So I’ve exhausted all the Kristan Higgins books until August (August! Do you know how long away that is?? Does she not care for my well-being??), Alice Clayton has nothing until the fall, and Nora’s next hardback isn’t out until April. What’s a girl to do? I was relegated to trolling the scrolls at the ‘Zon.
I came across a promising looking book called Stupid Girl by Cindy Miles. It was NA con rom, and those don’t usually let me down. I started it one morning, and the beginning pulled me in.
Now I have to admit, there’s nothing new here. It’s what I call formula NA: girl arrives at college hiding some horrible event from her past. There’s usually a death somewhere, whether it’s her high school boyfriend, her sibling, her parent, a random passer-by. . .whatever. We got the angst going, right? And then once at college, this girl, who usually is a virgin, or at least very inexperienced and often considers herself shy or plain or a geek, has a meet-cute with The Hottest Guy On Campus. Yes, he has a title that must be written in all caps. And this dude, who is a major player and sleeps with anything that moves, falls suddenly and deeply in love with our hometown sad girl.
Of course, she’s warned off him by her friends, by classmates, by his exes and by random passers-by (not dead ones. Usually.). But she doesn’t listen because she is In Love, and although she’s afraid of a) being hurt b) him finding out her angsty secret c) being made a fool of in front of entire school, she risks it all. But dang it if a, b and sometimes c don’t happen, and then we have more angst and will they end up together? Of course they will. This is con rom.
Don’t get me wrong. I happen to love me some good formula NA books. If done right, they grab you and stick in your mind for months. But they must include some crucial elements: strong, believable characters, a little humor so we don’t get too bogged down in the angsty-angst, and a story arc that makes us root for the Couple Least Likely To Succeed.
I’m happy to report that Stupid Girl covered most of those bases. I liked both Olivia and Brax. I liked that Olivia had a great passion–astronomy–which made her more than just a two-dimensional cutout girl. The story arc made sense, and there was enough of the funny to keep me from sobbing into my tea the whole book long.
On the negative side, some of the plot was a tad contrived, and there was a part near the end that felt too vague. I was hoping girlfriend would say, “Umm. . .what? Can you be a little more clear?” But she didn’t, and I was left having to trust that his explanation somehow made sense to her. Also, the side characters, which are so important in these books, felt a little flimsy. Olivia’s roommate was a tad stereotypical and there was not enough build-up to their relationship.
But overall, if you need a fast and fun NA, and you don’t mind a little pathos, try Stupid Girl. I may gamble on the next book in the series, too. Stay tuned.