Max has a different hair color every week, is tattooed from top to bottom, dreams of making it as a musician, and has a string of bad boy boyfriends. Her parents, straight-laced, conservative Oklahomans, arrive in town on a surprise visit, asking to meet Max’s latest boyfriend. Mace, her actual boyfriend, is not really parent-meeting material, so Max strikes up a deal with a nice-looking boy she finds at a coffee shop. Cade will pretend to be her boyfriend in exchange for an actual date with Max. Though Cade is as nice as Max is bad, the two start hitting it off almost immediately. And when Mace shows himself to be the complete tool that he actually is, things between Max and Cade begin to heat up. But Max believes she is too toxic to be with Cade. And Cade doesn’t fight for what he wants when Max up and leaves him because she’s scared. The two have some emotional issues to work through before they can truly accept one another and themselves and be together.
I don’t think I have read any New Adult novels before and saw this one on ebook at my library, so thought I’d give it a shot. I liked the premise of a fake relationship and a bad girl+good guy story. So, first thing, this book kind of exemplifies what I’ve heard about New Adult: a Young Adult romance, but with sex. There’s a lot of angst. There’s the young adult theme of coming to accept yourself and become independent. And then there was some sex. I’m not complaining. I probably preferred this to Young Adult romance because, well, there were sexy times to balance out the angsty times.
I hate to say I grade books on a curve, but I totally do. This was good for what it was. A sort of fluffy, yet gritty romance (can something be fluffy and gritty at the same time?) with enough steaminess and serious issues to keep it from going into boring or saccharine territory. Max was a pretty unusual romance novel heroine, in that she is the bad girl– hard-edged, closed-off, and kinda bitchy. It was nice to see the female in that role, instead of the usual stereotype of the good girl taming the bad boy. But, at the end of the day, this is a romance novel where the big obstacle holding up the relationship is the couple’s inability or unwillingness to open up and communicate with one another. So… not an especially original plot. But, all in all, this book kept me entertained without leaving me much to complain about. I will definitely stick my toe back into the New Adult waters when I am looking for a steamy romance to read.