Author: Beverley Kendall
Source: Won from Goodreads First Reads
Excerpt from Goodreads:
College freshman Olivia Montgomery is thrilled at the chance to start over, escape the rumors that plagued her in high school. And she can finally put her juvenile crush, Zachary Pearson, where he belongs–in her past. Then her unrequited love strolls into her French class, shattering Olivia’s newfound peace, and the feelings she’d thought buried for good come rushing back. Now she can’t shake her unwanted attraction to the one guy who can twist her stomach into knots with just a smile…but has never given her the time of day.
Zach’s good looks may have always gotten him his pick of girls, but it’s the star quarterback’s skill on the football field that gives him his pick of the Big Ten colleges. To escape the crushing demands of his win-at-all-costs father, Zach opts for a private university in upstate New York where…his present and past collide. And the one girl he’s always wanted but can’t have–and a class trip to Paris–turn out to be the ultimate game changer that has him breaking every one of his rules.
Recommended for readers +17 and up
New Adult – mature content (language & sex)
This is the first novel I’ve ever won from Goodreads First Reads and I was so excited to see that the author had signed it! It was also the first romance novel I’d ever read and I was a little wary in the beginning and unsure what to expect.
Disclaimer: This book does contain mature content including explicit language and sexual situations. Due to the content of the book, this review may not be appropriate for those under the age of 17.
Although I’ve included a disclaimer, I was still a little nervous about posting and writing this review. I’ll just remind myself that we’re all adults here, and carry on.
This book was amazing. I finished it in one sitting and could not believe how accurate it was. I thought Miss Kendall was able to portray both her characters so well that I was living vicariously through the text. Nothing about this novel seemed fictional to me and it could easily pass as a memoir, although not written in that style. It was an honest depiction of two college students trying to find their way through life and the constant struggles that arise in any relationship.
This novel had a bit of a Romeo and Juliet aesthetic to it, which I thought would end up cliché, but actually worked quite well. The descriptions, although very well done, were sometimes too repetitive. The scenes that had any sort of explicit or sexual content were handled in a way that could have easily been too vulgar, but were instead very tasteful. The language was appropriate for the characters and the setting and felt very natural.
I was admittedly worried about reading a romance novel after the fiasco and drama surrounding 50 Shades of Grey, but I was so pleasantly surprised by Kendall’s work. It was a beautiful romance about two people who were clearly meant to be together. She let their relationship marinate, instead of creating that insta-love that has been circulating around the young adult world. Both of the characters were genuine and endearing and had very noble qualities about them that readers can look up to.
The only thing I didn’t like as much about this novel was the fact that the main characters were the most beautiful girl in class and the hottest quarterback in school. I felt a little disconnect from them sometimes because of their wealth or beauty, but the life struggles and personal hardships where real and universal. I also think it was good that the characters were portrayed in that way because it showed that even the ‘perfect’ or ‘popular’ kids have real problems to deal with behind closed doors.
Even though I haven’t discussed it at length in my review, there is sex in this novel as well as many sexual scenarios and descriptive scenes. I would only recommend this novel to someone of the appropriate age who is comfortable reading about these situations. Although sex is at the forefront of the genre and theme of this novel, I still thought it was a good and insightful read.
I really enjoyed this book even though I had no idea what to expect. This book made me happy and hopeful and at times furious and sad. I’m so thankful that I won this novel and even happier, now that I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed it, that Miss Kendall signed my copy. I’ll definitely be checking out more of her books, since this was only the first in the series.
I’d like to reiterate that although the sexual nature of the novel is not vulgar, but tastefully done, that young readers should choose wisely before picking it up. I’m by no means trying to lecture anyone here, but I do believe that 17+ is the appropriate age limit for this novel.
It’s becoming clear to me that I’m a hopeless romantic (I think most avid readers are) and I’m excited to explore this genre more, beginning with Kendall’s next book.