Foreplay by Sophie Jordan
Book One of the Ivy Chronicles
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.
Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…
What I Liked:
NON-SPOILER-FILLED REVIEW, I PROMISE!
I think one of the reasons why I am so harsh with New Adult novels (especially the contemporary romance ones) is that I'm actually in college... so I can pick out completely unauthentic parts of this type of novel. I mean, I know all colleges and universities are different, and I also know that Johns Hopkins is soooo not the same as, say, the University of Maryland. But there are some aspects of college life that some New Adult authors get totally wrong, and some aspects that these author hit on the head.
I think that overall, Sophie Jordan does a good job of portraying a certain TYPE of college student's life. Not all college students go to bars - not all UNDERAGE college students go to bars. Yet, this is the type of lifestyle that New Adult authors portray, over and over. I mean, most of the college students that I know explore the city, or go paint-balling, or rollerblading, or rock-climbing. The adventurous ones, anyway. The non-adventurous ones stay indoors all day, in their dorm or in the library or so on.
But anyway. Pepper is a quiet student who occasionally goes out with her suitemate and roommate - and by goes out, I mean to places with alcohol and dancing and so on. Not like, bowling, or something. But I had no huge problems with Pepper. Usually, I HATE the heroine in New Adult contemporary romance novels. But Pepper was okay. She didn't have some gigantic, soul-eating, mind-consuming secret from the past, that she had to work through, with the aid of a super-yummy hunk of a man, like most New Adult contemporary romance novels feature.
Not that this book didn't contain a super-yummy hunk of a man. Reece definitely fits that profile. But I like Reece a lot. Instead of insipid and arrogant, he is quiet and thoughtful, but also very direct. It is his idea for Pepper and him to practice foreplay, in order for her to score the man of her dreams - the guy she's been in love with for like, EVER.
I know, the plot seems kind of silly. And New-Adult-y. But somehow, the plot ended up being very engaging. I enjoyed the interactions between Pepper and Reece - even the sappy secret-delving conversations that usually make me want to roll my eyes. The difference with this book is that Reece actually seems like a grown MAN, and not a silly and stupid and BRAINLESS teenage boy/young man.
Romance. LOVE. IT. Sophie Jordan does an excellent job of constructing the romance in this book. The growth of the relationship between Reece and Pepper is simplistic and progressive. There is a lust connection at first sight, but it's not insta-love. It's hard to explain, but trust me, it was different in this book.
So, I suppose you could say that there is a love triangle in this book, since there is Pepper and Reece practicing foreplay, in order for Pepper to snag Mr. Perfect. But... it's not quite your traditional love triangle. The romance dominates this book, but I like the presence of this love triangle, and the romance in this book. Not telling you how things end. Not even HINTING.
I liked this book. I'll gladly read the second book in this series. We'll see from there!
What I Did Not Like:
I still think that most New Adult contemporary romance books that are traditionally published/self-published are pretty formulaic. This book wasn't as bad, in terms of the New Adult contemporary romance skeleton, but bits and pieces were still evident. The "good girl", the "bad boy", intense chemistry... it seems like most New Adult contemporary romance novels feature these aspects, whether on purpose or not.
But it wasn't as bad, in this book. Maybe because Sophie Jordan is an adult romance writer, and has a fantastic command on the romance aspect of the novel. Somehow, the repetitiveness of the New Adult contemporary romance genre was present but not overwhelming in this book.
Would I Recommend It:
This is so strange - me recommending a New Adult contemporary romance book. You all know my track record with NA contemporary romance books. But I would recommend this book to New Adult fans or non-New-Adult fans! I mean, I disliked most of the NA books I read, but I liked this one. That must mean something!
4 stars. I know, I know, a New Adult contemporary romance that I actually enjoyed! It MUST be pretty good, right? I thought so!
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