Freya has secrets she doesn’t intend to share. Not with her new friends on the cheerleading squad at Maine State University, and certainly not with sexy lumberjack-look-alike Rhett. Just because sparks flew between them at a bar one night doesn’t mean he gets to know why she transferred to MSU. When Freya dares Rhett to come to cheerleading practice, she never expects to see the dark-haired lumberjack again.
Except Rhett is the last person to turn down a dare, especially when it comes from a pixie-sized blonde. When Rhett wows the squad and becomes Freya’s stunt partner, his hands come far too close for comfort. But as Freya and Rhett’s hot post-practice sessions bring them closer, she risks her secrets being revealed. Can Freya chance exposing who she really is to the guy who wasn’t supposed to win her heart?
2.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
Well, this book was kind of a disappointment. I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, both YA paranormal and NA contemporary, so I was excited to see her book on NetGalley and immediately requested it! I was even more intrigued with a book that would show cheerleading in a good light (instead of the villainous light we usually see it in).
But. 😦 Then I started reading. And I guess the overarching theme of my feelings for this book is that it’s flat. The characters are flat. The plot is flat. The chemistry is flat. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve felt so ambivalent towards characters. Well, I guess I felt quite a bit of dislike for Freya, so that’s more than ambivalence. But in all honesty, I really just didn’t understand who either of these characters actually were. They had a lot of “paper traits” (which is a new term I’m going to coin). ie ON PAPER they could have been really interesting characters. But we never really got to understand them as individuals, so I felt nothing for either of them really. Well, except extreme annoyance towards Freya.
The book starts off with both characters having secrets, even from the reader, and that shit just annoys me. Luckily it didn’t last very long, but I don’t understand why the author chose to start it as a secret in the first place, b/c it wasn’t that big a deal. And I guess that’s the whole thing…we did not get enough backstory of either character to really understand what shaped them. The author tried, but it fell flat. Freya’s personality and attitude was honest to goodness CONFOUNDING to me. Why did she have trust issues? Why did Mia’s family’s love not make up some of that? Why would her parents neglect make her less trusting? Why was she so mean and rude to Rhett? Why did she not want a relationship? WHY WHY WHY??? We’re told some reasons, but I need to be shown them, and I never was. So I had no empathy for Freya whatsoever. And because we weren’t given enough about Freya, I couldn’t do anything but dislike her more and more for the way she treated Rhett. Like seriously, she was just a straight up jerk. For a book that was trying to show cheerleaders in a better light, Freya kind of failed inadvertently. Luckily the sport looked pretty cool, but she was even kind of mean and judgemental to her fellow cheerleaders. And the over the top hysterical way she reacted to things just had me raising my eyebrows and writing her off. I don’t get it.
So how in the world did I end up rounding up on this book? Well, I guess Rhett. Though maybe even he’s not a good enough reason. He was also flat, the same thing — we were told so many things about him, but we weren’t shown. I didn’t feel enough for him, though I felt more for him than Freya. He started off in the book appearing like a TOTALLY different kind of guy, and honestly his personality felt like it did a 180 after the first chapter. I don’t get that. But after the 180, he was kind of sweet, and intriguing, and he had a lot of paper qualities that I should have fallen in love with. And I did like him. I mean, he was patient, kind, funny, charming. But I don’t understand why he was interested in Freya. Like not at all. And despite all those paper qualities, I still didn’t *feel* anything for him.
I felt like the author took shortcuts in places to make the plot work. Particularly having Rhett be into break dancing and jiu jitsu. Why was he into those sports? Who got him into those sports? How could he afford that? It was convenient though, b/c then it made his proficiency at cheerleading make sense.
*sigh* After writing all this out, I think I’m going to have to round down. I just don’t think there’s enough to justify rounding up. Because I have another peeve. The writing around the dialogue was incorrect I think. And because of that, it was ridiculously hard to figure out who was speaking, and so it constantly took me out of the book. I had hoped it was just in the ARC version, but I glanced at the sample and it appears to still be the case. I’m not an editor or proofreader, but I know when something’s wrong, and this was not done well in this book. (like he would speak, then she would laugh in the same paragraph, then there would be a new paragraph and more dialogue, and sometimes it would be her speaking and sometimes it would be him — an exaggeratedly simple example).
So yeah. Bummer. Mega bummer. I might still round up. Rhett really did have so much potential. *sigh* I hate writing reviews for books like this… 😦