This is one of those reviews where I need to give trigger/content warnings before I get started – and to head things off at the pass, No Tumblr, those are not female presenting nipples – I swear I fully expect this post to be flagged… all of the shirtless dude covers are.
Actual content warnings for the book because the author doesn’t have them, and I was bloody lucky not to get triggered myself. Oh, and spoilers, because let’s get that out of the way too:
Triggers: Past rape (Male on Female), Gaslighting, Child abuse, Domestic abuse, Emotional abuse
Okay… everyone good?
At yet another Harvard/Ivy League facsimile of a school, Hannah’s living her life the best she can. As a former rape victim, it’s hard. It’s especially hard when your crush is a super popular football player who doesn’t even know she exists. She thinks she might have finally worked up the courage to smile at him when life throws a curveball in the shape of the captain of the hockey team and fellow classmate, Garrett.
Garrett needs Hannah’s help. She’s the only person he knows who’s passed a required class and he needs to maintain a full-time load and a certain GPA to play on the team. He needs a tutor, and Hannah is it.
When she blows him off, Garrett isn’t willing to let it go. He needs her help and he’s willing to go to any lengths, even pretending to be her fake boyfriend so that her crush notices her if that’s what it takes.
Lack of content warnings aside, I really liked this book. I know shocking, right? Me enjoy a book… scandalous.
Hannah and Garrett both had really strong character voices. They had distinct ways of speaking. I could picture them easily in my head.
Hannah is a rape victim who has not really connected with anybody in a sexual way, which is incredibly common. She’s out there in the world, but it’s a little harder for her. It’s nice to see it addressed in a story but not put down on. I even liked that her previous boyfriend wasn’t a complete dick, but that it just didn’t work. Which is sort of spoiler but also kind of not, it’s a refreshing change that I love seeing. I also appreciated that sexual intimacy took time with her. She wanted it. But it took extra effort. She’s also kind of adorable with her crush on the football player contrasting with her “exasperated to lovers” relationship with Garrett.
Garrett starts off as a bit of a pushy Alpha, used to getting his own way and always sleeping around. It’s who he is. He’s got limits, consent is a biggie, and he himself tends to keep the partying to a minimum. One thing I liked in this book was that his sleeping around wasn’t presented in a negative way it’s simply is who he was. It was a very sex positive book that didn’t shame people who had sex and didn’t put down people who didn’t have sex. Both choices were considered valid, which is honestly the truth. As the story progresses Garrett started becoming deeper and deeper of a character. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say those warnings in the beginning aren’t just for Hannah.
The sex was well written, and I was really pleasantly surprised to see how much consent was going on. Seriously, lots and lots of consent. Lots of checking in. Lots of setting boundaries. Even better, the guy was the one saying no equally with the girl as well as setting his own boundaries. And sexually, both the guy in the girl respect each other‘s boundaries. That matters. Consent matters.
This book isn’t perfect.
The premise of Garrett having to keep his GPA up doesn’t work with the grades he is pulling in other classes. (He needs a C+ average and assuming he is like other student athletes he has to be a full time student that means he needs 12 credit hours (I worked in higher ed). He’s got a minimum of 2 A’s, 1 C-minus, and an F. That gives him a 2.425 which is… dun-dun-dun… a C+ (As are 4.0, Bs are 3.0, Cs are 2.0, and Ds are 1.0 the Minuses are variations on .7s eg. 3.7 is an A- while the pluses are variations on the .3s eg a C+ is a 2.3.) So yeah, writers can’t do math.)
I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Garrett pushing Hannah so hard to be his tutor. It bugged me.
But both of those things weren’t enough to bring it down a star.
And because I really enjoyed the book. Because I really loved how sex positive this was. I can cheerfully give it
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