Here's to unexpected surprises, people! Because this one was absolutely not what I thought it would be!
So, this one kinda came out of nowhere. I had the sample sitting on my Kindle for ages, before finally having the funds & desire to really pick it up. What I expected was a rather light read, no angst, maybe a little kinky college romance between two young guys falling into lust. What I got was... not that. But I'm glad to say it was BETTER!
Let's start with Shane. The blurb tells us that he gets shuffled to another dorm room. I'm not sure if this is a spoiler or not, so you're warned, but the reason for Shane changing dorms is not a funny, light mishap. It's because his former roommate killed himself in their room and Shane found him. Boom. This is what the opening of this book felt like to me, and honestly? It kind of set the tone for the rest of the book. Things just... jumped up in my face and surprised the crap out of me. But never in a bad way, never too angsty, or too dark. Just not... as light or easy as I thought it would be. Derek, Shane's new roommate stays an enigma for quite some time, but I absolutely loved how we got to know him over time - just like Shane.
The relationship building was a-mazing. I loved the pace, the honesty and the lack of "Oh, there is this big misunderstanding that will keep us apart for an appropriate time period". I did have a harder time with Shane's growth and fight for independence, mostly because I'm not that big on YA/NA and MCs struggling with overbearing parents. BUT, it worked for me here somehow, and in a way that made me very happy. The more the story developed, the more I fell for these guys. Seeing them change, evolve and grow, together and individually, was a real treat. This author was completely new to me, but it's safe to say that the writing convinced me to look for more of her work.
The only thing that actually bugged me was that the most important women in this book - especially the mothers - were evil, messed up bitches. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. And it's not that I'm that opposed to the portrayal of awful/difficult mothers - I have one, I'm familiar with the problem. I'm just getting more and more AND MORE tired of women being the spawn of the devil in my romance books. It would have been so nice to see the important female roles in the story to have a lick of sense and a conscience.
Alas, I can't have everything.
Other than that, I enjoyed this book immensely! Definitely recommended for everyone who likes a great college YA full-lenght-novel with beautiful relationship building and great MCs.