💙 I read this for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2018 Reading Challenge, for the category of: New Adult Romance. For more info on this challenge, click here. 💙
I've been following this author's works since she was posting on Fictionpress under the name Tessandra, so when I found out that she had published something for real, I went out and bought her debut novel, RUSH ME. I've only previously "re-experienced" an author from online once, and it was not a positive reading experience, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Allison Parr's work. Would I still be charmed the way I had been as a never-been-kissed sixteen-year-old? Or would my jaded twenty-nine-year-old self scoff in the face of squee?
Spoiler: I didn't scoff. I embraced the squee.
I know some people think I hate everything I read, but I'm just very choosy in that I know what I like and what I hate in a book and I rate accordingly. This book... was everything I like. The story sounds a little ridiculous, but this author's stories have always required a certain degree of suspension of disbelief. She wrote a lot of wish fulfillment stories involving super romantic and unattainable heroes, like celebrities or royalty, in the vein of Meg Cabot's earlier works. They were trashy, yes, but with a lightness and a frothiness to them that was also witty and sharp, with a gossipy tone that made you feel like you were having cocktails with your best friend. This book, RUSH ME, is no exception.
Rachael Hamilton is working in New York as an intern for a publishing house and dreading her five-year high school reunion. She's an ordinary girl with a close-knit group of friends, worried parents, and a desire to live on her own and have security and stability, but not at the cost of her passions. One day, when meeting some of her drama friends at a club, she follows the wrong group and ends up gate-crashing a party being held at somebody's apartment. And that somebody is a professional football player. Or rather, a whole group of professional football players: the New York Leopards.
She ends up leaving pretty quickly after that, but not before leaving a certain "impression." And when she's forced to go back for her scarf the next day, head all but hung in shame, it starts the beginning of a long-term association with the Leopards football team, including their heartthrob quarterback, Ryan Carter. I'm a sucker for love-hate relationships, especially ones with lots of arguments and banter, and Ryan and Rachael do not fail to satisfy in this regard. Rachael is exceptionally witty and I loved her back and forths with Ryan. I also liked that when they argued, they also argued about real issues that were important - at least to them, like financial inequality, personal biases and stereotypes, and the use of protection in sex. This book actually has one of the most realistic reactions to unprotected sex that I've encountered in a romance novel, new adult or otherwise, so big ups for that.
There are so many good things to say about this book. I liked that Ryan wasn't a cheater and he wasn't an abusive jerk. When he catches Rachael kissing another man, he doesn't punch said man in the mouth. He talks to her about it first and gets upset, but he doesn't get physical. I liked that Rachael wasn't a virgin and had some sexual exploration of her own before committing to Ryan. I know some people aren't going to like that, but I found it very refreshing considering the legion of virginal heroines who consider the hero the be-all, end-all of sexual interactions. I loved the witty dialogues, the warm and close friendships, the good advice and female talks, the subverting of tropes. I liked that Rachael checked herself when she was slut-shaming another girl and I loved her confrontation with the ex-mean girl of her school and the result of the conversation that they finally ended up having. I loved that people actually talk about their problems in this book with each other. I loved it.
I'm kind of surprised that so many of my friends felt ambivalent about this book, because I really enjoyed it. The pages whizzed by, and I was utterly charmed by both the hero and the heroine. This is easily one of the better contemporary romances I've read, and definitely one of the top ten best new adult books I've read. I can't wait to read the other books in this trilogy and I'm desperately hoping that she has some new projects up her sleeve. Maybe revisiting some old Fictionpress stories?
4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars