Published by: Berkley Romance on June 3, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.
Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.
Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Sweet is kind of different than its predecessor, True, and a bit different from the general batch of NA titles out there today. That both worked for it and against it a bit. The con would be that the pacing was a bit slow and there wasn’t much in the way of “revelations” and such with the two main characters, at least, in my opinion. As much as I enjoyed the progression of Riley and Jessica’s relationship, the characters themselves had very little going for them. This was definitely more about Jessica, with a little problem revolving around Riley added in for “affect”. The pro would be, if you’re looking for something a bit different, despite the slow pace, you’ll enjoy this nonetheless.
Jessica is a strong, capable girl who is trying to break free from the tight mold that her parents have created for her. It’s a typical scenario where the protagonist is trying to find the courage a determination to stand up for herself and go after what she wants in life. I kind of wanted more of that plot line though, as I felt the book focused more on her interactions with Riley, her helping him out with his little, albeit important, problem. We don’t get much, or rather any, interaction with Jessica and her parents until the very end, which a “resolution” that felt a bit rushed and “too easy”, if you know what I mean. And with Riley, the buildup was very subtle and gradual, a bit too slow for my taste, really. I definitely loved their banter and there were quite a few moments where I cracked up and reveled in their fun, but otherwise, I felt the story as a whole was a bit lackluster.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re going to go the “break free from parents” route, then have more interactions with the parents so we get a better feel of their relationship. I like a story where I get both sides of the picture, if that makes any sense. And, if you’re going to go the “two unlikely people falling in love after spending a lot of time together” route, then mix it up a little bit more so we get the highs and lows. It felt like everything was just “in the middle” as far as drama goes, which is fine if you like that sort of thing.
While I will say I enjoyed the story as a whole, it didn’t grab my attention like True did. If anything, what I enjoy most from these books is that the characters feel real and some aspects of their lives and personalities are easily relatable. I definitely appreciate McCarthy’s style and I love the humor she brings to her stories. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Believe, which revolves around Jessica’s friends, Robin, and a new guy!