FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Random House LLC (via NetGalley).
Series: Crush #1
Publisher: Flirt on October 21, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Good girls stay away from Ryder Briggs . . . or, at least, they try to. In Renita Pizzitola’s emotional novel of heartache and seduction, one college freshman just can’t get enough.
Brinley Dawson doesn’t drink, she studies—and despite the accusations of her alcoholic mother, she’s still a virgin. But if Brinley’s life is so put together, why is she freaking out to be going to college with the gorgeous, green-eyed jerk she kissed on a stupid dare in high school? Ryder Briggs can have any girl he wants . . . and the rumors say that he does. So why, after publicly embarrassing Brinley four years ago, is he suddenly acting like he’s interested?
Ryder never forgot Brinley. In fact, those perfect seven minutes permanently raised the bar for what a kiss could be. The truth is, Ryder doesn’t dare get too close to anyone. He knows how that worked out for his parents. But when his roommate takes a shot at Brinley, Ryder can’t contain his jealousy. Now he must do the hardest thing he’s ever done: forget about sex and convince Brinley his feelings are real.
Brinley isn’t sure whether she believes Ryder, but for the first time, her body isn’t playing by the rules. Then she discovers that she’s an unwilling part of a cruel game, humiliating her all over again—and Ryder might be to blame. Has Brinley’s little crush turned into a huge mistake . . . or has she found the one guy worth trusting with her heart?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Brinley’s never been one of the popular crowd, but with her best friend Mason by her side, that’s never really mattered. And after a disastrous first kiss at the age of fifteen, she’s focused more on studying and making something of herself instead of making a fool of herself over a boy again. But when that boy shows up at her college and takes notice of her for the first time in years, he becomes impossible to avoid.
Oh no. The author lives here. That means I’m gonna see her a few months from now in H-E-B and be staring at her and wondering, “Why does she look so familiar? Is that someone from one of my old jobs?” She’ll be all creeped out because some crazy woman is staring at her in the grocery store, and I’ll probably never put two and two together.
Just a Little Crush is everything I love about New Adult Romance. If you look only at the most basic plot, it’s not incredibly different from others in its genre, but something about the story itself is so much better than I usually find.
Brinley is your classic unnoticed heroine. She’s smart and studious, not exactly outgoing but still friendly, and she has a great sense of humor without venturing into totally ridiculous territory. Her first kiss, back when she was more idealistic and naive, was with one of the most popular boys in her high school — thanks to a game of Spin the Bottle. But it didn’t lead to a happily ever after or instant popularity; it was instant humiliation, and that embarrassment has burned ever since. Now she’s off at college, a chance to make something of herself and leave high school and her drunk mother behind her, but it all seems to catch up with her when Ryder Briggs walks in.
Ryder is the boy every girl wanted — and still does. But his reaction to her mortification at fifteen was crushing, and she’s all but hated him ever since. So when he shows an unexpected interest in her now, she’s not sure what to make of it. However, he does everything right, showing what appears to be genuine friendship toward her, and he makes no secret of his attraction to her. His reputation as the campus ladies man has Brinley remaining cautious, but everything about him seems good and real, despite his insistence that he doesn’t deserve her, and … Well, we all know how that one usually goes.
Most books like this would have Ryder acting like a complete jerk, too smug and full of himself, too busy letting his eyes wander while Brinley begins to fall. But Just a Little Crush doesn’t rely so heavily on that cliche, and what results is a romance I couldn’t put down. Of course, everything has to come crashing down at some point, right? If for no other reason than to make the happily ever after that much sweeter. And once again, using a plot twist not uncommon to these romances, that’s exactly what happens. Except the way this one plays out is different, and the way it’s written is so much better.
I love that Ryder was more than just some bad boy that Brinley needed to change. He was a typical, carefree college student who was simply a good guy at heart. His life wasn’t perfect, and while it certainly colored the way he approached (or in this case avoided) relationships, he didn’t use it as an excuse for bad behavior. And Brinley wasn’t an overdone wallflower, so unbelievably self-conscious or socially awkward that catching Ryder’s attention didn’t make sense. In that way, he didn’t have to change her, either, and it felt like when they were together, even at first when it was still a little awkward and even suspicious, they could simply be themselves and not worry about what other people saw or thought.
It’s really difficult to explain why I loved the story so much without giving away all the little surprises that set it apart from other New Adult Romance novels, so I’ll just say this… If you’re a fan of college romance, stories where the not-so-popular girl gets the campus king, and characters that are wonderfully normal, flawed, and often funny, this is the book for you. Buy it, read it, and then we can gush about it while impatiently waiting together for Fallon’s story.