REVIEW: Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson
Dear Ms. Gibson,
After Jennie did a review of “Not Another Bad Date,” I saw her grade and mentally wilted a little. In fact, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to read it at that point. But after starting, and stopping, a horrible historical – asshole hero plus virgin martyr widow! – I thought, “why not?” It can’t be any worse, right? Ouch, I think I’ll stop that line of thinking at this point. Anyway, I picked it up ::shrugged:: and dove in.
I’m just going to recap what I liked and, unfortunately, what I didn’t like. I love Zach’s interactions with Tiff. Bra shopping, make-up, boys! oh noes. He’s trying – and floundering – but trying. I found it totally understandable that Tiff doesn’t want another woman in Zach’s life. She didn’t have him in hers for years and now he’s her only parent. Any other woman would be The Other Woman to her.
As well, Adele’s interactions with Kendra make sense. They’ve not spent a great deal of time together so they’re not immediately best buds or totally in synch about what Kendra wants for breakfast. Kendra and Tiff are typical 13 year olds. They want to grow up far faster than their parents would like. Boys, makeup, periods, still having slightly immature fallings out and falling apart if you don’t make whatever team you’re trying out for. They like things one day and hate them the next.
In fact I liked most of the interactions between the characters. Adele loves her sister and would do anything for her but those endless ‘to do’ lists might just drive her crazy. Zach gets along great with his coaching staff but Joe needs to calm the locker room tirades to get the best effort from the players. Zach issues orders to the dance team at the cookout like they’re football players at drill time. I can see all of this.
Then there’s Football (intentionally capitalized) and Texas. Oh Lord, yes. Here’s your Amen! Everything I’ve ever heard or seen or been told about the combination of the two seems accurate here. The game is next to religion and any coach who can deliver a winning season – high school, college or pro – is elevated to a higher plane than most mortals.
Zach and Devon – okay it’s not great that he had affairs but she knew, didn’t care and I could hardly expect him to go for years with no sex. I don’t disagree with Jennie’s assessment here. I’m tired of the fact that this seems to occur often in contemporaries. However, it’s not a deal breaker for me. Having seen first hand the effect that a bad marriage can have on children, I think these two made the best choice to live apart. I guess you could say I’m lukewarm about this aspect of the story.
I LOVE that Adele doesn’t initially give into lust for Zach. She knows it’s bad to start a relationship and she actually manages to walk away. To turn and talk to someone else. To keep from standing like and idiot with drool running down her chin while she thinks how hawt he is. Praise Jesus and thank you Ms. Gibson. But…while Zach restrains himself initially, once he started going for Adele, he intensely pushed past her definite ‘noes’ maybe a little too much for my comfort. Bonus points for the crotchless gift that Zach gives Adele. Every woman should have one.
So, we’ve got some pluses and minuses but things were balancing out on the positive side until you had to do it. You had to have Adele get preggers despite two forms of birth control. And twins! Well, why not go all the way? < /sarcasm > One broken condom, one time and Zach’s super swimmers defeat an IUD that might or might not have suddenly dislocated. When Zach goes ballistic I can understand it. When he does a quick turn around in thoughts from ‘hell-no, no way do I want to become involved with babies and marriage’ to ‘can’t live without her’ after Adele is gone for two days I don’t believe it. That quick a change? Nope, not buying it.
As for the paranormal aspect? Well, it could have been worse. Like Jennie I ended up not hating it and actually chuckling a few times. But thanks for not dragging us back to scenes at Walmart too often.
One thing I think you do well overall and well here is dialogue. I love the funny exchanges between Zach and Adele.
Instead, he moved toward her, grabbed her hand, and pressed the glass into her palm.
“What’s this?” she asked, and glanced up from the wine and into his face.
“Wine,” he answered. “I thought you could use it.”
“I don’t supposed telling you I don’t want wine will make a difference.”
“Sure it will.” He shrugged one big shoulder. “Are you an alcoholic?”
“No,” she answered, as the girls began to drag themselves out of the water and move toward the far end of the pool, where Tiffany handed out thick white towels.
“One of those girls who gets drunk and wants to get naked?”
“That’s a shame.”
She smiled despite herself.
“When I looked up into the bleachers and saw you, I couldn’t believe you were there.” He pressed his thumbs into her arch and massaged little circles. “I’m glad I didn’t see you until the second half.”
“Seeing you added about ten times more pressure to the game.” He lifted her foot and kissed her instep. “I didn’t want to screw it up and lose in front of you.”
Soap bubbles slid down the side of her foot and ankle. She looked at him, sitting across from her and kissing her foot, and something warm and bubbly slid next to her heart. “You mean, you didn’t want to lose in front of the whole town.”
“That too, but mostly I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of you.” His thumbs moved over her heel and he pressed his lips to her arch. He turned his head to one side, and said, “When I used to play football, I didn’t have to worry about impressing women. Hell, I think you’re the only woman I’ve ever tried to impress,” He softly bit her instep. “First at UT, and now here.”
Her eye lids suddenly felt heavy. “Are you trying to impress me right now?”
“Why else do you think I’m sitting here, smelling like a rose garden and surrounded by girly bubbles.”
Stuff like this went a long way to bringing my final grade back up. B