Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.
Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.
It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.
This book and I had mad chemistry. I wasn’t particularly enchanted with the first book in this trilogy – I found it a too heavy-handed and it brought nothing new to the genre, but I’m so glad I gave this one a chance!
New Adult is a problematic genre, but I really admire the fact that Ann Aguirre stayed extremely far away from the misogynistic he-man types that permeate the genre – indeed, she deliberately goes against it.
“I don’t think that’s hot. Or funny.”
“Fucking a woman so hard it hurts her. The idea makes me sick, actually.”
And while new adult books tend to have their share of traumatic events and troubled childhoods – you know how it goes – it didn’t grate on my nerves.
The main characters were fantastic – Max has a bad-boy reputation, what with the tattoos, the motorbike and the rumours of promiscuity, but he’s a great housemate, a loyal friend, a hard worker, intelligent and never trash talks the women he sleeps with.
Courtney, on the other hand, recognises her privilege and makes plans to be self sufficient, which I think is really admirable. When the shit hits the fan, as it inevitable does, she recognises her mistakes, and takes steps to fix them, before trying to get Max back. She’s also no blushing virgin, and is quite comfortable taking the (figurative) reins in the relationship.
And, for the most part, their relationship is pretty healthy in that they (barring the one significant instance) communicate their pasts, desires and concerns to each other. They support and respect each other’s work and hobbies.
As far as representation goes, Courtney is bi, and it’s awesome to see her painstakingly smashing the tired-old stereotypes:
She claimed she was in danger of a stroke when I came out as bisexual. In fact, my dad argued with me on the subject; he said that wasn’t even a thing and that I probably just wasn’t ready to admit I was gay yet – not that he wanted me to.
“Yeah, it’s not because he died and I’ll never love another man, so therefore only women are left to me as romantic options.”
Finally, the novel is suffused with humour and rational human beings (again, a rarity in this NA stuff), which makes for a fabulous read.
“No meat?” I asked.
“Seems safer this way since we’re travelling tomorrow.”
I grinned. “Your forethought is both impressive and disturbing.”
“Really? I bare my heart and you eat it?”
I smacked my lips. “I was delicious, I regret nothing.”
“You’re an awful human being.”
“Yeah, I’m bad at this. But I’m great at sex, so that’s a win for you. All the orgasms, none of the embarrassing nicknames. Cuddle monkey. ”
Free copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.