“Good, baby?” I lick her throat. “Um . . . I think . . . I’m burning.” “Yeah . . . me too.” “No, I’m really burning.” Her hands come to my chest and push as she tries to shove me off her. “Jesus, Ben, my vagina is burning! Something’s wrong! Ow!” Stunned and dazed, I pull out and roll off her, blinking at her in confusion. What the fuck?
The heroine of this book, Ella spent her previous school year using partying and sex as a way to cope with her grief. It didn’t work well so now she is committed to being focused on her school work and being a better friend. She supposedly hates Ben, out hero. She finds him pompous.
This is supposed to be a enemies/haters to lovers type of trope, but I didn’t feel that ever hated each other. I never picked up on true hate, definitely some dislike/misunderstanding of the other, but not hate. Ella’s supposed hate for Ben was because he was came off as pompous and too put together. Ben supposed hate for Ella was because she was a party girl. There was an instance where he may have insinuated that she was a slut, but he never outright called her a slut. There were not several instances/examples of why these two should hate each other, so I never bought into that.
Ben is one of the big stars of the hockey team, very smart, and very handsome- obviously. Ben is actually quite nice. He came from a tough background and was using college as an opportunity to start fresh. I actually liked him a lot. He is also pretty open with his feelings, which is refreshing, especially in New Adult.
Ella and Ben have some chemistry so they decide to do the whole, I am in no position to be in a relationship, let’s just have sex relationship. Quickly it develops to more and Ella and Ben enter boyfriend/girlfriend status. It felt different that when Ben asked Ella, she didn’t protest. Only weird insomuch as she was really adamant when they first hooked up that she couldn’t do more.
I have enjoyed several of this author’s books. She frequently incorporates topics that don’t come up in other books like, rape culture/awareness, slut shaming, suicide, filicide, severe depression. Sometimes it is really well integrated in the story, examples- No Obligation Required and Shut Out which I reviewed last year. This time around it felt a little bulky and took up too much page time. In Shut Out the hero was previously and falsely accused of rape. This book is the second in the series, new couple, but they navigate through some slut shaming issues along with the heroine recovering from the loss of a friend who completed suicide (off page). The slut shaming conversation between the men felt a little forced and like it was there to inform me the reader and not a natural conversation between the readers. And while it is an incredibly worthy topic it felt a little off for me. I think another reason it bothered me was because even though the MC’s fight the good fight against slut shaming, they had no issue referring to other women as bitches. I feel like that is a little bit of a mixed message.
All in all this was a decent read. I gave up on believing that they hated each other and tried to think of it as mild dislike. I really liked Ben. Ella was a good heroine as well. It was great to see her grow as a character and I felt like the depiction of her grief was true to life, but not overwhelming. It felt a little too after-school specialy for me in regards to the slut-shaming. But I applaud the author for confronting these real life issues and concerns in her books and making us as readers more aware.