Author: Shay Savage
Publication Date: August 9, 2014
Blurb: I have to be the best. I am the best. I’m quick. I’m strong. I’m smart. I’m the star keeper of my high school soccer team, and I’ve got major leagues scouting me. As their captain, my teammates will do anything I say – on or off the field. Girls practically beg to be added to my list of conquests. As long as I manage to go pro for the best team in the world, I won’t have to worry about my father’s wrath. I’m Thomas Malone, and I’ve seen to it that the world revolves around me. There’s a new girl at school, and it’s just a matter of time before she gives in to my charm. This one’s just a little more stubborn than most – she won’t even tell me her name! She’s smart, too. Maybe too smart. I can’t let her in. I can’t let anybody in. I’m not too worried, but even I have to admit she’s interfering with my focus on the goal. Dad’s not going to be happy about that. Did I mention I love Shakespeare? Yeah, I know. I’m a walking contradiction. According to the Bard – “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Somehow, I got all three. Now how is anyone supposed to live up to that?
There is so much I want to say about this book. I literally don’t know where to start. The book begins with Thomas being the worst of the worst. He is the type of guy every mom warns their daughters about- in short he is complete dick! He is popular, wealthy, handsome, selfish, arrogant, angry, and athletic. He puts off this image of the kid who has everything and everyone is jealous of that- he knows he’s at the top of everything. However, Thomas hides a very real and very troubling home life.
Enter, Nicole, she is new to Thomas’ school and she wants nothing to do with him, which of course makes her all that more intriguing to Thomas. She is beautiful, intelligent, selfless, and completely uninterested in Thomas. Slowly, Nicole is able to peel back Thomas’ defenses and find the vulnerable and caring guy he hides. She sees his horrendous attitude as the defense mechanism it is and finds she likes the guy underneath.
I felt the connection these two shared. It was tangible and thrilling. I was so enthralled with their story and their character arcs. I had to keep reading. The chemistry and shared insecurities is breathtaking between Thomas and Nicole. Some of their interactions were so intense and heartbreaking that I would find myself rereading the part just because it was so beautifully written. Thomas and Nicole face some grueling challenges together, which only brings them closer together. They grow as characters. Thomas realizes that Nicole is the one that keeps him grounded and keeps him from continuing to be the horrible person he was becoming.
The ending was just amazing! It was sweet and wonderful. The entire book is told from Thomas’ POV, which I actually liked. Usually I like alternating POVs but in this narrative it really worked well. You are able to see Thomas grow as a person. You can watch his arc develop over the course of the novel, making it all that more endearing.
The entire narrative brought out this hilarious banter between Nicole and Thomas- along with a tenderness that reaches the reader in such a gripping way. The characters go through intense struggles but they come out stronger and together. I guarantee you will be pulled into this story and have a serious book hangover after reading it. Savage is a master at evoking strong emotional reactions from her readers, which I definitely felt. It is a long book but it is worth the time spent reading it. I find myself coming back to this novel when I need a good romance read. I’ve read it multiple times and will probably read it many more times.