Genre: New Adult
Format: eARC from publisher
Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace (March 24, 2014)
Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.
It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.
Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.
Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.
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If Only by AJ Pine is a new adult contemporary romance. But don’t let the fact that this book is a NA romance keep you from reading it if that’s not your genre of choice. Because this book is good – really good – and you will enjoy it.
The book follows Jordan Brooks, a twenty-year-old college student studying English literature for a year in Aberdeen, Scotland. She is there not only to enjoy her favorite books in their natural setting, but also to try to break out of her shell and live life up a bit while she is away. Life grabs a hold of her on the train ride from London to Aberdeen and doesn’t let her go for the year she’s abroad.
Jordan meets two men on the train – Griffin and Noah. She connects with both in different ways and as she navigates the streets of her new home she must also navigate the tricky corners of a love – well, not a triangle, really – more like a parallelogram. It’s complicated.
The complications are what AJ Pine writes so well in this novel. Nothing is cut and dried, no one is perfect, and the flaws that drive Jordan insane with pleasure one minute have her gnashing her teeth the next. While the story deals with a lot of up and down emotion, they are never overdone and are mostly believable and relatable. I was able to feel good and bad for everyone involved which is a neat trick for a new adult romance (where over-the-top emotions and poor decision making usually drive me crazy).
Jordan is a likable girl, despite her flaws. She has a decent head on her shoulders and is in love with English as much as anything. The books mentioned in this novel are terrific, and her and Noah’s relationships with the classic pieces add depth and enjoyment to the story as a whole. You can’t not love a boy who carries a copy of The Great Gatsby around in his back pocket.
And speaking of the boy (I won’t spoil which one is Jordan’s main focus), he was delightful. Infuriating and frustrating at times, but also completely adorable and sweet.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys NA, English literature, and/or the conflict of having to choose between love(r)s. It is well written and edited.
“I think we both know that sex could be a game changer for our situation. Maybe there will be a cosmic sign, a new constellation that will form just to let me know tonight is the night. Until then, I’ll keep checking the skies.”