I may have been Stolkholmed by a book. Fine, it’s 3 books, but that’s just an excuse to get you to pay more money. It’s one book. It started out as a hate read, but by the end I was kind of ok with it. The first half or more of the book was so terrible I can’t recommend reading it. On that note, I’m not going to worry about spoilers, because you really shouldn’t read this book (series).
Kaitlyn Parker is a nerd of some sort (she likes Lord of the Rings?), and hides in closets. Martin Sandeke is the WORST. Everyone thinks he is the best because he is rich, good looking, and for other reasons I can’t remember, but really – rich and good looking cover it. Kaitlyn calls Martin a “jerk-face” and both recognizes that Martin is not nice to people, and calls him on it when he is pressuring her to be his girlfriend. Kaitlyn and Martin are chemistry lab partners. Kaitlyn finds Martin attractive, but is so oblivious she refuses to believe Martin is interested in her and even if she allowed herself to believe, she doesn’t want to be another girl he makes cry. For reasons, Martin insists that Kaitlyn join him and his friends on his Caribbean island Spring Break vacation, complete with private plane and fully staffed palatial mansion.
Kaitlyn and Martin are rougher versions of Janie and Quinn, the more adult protagonists of Neanderthal Seeks Human. Except that Martin is the WORST. He says he has been in love with her from the beginning. During the week on the Caribbean island, Martin pressures and rushes Kaitlyn into a relationship with him and pushes her into sex and saying she loves him. I had a hard time with it. I think he was supposed to come off as intense and passionate, but I kept thinking he was a manipulative bully. He uses the threat of his anger to induce Kaitlyn’s compliance. She doesn’t see it that way, but that’s how it reads to me. His emotions and his wants are more important than Kaitlyn’s. Kaitlyn calls the week relationship boot camp, but everything happens so fast I have a hard time thinking of it as a real relationship. Kaitlyn references her “pants area” a lot. It drove me nuts. If you can’t say penis and vagina, maybe you shouldn’t be doing penis and vagina activities. I’d also like to see an end to this new thing in new adult romance where they prove their love by having unprotected sex the first time they have sex. Stop it. That’s how you get genital warts. Feel free to imagine your own “get off my lawn” gif here.
Kaitlyn’s mother is a US Senator and Martin’s father (who is worse than Martin) holds a telecom monopoly and the two are political adversaries. Some stuff happens with the parents and Kaitlyn does the adult thing and tries to talk to Martin about stopping his father from ruining her mother’s career, but Martin is the WORST, and she breaks up with him.
At this point, the book improved a lot. It still wasn’t great, because I felt like Kaitlyn should be giving thanks for dodging that bullet and finding someone else, but that wasn’t this book. Many months go by during which Kaitlyn grows and changes. Martin comes back into her life as a millionaire, successful entrepreneur and businessman. Please keep in mind that at this point he is 21 and a college drop out. Martin appears to have grown as well. The new Martin is unbelievable, but he in no longer the WORST. He doesn’t lose his temper, he doesn’t use his anger to induce compliance, and he sort of gives Kaitlyn time to get to know the new him.
I don’t know if I enjoyed the book more in the second half because I was so traumatized by the first half, or if it genuinely improved. In real life, I would never be ok with a friend dating a boy like Martin unless he had had a couple of decades of therapy. As Mrs. Julien pointed out in her review, for a smart girl Kaitlyn can be really dumb, and there is a lot of frustrating and predictable comeheregoaway. Ultimately I wanted to pat Kaitlyn on the head and say “You barely knew him, and he was a cautionary lesson, not The One.”
If you want a good romance with a guy who is a jerk, read Lucy Parker’s Act Like It.