Why was he my Romeo, but I wasn’t his Juliet?
Hmmmmm… 3.5 stars
I read this one because of all the glowing recommendations I’d received for it. So many readers are absolutely loving this book at the moment and I can certainly see why. It has a lot of the “check marks” for me too — swoony, tattooed hero, a slightly angsty, almost forbidden (ish) tension/attraction between the hero and heroine, and it’s a standalone so you can read the whole story in one sitting. But… it didn’t fully float my boat because there were just too many things that kept pulling me ‘out’ of the story and annoying me — it took the main couple (okay – specifically, the hero) way too long to actually agree to try a relationship, I found the heroine to be too immature for my personal liking in many respects, and I felt the ending was way too rushed. So overall, I did like some of it but it wasn’t a 100% fit for me. I’ll explain further…
The story follows Nora, an 18 year old high school student who is suffocated by her mother’s constant and stifling need for perfection and one day she just reaches her limit. No more good girl, no more playing by the rules. From this point on, she is determined to be as bad as she can be. And it starts at one of her school speeches where she publicly tells everyone to fuck right off (teehee, it was kind of awesome).
This is the first time that Leo sees her and he’s drawn to her. He knows (or rather, thinks) he shouldn’t be because he’s the 25 year old guardian of his brother who attends her school. Besides, he’s the love ’em and leave ’em kind and in his own words has “never met a girl I couldn’t say goodbye to.” Nora is the first girl who makes him want more but their age gap is too much for him to handle and despite wanting her, he refuses to allow himself to give into his feelings.
And so begins the back-and-forth game. She wants him. He wants her. He holds back. She wonders why. And life goes on. He stays with his
fuck buddy girlfriend and Nora continues to want him but, since he so blatantly makes it clear that doesn’t want her, she fools around (just fooling around though, nothing “all the way”) with her admirers at school… until finally, towards the end, he realizes the error of his ways and that they might actually be perfect for each other.
Ok so, except for the fact that he kept on rejecting her over and over and over and over again, I actually really liked Leo. The rest of him (minus that element) was absolutely the kind of guy I’d fall for. He was swoony and protective and certainly made my heart flutter in nearly all the times he was around. But I hated that for the majority of the book, he was sleeping with someone else. Don’t get me wrong, he was not cheating since he and Nora weren’t technically together while that was happening but it still really bothered me. A lot.
In all honesty, I did consider putting the book down in places but, at the same time, there were certainly parts of it that gave me butterflies. It was addictive, I have to give it that, and I was curious enough to see where the Nora/Leo side of the story would go that I wanted to see it through to the end.
I found some elements to the story to be over-the-top and Nora’s immaturity had me rolling my eyes on several occasions BUT, something about that first scene where she and Leo connected in the parking lot had really grabbed me and I wanted to know what happened so I kept going.
I will admit though that the parts of the book that had my attention were the Leo/Nora parts, and also the Sebastian parts (he’s Leo’s brother) and there were a lot of in-between scenes that weren’t about them (more about Nora and her school friends). Personally I felt that the story would have been stronger if some of those in-between scenes had been cut down in length.
The message was that “having” physical things isn’t what brings you happiness, that comes from the inside and from being true to yourself. Friends, lovers, following your dreams… those are the precious things in life and sometimes you have to fight to be able to hold onto those.
I will say though that the ending was very sweet. Finally they both admitted and gave into what we all knew from Chapter 2. Despite the fact that it took them 95% of the book to get there, it still did make me swoon because like I’d said, I couldn’t help but be drawn in. But… it was very sudden and basically a complete 180 turn from “we can never be together” to “we will be together til the day we die”.
I liked how passionate they were about each other, I just wish they’d realized it earlier because there was actually only 4% of the book where they were officially “together” and almost 3% of that was a sex scene. So… I just felt it was rushed. I liked the direction it was going in but I wish that there had been more of a focus on them after they got together or at least an epilogue set a few months/years into the future to give us a bit more balance.
Oh, and WARNING — and really, this was my fault ‘cuz I guess should have looked more closely at the table of contents before reading but… the book ends at 84% on my kindle because there are seven previews for other books after it!! It really took me by surprise. So just, be warned… 84% is the end.
Overall I hovered between 3 stars in some places and 4 in others and am rounding it off to 3.5 stars. That being said, this is just my personal opinion. A lot of other readers are absolutely loving it so who knows, you might too…