You know when you stumble on book that everyone seems to have read apart from you? I’m pretty sure I’m last to know about this uber-angst love story, but I’m glad I found it. That’s despite alternately wanting to hug and stab the lead characters and feeling exhausted by the end of it.
The setup – Abby moves state to a small college to get away from a life she doesn’t want anymore. Travis is an irresistible bad-boy who reminds her too much of what she ran from. He’s classic NA fodder, a beautiful and ripped, tattooed serial one-night stander who has women flocking to him. But he can’t seem to take his eyes off the one who doesn’t want him – Abby.
We open our scene with an illegal bare-knuckle fight in which prissy Abby gets splattered with blood from Travis’s KO’d opponent. Travis notices Abby and protects her from the crowds. The next day he sees her in the canteen at school but she shoots his advances down. She’s not having any of his swagger and charm, but that just makes her more of a challenge. And Travis ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox never backs down from a challenge.
To get him off her back, she agrees to hang out at his apartment with her best friend who’s dating his cousin/flatmate. Before long, she and Travis are best friends and having no-sex sleepovers when the boiler in her dorm breaks down. By the time it’s fixed Travis has won a bet with Abby, which means she has to stay for longer.
He falls hard and can’t give her up, and it’s clear to everyone apart from Abby where this is going. It’s a disaster, and it’s so frustrating.
Eventually they get somewhere and are both obsessed, but they mess with each other’s heads, treat each other horribly and do bad things, and by the end of it, I started to feel they’d be better off apart.
Quote from Abby’s roommate – “It’s dangerous to need someone that much. You’re trying to save him, and he’s hoping you can. You two are a disaster.”
But then he’s so sweet with her. And she’s one interesting character. I still want to punch them both now.
They get a HEA if that’s what you need, but it’s torturous and strung out.
This novel got its hooks into me with well-written dialogue and atmosphere. The secondary characters (including his 4 brothers all with names starting with T) are great as well, and there seems to be a novel or novella already written for each of them. I love this. So much more for me to read.
If you are new to NA, this book is genre-defining. Literally. Wikipedia says so.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Jamie McGuire
Release Date: May 26, 2011