Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; 1 edition (May 8, 2012)
Format: Kindle edition
Reviewed by: Judith
Guys, I can’t stop reading this book. Honestly, I think I’ve read it and its sequel, Second Chance, at least 7 times in the last two weeks. The first time out I was less than impressed but I’m gonna have to chock that up to the combination jetlag/whirlwind weekend in Paris during which I read it (there was a wedding and far too much booze involved; need I say more? We’re lucky I made it back to New Jersey with shoes on my feet is all I’m sayin’). I don’t want to know where my head was at during that first read through though cause I can say with a 100% certainty that this book is FREAKING FANTASTIC. Luckily for me (and you?), I decided to give it another shot cause it’s everything I love in New Adult romance and written beautifully to boot.
Right out of high school, Gray is stoic and reserved, a young man living a miserable existence. He’s 19, a former baseball star who gave up his dreams of playing at the college level and is now stuck at the local community college for the summer due to unexplained circumstances. His days revolve around mind-numbing classes, his job at the video store, avoiding his depressed parents, and playing video games in his basement. When free spirit Dylan decides to befriend him, it’s the best thing that could have happened to Gray. The socially awkward yet charming and oddly gregarious Dylan is exactly what he needs to break down the emotional barriers he’s erected. She shakes up his world and forces Gray to look outside of himself. As these two opposites slowly begin to connect, they discover that sometimes it takes a whole new perspective to understand the whys of life. Through subtle interactions, their relationship changes from friends to lovers but in the end, they’re still left with an important question: even if opposites do attract, can they manage to make their love last?
God, could this book be any better? NO! Well, maybe if it were a 1000 pages longer and my name and Dylan’s were interchangeable. Or maybe if Katie Kacvinsky were to give me the exact whereabouts of her real life inspiration for Gray and no advance warning to him that I’m on my way… seriously though, this book is so good it needs a sappy, happy warning label cause it will make you do nothing but grin from ear to ear as you read it. Be honest with me now, what’s not to like about two people meeting and falling head over heels in love? Nothing! This is most simply a love story about two polar opposites who happen to meet and realize that they complete each other. There’s no negativity, no heated arguments and twisted passions, no love triangles. There is a lot of sexual tension, some heart wrenching family drama, and some hilarious conversations as wacky Dylan tries to draw Gray out from his self-imposed emotional exile using the most creative means possible. It will make you feel good about life as you read it and will help you reaffirm your faith that sometimes people are lucky enough to find their missing halves.
In no particular order here are the best parts of the book: Gray; alternating viewpoints and hearing a male perspective on dating; Gray; learning about the Southwest USA most notably Arizona and New Mexico; Gray; Dylan’s wacky commentary and odd-ball ideas about life; and of course, Gray. You probably see the trend so I’m just going to lay this out there. Gray needs to climb out of this book and be my high school boyfriend. Like, right now. He’s the perfect guy! Athletic, attractive, a little broken due to an emotional upheaval in his life, vulnerable but not needy, supportive of his family, respectful of women, endearingly cute and nervous, mature, not full of himself, wears a baseball cap all the time, plays the guitar(!), and probably has a real cute baseball tush. I mean, there’s a ton more reasons why you will love him but I’m pretty superficial so mine are mainly due to his cuteness and how sweet he is whenever he interacts with Dylan.
In addition to writing a compelling male lead, Katie Kacvinsky gives us a storyline told from alternating viewpoints and genders. Not for nothing, but doing that effectively is hard. Like, really really hard. But Katie does it extremely well and with shocking ease. Dylan and Gray get equal facetime throughout and you honestly will feel as if each character is telling his/her own version of events. Grey’s internal monologue is so spot on that it’s surprising to realize a woman wrote him.
My only negative is the bittersweet end and the fact that this will be a trilogy meaning I have to wait til 2013 to get some closure! Gah! Why do authors insist on doing this to me? I’m fragile, people!
In the end, I’m giving this a 10/10.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10. I didn’t really talk about her a lot because Gray totally overshadows any and all other characters, but Dylan is a lot of fun. She’s awkward and gangly, reminding me of a pony learning about the world. She has a deep rooted inquisitiveness that really meshes well with Gray’s straightforward and reserved nature. She doesn’t care about her appearance and is always doing good for people. I wanted to hate her because she seems like one of those people that would make you feel bad since you’re not nearly as interesting or as good. But you can’t hate her. She’s too fun!
How much did I like the love interest:1000000000. I heart Gray. I’ve said it once but it deserves repeating: he’s the perfect guy. He’s daring, sweet, sensitive, a musician and a jock, caring and thoughtful, relentless, impulsive, HOTTER than HOT, tan and blue eyed (I like the whole package, people), and even romantic. He lets Dylan be who she is without ever finding fault in that. God, where was he when I was in high school?
How believable is the plot: 10. This is a love story and as thousands of years of literature have proven, love stories in whatever form are completely believable. And if there’s some sort of difficulty to overcome like Gray’s unexplained family issues (it does get explained but I won’t spoil it for you) all the more reason for it to feel real!
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. Katie is a fantastic writer. The story flows and is seamless even with the two different viewpoints. The dialogue is amazingly well done and never feels contrived or forced. My only issue was the editing in the kindle version was a bit sloppy with missing periods, spacing mistakes, its where hes were supposed to be, etc.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. The sequel just came out (yay!) but the third isn’t expected til 2013 (boo!!!!)
Final Score: 10/10.