Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross

SUMMARY: I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

OPINION: This book was so dang cute, and hilarious. Isabel cracked me up so much, from the often cut and dry way she saw things, and even her trying to learn sarcasm - and spout it back out - just had such an endearing element for me. As utterly brilliant as she is, it's clear how much basic socializing she's missed out on, and how awkward and rash she can come off as. There is such a well done mix between this intelligent, driven girl and someone who doesn't always see past the next step - and therefore can't see how their current actions might have effects further down. With that, there is a really great character arc, this huge moment of growth for her throughout this, built on that but not only reliant upon it.

And Marshall. Oh, melty sigh. He is so perfect for Isabel, willing to handle her weirdness, her out of sync personality, but also falling for her pretty dang quickly. He is charming and funny, sweet and sensitive, that perfect blend of kind of cocky but mostly just genuinely kind. He teaches Isabel about so much, and my favorite thing about them is how it isn't really only bedroom based. Though there is certainly heat between them, neither one jumps right into bed, and there is definitely an overall slow burn between them. There is a lot of sexual tension to this one, but I found it more sweet than sexy, which only made me love it more.

Despite Isabel being a child prodigy, and having her MD at just eighteen, there are so many relatable things about her and her story, this girl who has so much to learn and even if sometimes she's a bit petulant, overall, she just wants to work things out and better herself. Her interactions with Justin cracked me up, the guy who is essentially her nemesis on intern rotation, and the other prodigy who ends up getting a residency while she doesn't. He antagonizes her so often, and she reciprocates, but there is still just this great element between them that lured me in. And going from a physical only, otherwise annoyed beyond belief with each other relationship with Justin to what becomes so much more with Marshall really only made Marshall shine even more.

There are a few plots woven throughout this one, but the character arcs shine the most for me. Isabel goes through such a solidly done, tremendous change, and Marshall even goes through his own changes, and the pair together is a new favorite of mine. The pacing is great, and this is a book I read straight through in a sitting. With a wit throughout the writing and a great voice that is so very Isabel, this one has so much going for it and absolutely delivered.

Source: Netgalley
Pages: 240 (ebook)
Publisher: Flirt (Random House)
Publication Date: March 25, 2014

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