Image Posted on Updated on
Series: G.A.P. #1
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
During her senior year in high school, Maddie Burch promised herself not to ever fall for a cute guy – or any guy – again. Cute guys are players and not to be trusted, a fact she learned the hard way when her first boyfriend ran her heart through a paper shredder. Two years later, her promise is still intact, and she’s determined to make it through college without falling victim to another creep. She has her job, school and The Guys Are Props Club to keep her mind and hormones in check.
The club was founded by Jessica, Maddie’s best friend. It is a sisterhood of girls who have fallen prey to heartless jerks and who have vowed to turn the tables. Once a semester, Jessica requires members to “do onto others as they’ve done unto you.” Setting the example, Jessica’s next play is Sebastian Capello, a theater major with heartthrob looks and a flair for Latin dance, whose heart she plans to break the way hers was once broken.
What the friends don’t know is that Sebastian is different. Despite his perfect looks and popularity, he’s not a jerk. He doesn’t play games to get his way. Instead, he keeps it real and goes after what he wants with honest intentions. And what he wants is not a bombshell like Jessica, but a down-to-earth girl like Maddie – even if it causes a riff in the girl’s friendship. Even if it means getting Maddie to break her personal vow.
I’ll start with the negatives because I loved this book so much, I can afford to do that with this review.
* The heartbreakingly atrocious cover. It just screams “Disregard me as a decent piece of literature!” and “Please! Feel free to judge me before you know what lies within!” while at the same time inducing hard shudders of revulsion.
* The misleadingly campy beginning chapter which introduces us to the G.A.P. club and its sob-story-havin’ group of females at the head of which stands Jessica, blonde bombshell, and Maddie, our protagonist.
*Oh, and that devastatingly ill-conceived title. Although understandable in its selection, it also screams, “This book is worthless and in all likelihood poorly conceived not to mention motherlessly executed!”
Aaaaand… that’s about it. Because as soon as I got past those three things (which is a hard thing for me to do and with this title happened all too quickly), I found out, just as quickly, that I was in love with this book because:
* Maddie. She was admittedly a little weak in the beginning, but she totally owns up to it, calls herself out on it and makes valid, far-reaching attempts to right it, so that by the end of the book, she actually is a stronger-willed, more upfront person. Plus, she valued honesty, and that’s something I thought I’d been relegated to spend my days alone valuing (even if the only participant in that particular school of thought happens to be fictional…), as well as grades and finances and responsibility.
If I wasn’t careful, soon I’d be trying to convince myself that dating was a good idea, natural, and that I had needs. My stomach churned, repulsed at the thought.
Needs?! I shook my head. Animals had needs. I had priorities.
* Sebastian. Yes, he’s ulta-super-gorgeous, but I completely understood why, and it kinda makes it even better that he was ridiculously sincere, well-put together, sweet and basically undermined Maddie’s entire image of “cute guys” all bein’ “players” down to the last. Anyone who can undermine a stereotype like that and remain realistic goes to the top of my yay list. Plus, he was a dancer, Cuban and not perfect. And his Daddy raised him right. (I love good dads! More good dads in modern literature, please?!)
* Their chemistry. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
“So here’s what I know about you, Madison,” Sebastian started. “You’re beautiful, smart, dedicated. You have a huge heart, a killer bod. […] You’d think with all of that,” he continued, “I wouldn’t need to know more, but I want to learn everything there is to learn about Madison Riley Burch. I want to know you… inside and out.”
* The writing. You knew it was comin’; I almost always mention the writin’. I was so very surprised to find that the narrative flowed well, and Maddie’s first-person voice flowed even better. It sucked me instantly into the story (despite my earliest impressions of it bein’ heavy on the camp) and, seriously, even if I had wanted to let go, there was no way it was gonna let me. Points.
* Hunter! The wrathy 10-year-old cancer patient with a huge crush on Maddie! He was adorable, even if he was a little surly.
* All the feels this book made me feel. I’m totally a feeler when it comes to ratin’ a book. If the tensions are high, I usually feel it in my throat or my chest. (With Seraphina, it got so bad I couldn’t breathe!), and this book definitely had me swallowin’ some tough stuff down a few times. That’s when I really know I’m invested, and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’d fallen in love with this story.
Keeping my heart safe was starting to feel more labor intensive than picking up the broken pieces had been. And what if… what if my heart was safe with Sebastian? Wouldn’t it be easier to just let it happen? Wasn’t fighting what I felt twice as hard?
* The resolve! Oh, the resolve. It’s not perfect, but in that, it’s only all the more true-to-life. A scene or two felt rushed, but that didn’t detract from the overall wrap-up, and I definitely enjoyed the end-all-be-all afterward.
* Preeeetty much everything else. Ever.
So, havin’ stumbled upon this as I scanned one of my too-often-neglected subscriptions to Free E-books, I must say I am pleasantly beside myself and extremely excited to have stumbled across this gem. Now if only someone would change the title and cover to reflect the surprising depth inside…