it was just hard to read about since it grated on me so much. And then he had a bit of a 180 degree turnaround (again, I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers) that was a bit hard to believe.
The Bottom Line:
If you liked Thorne’s voice in The Hating Game, you should read this, but know going into it that it is a very different kind of stories and the characters are absolutely flawed. If that’s not your jam, you may not like it. But there is good dialogue, interesting characters, and a good romance.