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REVIEW: Wait for You by J. Lynn

Dear Ms. Lynn:

I’m beginning to think there was a secret ceremony attended by a bunch of NA novelists at which they all swore on a copy of first edition of Twilight to include at least six of the following plot points in their books:

1) the heroine must be, in some way, socially awkward or shy. It’s a plus if she doesn’t realize how gorgeous she is.

2) upon arriving at school, she immediately meets cute the biggest babe magnet on campus. It’s a plus if he needs academic tutoring.

3) the babe magnet is incredibly drawn to the heroine despite the fact that she’s not his “type.”

4) the young woman is incredibly drawn to the hero despite the fact that he’s not her “type.”

5) there is some obstacle keeping them from dating.

6) one and/or the other has something in their past they are hiding from the other. It’s a plus if it’s one of those “I blame myself for something awful thing” sort of thing.

7) at some point, one/and or the other will be wasted and will say things he or she would never say sober. It’s a minus if sex occurs during or right after this revelation.

8) they finally hook up and then break up.

9) the past is RESOLVED. It’s a plus if evil parents were the problem and the young woman/young man stands up to them and then exits hand in hand with the young woman/young man.

10) they bonk like bedazzled bunnies and live happily for now.

Wait for You hews to this ten step program fairly closely.

Wait for You by J. LynnAvery Morgansten runs into tall, yummy Cameron Hamilton the first day of school as she’s barreling into her Astronomy class.

Something strong and hard went around my waist, stopping my free fall. My bag hit the floor, spilling overpriced books and pens across the shiny floor. My pens! My glorious pens rolled everywhere. A second later I was pressed against the wall.

The wall was strangely warm.

The wall chuckled.

“Whoa,” a deep voice said. “You okay, sweetheart?”

The wall was so not a wall. It was a guy. My heart stopped and for a frightening second, pressure clamped down on my chest and I couldn’t move or think. I was thrown back five years. Stuck. Couldn’t move. Air punched from my lungs in a painful rush as tingles spread up the back of my neck. Every muscle locked up.

“Hey,” the voice softened, edged with concern. “Are you okay?”

I forced myself to take a deep breath—to just breathe. I needed to breathe. Air in. Air out. I had practiced this over and over again for five years. I wasn’t fourteen anymore. I wasn’t there. I was here, halfway across the country.

Two fingers pressed under my chin, forcing my head up. Startling, deep blue eyes framed with thick, black lashes fixed on mine. A blue so vibrant and electric, and such a stark contrast against the black pupils, I wondered if they were real.

And then it hit me.

A guy was holding me. A guy had never held me. I didn’t count that one time, because that time didn’t count for shit, and I was pressed against him, thigh to thigh, my chest to his. Like we were dancing. My senses fried as I inhaled the light scent of cologne. Wow. It smelled good and expensive, like his…

Anger suddenly rushed through me, a sweet and familiar thing, pushing away the old panic and confusion. I latched onto it desperately and found my voice. “Let. Go. Of. Me.”

Cam has the same class as Avery but she is so overwhelmed by their encounter and her fears she sprints away from him and the class. Later that day, she again has a dramatic meeting with Cam. This time, he almost runs her over with his big silver truck. He offers her a ride, but, again, she can’t get away from him fast enough.

Avery finds, however, she can’t avoid Cam because he lives in the apartment two doors down from hers. But Cam has a tortoise named Raphael which combined with his “baby blues” and his “eight pack” abs helps Avery to relax around Cam just a tiny bit. Slowly, the two become friends.

Cam falls for Avery almost as soon as he meets her. He bakes her cookies, calls her sweetheart, is kind and patient, tells her she’s pretty, and is pretty much perfect. He teases her and flirts with her but never pushes her anywhere she’s not, albeit cautiously, ready to go. If you like your heroes tall, gorgeous, and flawless, you’ll fall hard for Cam. I don’t like flawless heroes, so I found him a bit boring.

The book is told in first person by Avery, a narration Ms. Lynn does a good job with. We get to know not only Cam, but Avery’s new best buds, Jacob and Brittany. Jacob is gay and portrayed in a nicely non-cliched way. Brittany is a typical college girl whose function, I think, is to give Avery a way to talk through her changing feelings about Cam. The story flows smoothly and the Avery’s voice offers enough detail to keep the reader on top of the story but not so much that the POV seems forced.

Ms. Lynn writes engaging, witty dialogue although it often doesn’t sound authentic. Everyone knows just what to say, is self-aware, and there’s never any arguing over trivial things. Here, a week into knowing each other, Avery awakes to find Cam knocking on her door so he may cook her breakfast.

“Cam, what are you doing? It’s eight in the morning.”

“Thanks for the update on the time.” He headed straight for my kitchen. “It’s one thing I’ve never been able to master: the telling of time.”

I frowned as I padded after him. “Why are you here?”

“Making breakfast.”

“You can’t do that in your own kitchen?” I ask, scrubbing at my eyes. After the astronomy assignment and the phone call, he was the last person I wanted to see at a buttcrack time in the morning.

“My kitchen isn’t as exciting as yours.” He put his stuff on the counter and faced me. His hair was damp and curlier than normal. How was it possible for him to look so good when it was obvious he’d just rolled out of bed and showered? There wasn’t even a dusting of morning scruff on his smooth cheeks. And he made sweats and a plain old tee shirt look damn good. “And Ollie is passed out on the living room floor.”

“On the floor?”

“Yep. Face down, snoring and drooling a little. It’s not an appetizing atmosphere.”

“Well, neither is my apartment.” He needed to go. He had no business being here.

Cam leaned against my counter, folding his arms. “Oh, I don’t know about that…” His gaze moved from the top of my disheveled head and all the way down to the tips of my curled toes. It was like a physical touch, causing my breath to catch. “Your kitchen, right this second, is very appetizing.”

A flush crawled across my cheeks. “I’m not going out with you, Cam.”

“I didn’t ask you at this moment, now did I?” One side of his lips curved up. “But you will eventually.”

My eyes narrowed. “You’re delusional.”

“I’m determined.”

“More like annoying.”

“Most would say amazing.”

I rolled my eyes. “Only in your head.”

By the novel’s end, Avery and Cam have reached step ten (although there were no condoms involved, a minus for me). When I finished it, I felt I’d read a well-written typical New Adult novel. It didn’t do much for me but it didn’t bother me either.  I’d have enjoyed it more if Cam was a bit less man-god and the plot not quite so calculable. I continue to think I’m not the right audience for NA, perhaps because I have four new adults of my own, all currently at home, and creating an unbelievable amount of dirty laundry. Books about their age group aren’t escapism for me; they’re a reminder I need, for the third time this week, to go to the grocery store.

I give Wait for You a B-. If you like New Adult, you’ll probably like Ms. Lynn’s novel.

Sincerely,

Dabney

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I loved romances when, back in the mid 70's, in junior high, I read every Barbara Cartland novel I could check out from the library. Then, thanks to a savvy babysitter, I got my hands on the hot stuff. To this day I can remember how astonishingly steamy I found Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love. I abandoned romance when I went to college and didn't pick one up again until 2007 when I got my first Kindle. Since then, I’ve read countless romances; loved many, liked more, hated some. Most of what I read is historical and contemporary romance, but I’m open to almost any genre. I like my books to have sizzle, wit, and plots that make sense. I’d take sexy over sweet any day. I’m a sucker for smart heroes and smart-mouthed heroines. When not reading or writing about reading, or wishing I could rule the world, I'm meddling in the lives of my kids--I have four, ages 17 to 21--, managing my husband's practice, doing bossy volunteer work, and hanging out with Dr. Feelgood.

25 Comments

  1. Jessica
    May 25, 2013 @ 11:30:22

    This sounds like a cross between Pushing the Limits (book) and The Gilmore Girls (TV).

  2. Dabney
    May 25, 2013 @ 11:55:57

    @Jessica: Heh.

  3. Meri
    May 25, 2013 @ 12:13:04

    Tammara Webber may not have been present for the ceremony. Trish Doller, too.

    I’m tempted to buy this if only because there’s a pet that is not a dog (or a cat) – yay for originality. OTOH, the excerpts aren’t really doing it for me.

    Unlike Jessica, I’m not seeing any resemblance to Pushing the Limits. More like Catching Jordan, maybe?

  4. Luce
    May 25, 2013 @ 12:25:45

    Like you, I’d have been bored reading about Cam’s efforts to woo Avery. Also, the plot being so… I don’t know… by-the-numbers.

    It wasn’t until after seeing your list of the ten plot points in most (all?) NA books that I realized the exact reason why NA isn’t for me.

    I do understand that every genre must have a certain set of rules in order for it to classified as such. However, from what I’ve seen, the way NA authors stick to the plot points are a complete turn off.

    Hopefully, someone will write an NA novel that won’t follow that genre’s structure so much to the T. It’s unfortunate, really, because I like to champion new authors and I’m always in the lookout for something new to read.

  5. Dabney
    May 25, 2013 @ 12:48:19

    @Luce: Perhaps as the genre evolves it will encompass more variation.

  6. Ann F.
    May 25, 2013 @ 13:20:19

    You’ve just summed up every reason I don’t care for YA books. Maybe I’ve just had the unfortunate luck to pick ones that always follow that general theme but being in my mid 30′s I find those recurring themes childish, uninventive, and eye-rollingly boring.

  7. Rachel
    May 25, 2013 @ 13:22:39

    I liked this book, but I agree that a lot of the plot devices are evident in most NA books. One that I read and enjoyed and thought was different than a lot of others, was The Stillness of You, by Julie Bale. The heroine is bipolar and I thought it did a good job portraying a young woman, newly diagnosed with a not so squeaky clean past.

  8. CK
    May 25, 2013 @ 14:10:38

    “Books about their age group aren’t escapism for me; they’re a reminder I need, for the third time this week, to go to the grocery store.” I’d love to be just a little trendy once in a while, but, yeah, that’s so me and you’ve reminded me that I have to go store. Again. :)

  9. Mom on the Run
    May 25, 2013 @ 14:41:35

    Not for me either, and the whole first person thing in this genre is so not my bag of rocks. And I also have 4 NA’s, who, thankfully are all no longer under my roof, although 2 of them are still money sucking parasites. I’ve cut my wine consumption in half since they left, so I don’t have to go to the store as often. Best wishes for surviving the summer.

  10. Ridley
    May 25, 2013 @ 14:57:54

    My pens! My glorious pens rolled everywhere.

    Anyone else’s mind replay this Kids in the Hall sketch after seeing that line, or is it only me?

  11. Jenny
    May 25, 2013 @ 15:44:29

    I’ve bought several NA books because they always sound so promising, but so far I haven’t been wowed by any of them. They are all okay, but nothing great and they are all definitely rather similar almost to the point of being interchangeable. I did read this book as I like this author’s YA offerings, but I didn’t love it. The no condoms thing really bothered me and I think that really tainted the latter bit of the book because I kept worrying she was going to wind up pregnant.

  12. Dabney
    May 25, 2013 @ 15:53:44

    @Ridley: Yes!

  13. KT Grant
    May 25, 2013 @ 16:15:14

    I adored Cam because he wasn’t a douche and wanted to be friends with Avery first. Also his cooking and baking skills, aka cookies had me smiling. I felt it had a different spin on the typical blah de blah NA out there.

    Too bad Cam and Avery didn’t sit in a beautiful field of flowers though. That would be step 11 of the Twilight rules.

  14. Dabney
    May 25, 2013 @ 16:17:09

    @KT Grant: I readily admit a bias against too perfect men. Cam was lovely; just too lovely for me.

  15. KT Grant
    May 25, 2013 @ 16:18:40

    @Dabney:

    Yes, Cam was a little too perfect, but those cookies of his won me over, more so than his eight pack.

  16. Maite
    May 25, 2013 @ 16:45:26

    I have one single question: is there any mention, at all, of the hero doing regular exercise in order to keep that eight-pack?
    Because after reading circa three hundred romance novels, I have come to the conclusion that most of them take place in this miracle land where men having muscles does not require regular exercise. I can get in soldiers or athletes, but the rest of them have no reason to be so physically perfect.

  17. Sandypo
    May 25, 2013 @ 16:59:02

    I don’t think that 10 step plot line is limited to YA or NA — it seems to be the general plot in 75% of the romances out there — maybe it’s slightly altered — they may not be students but you see the same general story line in Regency novels as well. Even on pirate ships there is a woman who wears glasses but is dazzling without them (but doesn’t know it) and a gorgeous pirate captain who falls for her, but…you know the rest.

    My problem is I’m a sucker for that general plot line. But it does get rather tiring after a while.

  18. Ros
    May 25, 2013 @ 18:56:01

    @Maite: I can’t speak for this book, but I’m reading Laura Florand’s wonderful The Chocolate Rose at the moment, and the hero is in the gym at 5am every day.

  19. Ellen
    May 25, 2013 @ 19:01:47

    @Maite:

    I have been reading Nora Roberts for years. In the beginning her “heroes” would be smokers, and even her heroines.
    Now she has them in the gym, working out by themselves and each other. She has gyms in their homes, she has her “inn” building a gym.
    I have actually been impressed by that, from smokers to gym rats.
    But I also wonder about all these gorgeous, long-legged heroines who seem to maintain the perfection with little to no effort.
    My ideal heroine would have cankles. Now, that’s a story I would read in a heartbeat, a cankle meet cute.
    The hero slips and falls at the feet of the heroine and his first thought is, “Oh, sturdy ankles, my kind of woman.”

  20. hapax
    May 25, 2013 @ 21:17:15

    he was the last person I wanted to see at a buttcrack time in the morning.

    I think this quote exemplifies is why NA is so not for me. iI keep reading this and thinking “what is that buttcrack doing there?”

    I mean, I get the general idea, it’s a riff on “crack of dawn.” And I’ll even concede that this very well may be authentic dialogue for today’s twentysomethings.

    But to me it sounds like forced “edginess”, vulgarity without meaning for vulgarity’s sake, and it makes me feel tired and cranky and OLD.

    None of which are emotions conducive to a happy romance experience.

  21. Elena
    May 26, 2013 @ 03:56:52

    Great review, Dabney! I have been reading NA for a while now and the more I read the more I find these books to be following the formula you describe. I am not giving up on NA yet, but I am getting more cautious what to read from it.

    I liked Wait for You, but there was nothing remarkable or amazing about it. I fully share your concern about the weaknesses and good features of this one.

  22. Angela Booth
    May 27, 2013 @ 00:58:52

    (snicker) Loved the review, especially the plot points. I’d rather gouge out my eyeballs with broken glass than read a New Adult novel; now I know why.

  23. Mary
    May 28, 2013 @ 12:57:18

    I’m sorry for being late, but I just wanted to comment that I’m a “new adult” myself, but this genre doesn’t appeal to me. YA I always felt I could find something that represented my experiences, but NA just doesn’t seem realistic or relevant to my or my friends experiences.
    Also I have never and will hopefully never say buttcrack time. That is just stupid.

  24. Carla
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 13:15:31

    I have to admit that I loved this book. To me it is always nice to go back in time and remember romance while in university. I loved the way JLynn wrote the hystory which made me check some if her books. She became one of my favorites now.

  25. Wait For You | J. Lynn | Book Review
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