The blurb would lead you to believe this is mostly a new adult romance, set in college. In reality, the characters are only in college for about 20% of the book. Then there’s a time jump and a secret baby. (I HATE a secret baby) The majority of the book is not a new adult romance, so anyone expecting angsty, college romance (like I was) will likely be disappointed with this book.
Della is almost pathetically weak. She lets a rude comment or two from the hero, Carter, emotionally crush her and wreck her confidence WHEN SHE’D JUST MET THE GUY. She’s also one of these impossibly gorgeous creatures that all the men love, and yet she describes herself as below average in the looks department. I call it a symptom of Bella Swan syndrome.
Then, after the time jump, she ushers Carter back into her life with open arms (and legs) SUPER quickly. I could forgive her for that if she also didn’t let Carter make all her decisions for her. But, alas, Della lets Carter swoop in and “fix” her entire life without really giving her a say in the matter. She’s nothing but Carter’s little moldable trophy wife by the end of the story, and I resented the crap out of her on behalf of feminists everywhere.
And, while I don’t intend to blame victims in any way, Della is attacked and needs to be rescued by Carter not once, but TWICE in this story. She barely even fights back either time. If there’s one thing I can’t tolerate it’s a damsel in distress who does next to nothing to protect herself, and Della is FOR SURE a damsel in distress.
Carter’s an alphahole. He feels something for Della, and of course, emotions are super scary for alphaholes, so he tells her she smells and tastes like shit. (I’m not even making that up) And this is a dude who is described in the blurb as having irresistible charm! I saw no evidence of his “charm”. He was an emotionally stunted alphahole in college, and after the time jump, he was a demanding alphahole who pretty much bullied Della into doing everything his way, without really asking her what she wanted. (Not that it mattered. She didn’t really want anything for herself, anyway. But that’s beside the point.)
The subtitle is another thing that is misleading about this book. Carter and Della are never really enemies. They’re immediately super attracted to each other, and human emotions terrify Carter, so he acts like a complete dillhole. It’s only a few days after Carter is a total dillhole to Della that Della decides to go ahead and have sex with him, because Carter apologizes. (Kind of. It’s a pretty lackluster apology that attempted to justify his douchebaggery. It wouldn’t have worked on me. I would have nut-punched him. But maybe that’s just me...) Then, when they reconnect after the time jump, they fall immediately into the role of happy little family, even though they barely know each other (and never really knew each other to begin with). It was all pretty unrealistic and annoying.
Long-story-short, this one wasn’t my cuppa. I probably won’t read the rest of the books in the series. (Frankly it’s hard to get invested in any group of men who are proud to be referred to as “the screw crew”) But, like I said earlier, I have faith in this author, so I’m not giving up on her. I’ll just stick to her more adult romances. I think it’s been pretty well established that new adult just isn’t made for grumpy old ladies like me.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s a stigma fest. Gross.
Other reading suggestions
Try Predator, if you’re OK with a dark, kind of violent romance. And for an AWESOME enemies to lovers read, try Vicious by LJ Shen. If you don’t love Vicious, you’ve got ice water running through your veins. We also have an enemies-to-lovers “best of” list you should check out.