I can’t use it as an excuse for not being caught up on my book reviews, but the Kansas summer is currently uncomfortably hot. I’m in between summer road trips, so I’m mostly staying in with the air conditioning and reading. However, there has also been exercise, gaming, and a little bit of Portlandia, so I’m finally doing other things besides binge reading. This book, however, kept me up way past my bedtime.
A tech geek awaiting trial for insider trading decides to help a struggling mother and her two kids get to a math competition, and in doing so, gains a different perspective on life and himself. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The Good Stuff
I loved this book so much. While there’s definitely a romance to it and a little bit of comedy, it has a poignancy that takes it to another level of fiction. The characters are engaging, quirky, and multi-dimensional, and the way each chapter is told from a different point of view gives the reader insight and empathy for each one. Even the two kids are great, each well written with a personality of their own.
The story has all the feels, not just the gushy romance ones, but sadness and anger as well. Jess doesn’t have it easy. She’s a single mom who can barely make ends meet, can’t get her ex-husband to pay child support, and can’t get the police to do anything about the boys bullying her stepson. She works all the time to just barely feed her family, and yet she still tries to do everything in her power for her children, even if it means doing something she might not normally do…even if she knows it’s wrong.
Ed is a fabulous hero who doesn’t start out to be a hero. Though book smart, he’s slightly socially inept and a little selfish. When he reaches out to help Jess, it’s outside of his comfort zone, which means conflict and delicious angst.
The Romance Factor
The romance in this was well developed and well paced, and…not going to lie…I melted. Ed and Jess’ interactions are so honest and difficult at times, that when their relationship develops, there are moments that just got me in the feels. There was one scene in particular where Jess propositions Ed and is, for reasons, rejected. Such feels. 5/5
The Steam Factor
There was not a great deal of description when it came to the more steamy scenes, but then again, the relationship didn’t lend itself to hot sexy times. The intimate moments between Ed and Jess were just that…a way to develop their intimacy and to get close to each other and to show that they were truly happy when they were together. Because of that sweet sensuality, I’m giving the SF a 3/5.
This book made me happy. Not all of the moments. I cried, I laughed, I felt sick at some of the things Jess’ family had to go through, but when I got to the end of this book, I felt so much joy and satisfaction from having read it that I wanted to go back and read it again. I didn’t, because it was time to move on…but I wanted to.