I love a nerdy, awkward hero almost as much as Jen loves a tortured hero, so when I found this book at the library I gave it a shot. This “dimwitted girl falling for her nerdy tutor” story isn’t groundbreaking, but at times I found myself really caught up in it. Other times, not so much.
Kat’s brain doesn’t exactly work like other people’s brains. Her mind wanders a lot, she has to be hyper-organized to complete assignments on time, and she’s used to people making fun of her. Luckily she’s hot (her parents are Brazilian, and also rich) and she made it through high school with a little help from various boyfriends. Now she’s a college sophomore and failing her statistics class.
Alec is a nerd in that he’s smart and he wears glasses. He also styles his hair into a pompadour, which Kat likes. I couldn’t visualize his look without thinking hipster, and there’s nothing wrong with Alec being a hipster, but that word never comes up; he’s working the impoverished nerd vibe, which I had trouble connecting with his hair. So, yeah. Pompadour. Alec is also Kat’s boyfriend’s roommate, and he happens to end up as her statistics tutor.
The sexual tension between Kat and Alec was done well, once I got past the stereotypical scene where she blindly walks out of a door and crashes into his large muscular body. Kat flirts as a defense mechanism when she feels stupid, but Alec patiently sees through it and helps her study. They develop a rapport, and then share a steamy dance at a club when Kat’s boyfriend asks Alec to watch out for her while he uses the bathroom.
The forbidden love was great. Kat’s jokes and wandering mind were great. She describes her mind as Kat-land, a mystical place where she rides a unicorn while eating fat-free chocolate, and peasants blow bubbles on her while telling her how smart she is. She’s adorable. Alec’s inner turmoil and loyalty to his friend were believable, and he stood up for Kat like a big hero without throwing punches. So that was all good.
This book lost me whenever there were heart-to-heart conversations with secondary characters, because there were a lot of them. Alec has two roommates plus Danica, his lesbian gal pal, who wears crazy outfits, colored wigs, and colored contacts all the time. Danica was fun, but her emotional connection to Alec was so strong that I felt like he was using too many of his deep thoughts on her. Kat has a supportive, thoughtful roommate, plus then she meets Danica and uses her to run interference with Alec, and then Kat meets Danica’s roommate and immediately bonds with her, too. So at times I felt like this was a world of friendly, supportive college students who were always in tune with each other’s emotions, which probably isn’t realistic.
Speaking of all these meaningful conversations, Alec and Kat had them with everyone but each other for the back half of the book. The first part was great, with the forbidden love, and the guilt, and the drama. Then it turned into Alec and Kat misunderstanding each other over little things, and Kat running away, and then them having chats with other people. Plus Kat learns a lot about her learning disability, which is a great public service announcement, but since she does it mostly without Alec’s help (because she thinks he only wants to fix her, not love her, because she runs away before he can explain), it’s not good romance.
This is the first in a series, so I know the excess of secondary characters is just planting the seeds, but I was already tired of them. So. The first half, with the romantic drama, was probably a B+. All the friends and happiness and talking and misunderstanding was a C-. I’ll average it to B-, because Kat-land was funny.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Make It Count
by Megan Erickson
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse