FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Harlequin (via NetGalley).
Series: 2B Trilogy
Publisher: Harlequin HQN on November 25, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.
Max knows about feeling lost—he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything….
It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
While in many ways Courtney is Everygirl, she’s also an extremely interesting character. She’s pretty but not drop-dead gorgeous. She’s social but not usually all that invested. She’s interested in both men and women, but her first love and high school boyfriend died when she was seventeen, and the woman she dated most recently made some pretty awful accusations against her. But her best friend Max, the gorgeous campus player, keeps her even keeled.
When Max’s grandfather dies, he finds himself going home for the first time since he was sixteen, and he has no idea what to expect — but he’s sure it will be some shade of awful. His friendship with Courtney seems casual on the surface, but there’s a deep line of support and genuine caring between them, and he looks to her to come with him and get him through whatever he’s going to have to face. Courtney hasn’t opened up about losing her first love, and Max hasn’t opened up about his past, but all that’s about to change.
I think what made me fall in love with this book — besides the fact that I’m a sucker for stories that have best friends falling in love — is Courtney. She’s described as having physical characteristics that many girls her age (and plenty of other ages as well) consider flaws. Her hair won’t cooperate — ever — and while she’s not what anyone would consider overweight, she’s a bit bottom heavy. She doesn’t have a pixie nose, mile-long legs, or any of the “All my imperfections are cute and endearing and ultimately perfect” traits that most romance novels hoist upon their main female characters.
Max is another story. He’s every bit the haunted, bad boy, chick magnet, playing the field piece of perfection every girl wants to tame, and Courtney can’t deny her attraction to him. But she also sees the girls he usually goes for, and she knows she’s not in their ranks. Of course, this is where the friendship comes in, and the depth of their love for each other — simply as friends at first — is the perfect foundation for a great romance.
But as with most friends who cross that relationship line, neither one is willing to immediately admit that they’re falling for each other. Courtney, who is no more or less insecure than any girl her age, figures she’s not up to par for Max. And Max, in that dense way that men seem to have perfected, realizes his attraction but doesn’t seem to do anything about it for a while. It’s that bit of hesitation, that initial denial or obliviousness or whatever you want to call it, that shows just how deep their friendship is and plays out the slow to emerge romance pretty believably.
I could probably go on and on, but suffice it to say, these two are absolutely lovable characters with problems and insecurities and all the standard obstacles that pop up when two friends are nearing something more. There’s off-beat humor, general silliness in the way that only friends can manage, and incredible chemistry when they finally admit and accept what they’ve become to each other. The very basic plot may be pretty standard, but the characters themselves are anything but, making The Shape of My Heart a stand-out new adult romance.