The indie community is not without its drama, and last fall, some of it involved two authors who apparently were both writing books with a similar main idea. I don’t know details, I don’t know people involved; I only heard buzzings here and there. For some reason, the topic in question stuck in my head.
So when I saw the titles of Cambria Hebert’s series, it rang a bell. I might’ve just slid past it, but the blurb of the first book (#Nerd) struck a chord, and I downloaded it.
I’ve said before that I find some New Adult books somewhat formulaic. It doesn’t bother me, necessarily, as long as the characters are strong and the storyline doesn’t take itself too seriously. A few extra twists never hurt anyone, either.
#Nerd definitely has the formula element. The nerd is the girl, Rimmel (and it’s never addressed where her name came from. . .which I found interesting and a little maddening. If I knew a girl named Rimmel, the first thing I’d ask is where she got her name). She’s not only a nerd, she’s actually a very shy, withdrawn, almost-hermit girl, who dresses in clothes five sizes too big, wears her hair around her face and keeps everyone at arm’s length. As a matter of fact, in my school days, she wouldn’t have been termed a nerd, necessarily, as much as just ignored. In Buffy-lore, Rimmel would’ve gone invisible long before our story begins. But I digress.
She’s at a college in Maryland on scholarship, and of course part of that scholarship is the requirement to tutor her less-academically-minded students. And to whom is she assigned as a tutor? You guessed it. Hot, rich, popular football player, with heavy emphasis on PLAYER. Dude gets around. During their first study session in the library, he slinks off with a random chick and our poor little nerd spies him getting some action in the stacks.
(Side note to girls in college: if popular literature is accurate, get yourself on staff as a tutor to meet the man of your dreams. Apparently it never fails. You’re welcome.)
But our player, Roman, aka Romeo (and it’s a testament to how much I really liked his character, because I had a hard time taking him seriously with that nickname) turns out to have a heart of gold. He sees the sweet vulnerability in Rimmel, and something in him harkens to something in her. Deep cries unto deep, one might say.
Unfortunately, before this can really develop, there’s a complication in the form of a fraternity rushing initiation. Although this is not a belabored point, thankfully, it does play into both the rest of this book and the second one. There’s the twist, see?
I gobbled up all three books in about three days, so you can tell I enjoyed them. The characters were compelling, well-written and likable. The plot wasn’t shocking or earth-shattering, but it was viable and interesting. The use of the fictional college’s BuzzFeed, a texting gossip network work that uses way too many hashtags, was cute and added to the background.
If I had any reservations about these books, it would be the speed with which Rimmel transforms from hermit-girl to girlfriend of popular dude. We find out why she’s hiding under all those clothes fairly quickly after she and Romeo begin dating, and while I am all for the theory of love-cures-all, I needed her to be a little more real in her reservations. Then again, maybe in real life, any girl who was full-court-press pursued by our man Romeo would cave fast, too.
A fourth book is coming out in May, about one of the side characters. I really enjoyed the supporting cast in these books, including Romeo’s parents. I like this new trend in NA of letting the parents play a bigger role. It feels more realistic to me.
So if you enjoy New Adult romance with a little humor, some heaty heat (oh, yeah!) and some intense love. . .if you liked Beautiful Disaster, for instance. . .check out Cambria Hebert’s Hashtag series.
I’m off to skulk for something else to read. Oh, yeah. . .and write the book that’s under deadline right now.