After Math is the love story of Scarlett, a math major with social anxiety disorder, and Tucker, a college soccer star with a reputation as a womanizer. Scarlett works as a math tutor, and do you know who happens to be in danger of failing math? Tucker. Scarlett wants to stay cocooned in her safe world of predictable equations, but she agrees to be Tucker’s private tutor so that her department will get needed funding.
This story isn’t insta-love, but it is insta-connection. At their first tutoring session, Tucker doesn’t act like a cocky athlete, he acts like a genuine, sensitive person. Why? He must sense a kindred spirit in her. Scarlett is surprised at this different side of him, and finds herself responding to it against her better judgment. Once Scarlett and Tucker establish a basis of mutual respect, they begin to open up to each other and realize that they’ve got something special.
Like most New Adult books, After Math has some coincidental meetups (Hey! Your apartment is on my running route! Hey! We’re at the same party!) to push the relationship forward. It doesn’t seem forced, though, because both leads have such emotional damage that they don’t want to rush into a relationship. They each have pretty terrible pasts. So terrible, in fact, that I found it off-putting; it almost felt like their relationship was built upon their mutual ability to attend college and say, “Boy, talk about a crappy childhood.” But with a lot more drama.
I was expecting more of a culture clash between the characters as they tried to be together — will Tucker want to hang around the math department? How will Scarlett deal with Tucker’s athletic lifestyle of jocks and women? Will Tucker show his new, true, personality to anyone besides Scarlett? I didn’t feel that the book answered those questions. The characters spent so much time digging into their pasts, revealing their layers of hurt and betrayal, breaking down (breaking up) and rebuilding, that there wasn’t any room left in the plot to see them deal with the present. I guess that, once they resolved all their issues, everything else just took care of itself. The brief epilogue seems to suggest this.
If you like your books on the heavy, emotional side, then you will love this. Scarlett is a well-rounded heroine who allows herself to open up and change through the course of the novel. Tucker is a gorgeous guy who says a lot of sensitive things about how Scarlett is the only woman for him. They have weepy conversations in the rain and they have hot, emotional sex.
I love a good angsty romance as much as the next girl, but I wanted to see more of Tucker resolving his past lifestyle and reputation, more of him fighting for Scarlett rather than just apologizing for being so damaged and then instantly turning his life around for her.
After Mathby Denise Grover SwankRelease Date: March 12, 2013