Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
I am not gonna lie. I am NOT a fan of NA. I have tried to like this sub genre, I really have, but then every single book i've tried has tread a very narrow line of plot/character tropes that 'NA' has almost become an SNL-like a parody of itself in my mind.
But this book was getting such good word of mouth that I thought I'd give the genre the old college try again.
Immediately, I hated it. On the very first page the heroine tells us she was raped. Yep, trope #1 step right up.
Kinda shy, kinda socially awkward heroine? Trope #2 step right up.
Popular, hot, sexy hero? Trope #3 step right up.
And there were some other things. There was an almost trying-to-hard feel about the story telling. And they go to a school that doesn't exist -- no I don't mean that it is just a fictional school, I mean this University could not actually exist in any reality given some of the things the characters let drop about the programs, extra-curricular, college policies etc. It is a Division I, Ivy league Utopia Prep-Schooliversity.
But then by something happens. The hero Garrett happens.
He is the MVP of this book. He is tortured with parental angst galore (Trope # 4...) but you know what? He is funny as hell, charming and a really rather righteous. I also like that at first he treats the heroine like she is a bro-dude , almost. I loved his nickname for her (and that he is prone to nick-naming people).
While Hannah was a little too earnest for my taste, when she enters Garrett's sphere, some of his funny charm rubs off on her and she immediately becomes much more enjoyable too.
And then there is the dialogue. The banter between Garrett & Hannah simply sparkles. And minus one or two times when they both sometimes sound much older than their ages, for the most part it sounds age/venue appropriate so you feel like you are listening to college students.
I also liked the trajectory of their relationship. They didn't do stupid things. They talked, they didn't let things spiral out of control. They made sense. Yeah there was the cringe factor of the Magic Penis of Healing (Trope #5), but by then I couldn't be mad at them. I liked them too much.
And finally, this book has something a lot of NAs that I've read don't seem to have: humor. Also the feeling that even under some of the more angsty bits the main characters and their friends are actually enjoying their college experience.