I wasn’t planning on reading Blonde Date immediately after finishing The Year We Hid Away. But I had a book hangover and spending some time with the ancillary characters that were to be featured in their own novella seemed to be the perfect plan. One of my few complaints about The Year We Hid Away was that we didn’t get to spend much time at all with other characters or parts of Harkness College, and Blonde Date fills that gap well.
The story is the blind date set up by Scarlet in the previous book. Andy is Bridger’s next door neighbor from Scarlet’s hometown, and an all-around good guy. Having read The Year We Hid Away I already only wanted good things for him. Katie is one of Scarlet’s two roommates (Blonde Katie as opposed to Ponytail Katie) who needs an athlete date for her sorority’s Christmas party. She has just broken up with her football playing boyfriend, but thankfully as Scarlet and Katie move towards being actual friends and not simply roommates, Scarlet is happy to offer up our good guy Andy, who plays basketball for Harkness.
Bowen could’ve made this a meet cute, wham bam thank you ma’am story and been done with it. But no, she decided to deal with the issues of consent and sexual manipulation in the Greek system at the college and university level. Handled with a deft hand, Andy learns exactly why Katie is hesitant to be at this party, and uses his personality and skills to set her at ease and help her cope. All while making her comfortable with the fact that being sexually active and desirous of sexual activity does not mean that others can take advantage of that. At this point I loved the character of Andy even more.
Things progress from there, and we see what happens on the other side of the fire door from Bridger. Bowen also flips back and forth between each character’s reactions, which was fun. I was pleased with the way the story wrapped up, although not as excited to visit Katie’s ex for the final perspective. Unless Bowen is setting up some sort of redemption for him down the line, I don’t see the point.
All in all a good read – a solid 3.5.