Doing it at: 93% – but it’s still one of the hottest books
Catnip: College Romance; Drama Nerds; Light Orgies
Shame Scale: Zero, this is a Real Book. Only with the bonus of some of the best sex scenes we’ve had the pleasure of reading.
College senior Winnie Frederickson has accomplished nothing in four years but summa cum laude and the power of invisibility.
A professor’s kid, carelessly popular Cal Darling feels like he’s been going to college forever. If there’s anything left to learn, he’s not going to find it in the classroom.
The theater department’s “make-out class” is famously hard to get into, and what goes on between the twelve people who take it every spring is an annual topic of speculation. Winnie needs one more arts class to appear well-rounded for fellowships. Cal is just … bored.
The dark space—a class, a place, a state of mind—is ready for them both.
Mary: This book was incredible. Ruthie Knox has yet to write anything we don’t love – her stories feel so REAL, which is almost an oxymoron when we’re talking about romance novels – and I would say that this book solidified her in our minds as an instant purchase. This is our first time reading anything by Mary Ann Rivers, but I’m definitely going to be looking for more of hers. We read a lot of stepbrother/rocker/billionaire/soundrel books, and this one was surprisingly fresh – I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I’d say it’s a touch paranormal, but mostly it’s about the connections you make with other people.
Cleone: This is a romance between quiet, invisible Winnie, and Cal, the outgoing guy who seems to know everyone. They meet each other in a theater course their senior year, and have an immediate connection. They are two perfectly ordinary people, who have a bond that is anything but.
M: And it’s a Real Book, in the sense that that it’s an original plot, not following the conventional romance novel tropes, with the kind of writing you could recommend to all your book snob friends and not feel the tiniest bit of shame about. But it’s also really really hot:
What I couldn’t work out in all that reading was why I couldn’t stop thinking about dragging Winnie Frederickson backstage and getting every part of her body against every part of my body in every possible configuration until we both fucking died of it.
M: That’s all you’re getting from us on plot. You’ll want to read this one blind. And the writing in this book. I just kept highlighting and highlighting, bookmarking everything. It’s hard to articulate – I just wanted to memorize these words, and eat them, and rub them all over my body.
C: Reading this one reminded me of reading poetry, where you feel like every word has been picked so precisely and is so weighted that you have to linger and read things twice and try to absorb it into your skin before you can move on.
Take this quote for example, the way Cal talks about the subtleties of reading body language:
But when she said if you want in that rasp of a voice she had, her index finger, the one which had been so diligently tracing lines and squares, slid into the valley between her knees and rubbed.
Limited appeals, remember? So while some triangle-shaped frat guy might need a body-language lexicon just sensitive enough to pick up on a hair toss, I had been collecting the alphabet of potential willingness like I needed the language to survive a suicide mission from the time I started sprouting hairs on my dick.
M: This book is weird. I might need another read through to digest it, and even then, I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that when I finished, (at 3 am on a Sunday because I couldn’t put it down and just sleep) I burst into literal happy tears, and I didn’t even know that was something my body did.
C: This is the second review I’ve done where I don’t want to give any details, because really you’re only doing yourself a favor going in to this one in the dark and letting it unfurl for you and surprise you.
Seriously, this one is GOOD. It’s short and meant, I think, to be inhaled in one or two sittings which might you leave you a little dazed and soft-hearted and happy. Buy this book, ok?