It's not a 5-star because the writing, while tight and had great characters, wasn't as lovely as I'd expect from a 5 star book. (See: [b:The Hating Game|25883848|The Hating Game|Sally Thorne|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1467138679s/25883848.jpg|45762345] ) The underlying plot was just a wee bit unbelievable (short timeframe, though I'm always on board for insta-lust, there's some other bits as well that were like...c'mon)
So, why a 4 star not a 3 star? Man, I love Ruthie Knox's messy characters. They fall far short of perfect. In this book, May comes into her own and while that is interesting in its own right, it's incredibly interesting to see that development take place in the safe harbor of her & Ben's 'relationship.'
Because Ben. I feel like I know Ben. Ben was very very real to me. He was a bit of a jackass, he was a bit grumpy, he often took it out on the wrong person and he couldn't stand when he did it. But what else was he? The kind of man that sees the woman. Just sees her and let's her grow and breathe, even within an intense relationship. He's the kind of guy who clearly isn't flowers-romantic, but giving the last taco romantic,cooking breakfast romantic, spending time romantic, and generous romantic. Ben's a giver, just not a giver of pretty words or soft and sparkly things. Again, I so know Ben.
Ruthie Knox books hit me in all the right ways because of these flawed characters. No perfect family to be seen, no perfect hero or heroine. This was a story of a people pleaser and a self-aware jackass learning to love each other.