This is the New Adultiest book I’ve read in a while. I give it credit for sucking me into a world of college seniors, with their hanging out at bars, bungee jumping, group breakfasts, detailed outfits, and cutesy nicknames. And I fully admit that it made me feel old. But this isn’t about me!
Memory Thibodeaux survived a brain tumor when she was young, and since then she’s been living life to the fullest. She’s a Cajun girl, and I could hear her accent so strongly. The author didn’t write “sounds like” dialect, she got the point across with Memory’s cadence of speech and occasional smattering of French Creole. Memory has a group of friends who have been together since their freshman year at a college in Texas, and they know her as the party girl, always up for a dare, or a sexy guy.
Jace Beaumont is a nice Texas boy who got a late start at college because he spent too much time partying in his “younger” days. He’s a mechanic, and a tow truck driver, and he can also cook and fly airplanes. All handy things. He doesn’t care for Memory or her friends when they first meet because they are drunk and having fun, and he is serious and over it. But somehow, Memory sticks in his craw, and she keeps showing up, and she’s kind of like a tornado that just sweeps him up for the ride.
Their romance is slow, and very youthful. They have picnics, they listen to each other’s playlists, they see movies in the park, they laugh. Memory thinks of it as the Cupcake Phase, “when everything was fresh and new and delicious and gooey and cute and He Couldn’t Do Anything Wrong because Everything He Did Was Absolutely Adorable.” She’s not looking for serious, anyway, because she may or may not have a recurring brain tumor that may or may not kill her. Jace doesn’t want to be tied down, either, because he wants to be a Texas Ranger. But they text each other a lot, and take selfies, and continue dating.
One theme I notice in New Adult books is characters choosing their own family. Memory’s mother died when she was young. Her father is around, but he takes long-term jobs on oil rigs, leaving her alone much of the time. So her friends become her family. With her near-death experience, Memory has a lot of perspective. She seems to be the only one of her friends realizing that their “carefree college days of hanging out” are about to end, and she’s worried about it.
Another characteristic of the genre is the clothing. I felt like the author spent a lot of time describing the outfits of Memory and all of her friends, as if there’s a Pinterest board titled “College students of the south” and she was checking off various layers of clothes. Maybe I really only care about clothing when it’s historical, with embroidered dresses and tight breeches and all that. A “red and blue plaid long-sleeved shirt over a navy tank, jeans and Converse,” and a “navy thermal Henley with a dark green long-sleeved tee underneath” don’t really excite me. Again, I’m old.
Despite the possible brain tumor, this book was not full of angst and weeping, which was nice. It has a boy and girl falling in love, surrounded by nice people. It has Southern culture, a lot of eighties movie references (because of course Memory’s a fan), and eventually some not-very-explicit sex.
This is the third in a series that I haven’t read. There are a few references to past events, and some visits with happy couples, but I didn’t feel lost. I might read the others, because this one is so terribly sweet.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Cindy Miles
Release Date: September 10, 2015