Author: Abigail Strom
Rating: 3 - 3.5 / 5
Thanks to NetGalley and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-Op for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
It's sophomore year, and Claire Stone has sworn off romance. She's just gone through a breakup and she wants some time to find out who she is on her own. The only flaw in her plan is her friend (and hot quarterback) Will McKenna, who's a walking temptation to forget all about her singlehood pledge.
Will has had a thing for Claire since freshman year. Now that they're both single, he wants more from her than friendship. But Claire doesn't want to be anyone's girlfriend right now, and with football season underway, Will's got issues of his own to deal with.
When an injury on the field changes everything, Will and Claire are driven apart. But when the two of them end up trapped together in a snowstorm, they're forced to deal with each other again. Can they confront their feelings without ruining their friendship? Or will their friendship turn into something more?
I didn't realize how much I'd missed this series until I started reading Claire. I couldn't put it down, feeling as though I was part of the Hart University crew. I loved the way it started, the two characters feeling drawn to each other though they're both in a relationship with someone else. Weird, huh? That I especially liked that? Well, they don't cheat on their partner and while I'd go insane with rage in real life, I thought Claire and Will belonged to each other. I loved the way they thought about one another and wished for the other one to look inside his/her head.
Even though I usually dislike anything band or music related in books, I was surprised finding myself not complaining about the scenes in which Claire was on stage, performing with her band. Probably also because these scenes weren't dragged and had the right length. Same with the romance in Abigail Strom's book in general. The chemistry between the characters has got the right speed - nothing's rushed. I read another review saying the romance is more natural that way, and I totally agree. It's not like you're reading a fictional story, but a real one captured for everyone to read.
Will's a jerk. There, I said it. Because he really is - at least towards the end of the book. You'll know what I mean when you get to that point. I can't believe he acted the way he did. I liked him a lot and then I didn't and wanted to punch him in the face for saying the things he said, for acting the way he did. That was unlike him, and even though I could understand where his anger was coming from, he didn't have to take it out on Claire. Which was fine, really, because that way he was more of a realistic character to me - like a real teenage guy. Like any human being, really. Can't say I liked his behaviour, though. Same with Claire and her excuses. Gosh, that was annoying. Just make a move, girl. Why still hold on to your "Semester of Us" thing (she and Tamsin called it that - staying away from boys for a semester) when you're clearly liking Will? I didn't get it. And I kind of did. I'm confused, haha.
Anyway... While I generally liked the book, there was one thing I didn't like: The Thanksgiving scenario. Everything about it, honestly. It didn't feel right to me. Everything after what happened to Will didn't feel right to me. He wasn't himself anymore, Claire wasn't herself anymore either, suddenly all confident, and that house, those scenes. Sweet, fun and hot, definitely, but I'd have wished for other circumstances. I can't even really explain it. It was supposed to be supportive for Will, sure. But was it?
The friendships in this series are what made me feel like coming home to it, too. Their bound is so strong, I like the way the author managed to capture that in Rikki and now in Claire as well. Which is probably why I'll give Tamsin a try, though I'm not exactly interested in her story. I don't know why, but I know one thing: I'll most likely love her story once I give it a chance.