Title: Begin Again (Again #1)
Author: Mona Kasten
Release Date: October 10th, 2017
Age Category/ Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Bastei Entertainment
He makes the rules. She breaks them all.
A new start. It’s the only thing keeping Allie Harper going, when she packs up her life and moves across the country to Woodshill, Oregon. She’s about to start college, desperate to leave the ghosts of her past behind her. Even if that means never talking to her parents again.
Now the hard part – finding an apartment before classes start. Just when it seems she’ll have to live out of her car, Allie visits one more place. It’s beautiful. With one exception: can she stand being roommates with campus bad boy Kaden White? Sure, Kaden is sexy with his tattoos and careless attitude, but he’s also an arrogant jerk. With nowhere else to go, Allie moves in.
The first thing Kaden does is make a set of rules. Either Allie obeys, or she’s out:
1. Don’t talk about your girl problems.
2. Keep your mouth shut if I bring someone home.
3. We will NEVER hook up.
Easy enough, thinks Allie. Who would want to get involved with a brute like Kaden? But the more she gets to know him, the more she sees beyond his gruff facade. He, too, is harboring some painful secrets. For Kaden and Allie, it gets harder and harder to ignore the sparks between them. And the lines between the rules start to blur-
Begin Again is a beautiful romance that shows us just how possible it is to start over. To find freedom in heartbreak and love in the most unlikely places.
2 “Listen to your friend” Stars
ARC via NetGalley. Thank you!
I can see Begin Again being big during the NA golden years a while back. It had the key elements: young people going to college and making dubious choices, lots of drama, bad boy hero and a nice girl heroine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for me now.
I’m not saying I’m over New Adult. I’m not. I read two NA books this week alone that I absolutely loved, but they didn’t feel as stilted as Begin Again.
I understand this book was initially written in German, so I’m blaming the stilted and sometimes uncomfortable dialogue on translation problems, but I don’t think I can blame translation for the rest of the issues I had with this book.
First, I didn’t dislike Ally, but I didn’t like her, either. She lacked the backbone needed to make me connect with her. Spineless main characters are one of my biggest pet peeves, and the way Ally let her family and Kaden walk all over her didn’t work for me.
Kaden…Well, Kaden, I’m all in for alpha males, but you took things a little too far, huh, buddy? Kaden is a jerk. There’s no nice way to say it. To his credit, he admits to being one. To my credit, his reason to being a jerk didn’t convince me.
Kaden’s trauma wasn’t big enough to justify his actions, especially one toward the ending—the break up scene. What he did was cruel, unnecessary and I was Scott (Ally’s friend and the most sensible person in this story) the entire time after Ally confessed what Kaden did to her.
Scott is the best part of this story. His constant “Sorry, people, but that doesn’t work for me” comments about Kaden’s behaviors gave me life.
I felt represented by Scott throughout this story, because he wouldn’t go all “aww, cute” whenever Kaden showed up after screwing up. He’d try to make Ally see some sense, though that seemed to be a lost battle.
I did enjoy some of the moments between Kaden and Ally mid-book, because I thought he was progressing toward opening up to her and being less rude for no apparent reason. But then he’d do something stupid and I’d take that step back.
Maybe if Ally had been more sure of herself and stood up for what she wanted, I could’ve enjoyed this book. But with Kaden being a jerk and Ally lacking a backbone, plus the problems with the dialogue, this book was a lost battle for me.
Guest review contributed by U.S. – Brazil Book Review. As a book review diplomat of sorts, this blogger reviews books in English and Portuguese. If there’s romance in the book, she’s probably loving it.