Published by Balzar + Bray, HarperTeen on April 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Source: ARC also obtained at a Blogger Christmas Party, ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours, Read in 2015
Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and (of course) romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine’s debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love.
Madison Parker is on fast-forward. Working toward a scholarship for a summer art program, she already has her future figured out. But when a visit from a family friend turns her life upside down, everything she thought she knew becomes blurred. All she wants is to stand still for a moment.
Jesse McMann is stuck on repeat. Reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band, Jesse divides his time between working as a barista and trying to find the inspiration to write music again. All he wants to do is move forward.
The night Maddie strolls into Jesse’s coffee shop after yoga class, the last thing on his mind is hooking up, but her smile and witty comebacks are hard to ignore. The spark between them is undeniable, but once-a-week flirting is hardly the stuff of epic romance.
Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett. When Jesse discovers that Gray’s girlfriend is also Maddie’s best friend, he invites Gray to join his band as their new drummer, hoping this connection will give him more time around Maddie. Slowly but surely, Jesse and Maddie forge a friendship, but do they have what it takes to make their relationship truly sync?
~ While looking over my notes for Robin Constantine’s The Promise of Amazing, I had made note of how much I liked Maddie and Jazz, friend’s of TPoA star, Wren. Both girls have a lot of personality, and I thought Maddie made for a very unique and interesting protagonist.
~ The book opens with Maddie and Wren taking a yoga class taught by a particular yummy instructor, which is possibly the only way you could get me to go to a class and try to be bendy and balanced in front of other people (I am neither).
~ Immediately after the yoga class, Maddie and Wren go to the cafe next door- Mugshot, where we meet Broody Barista boy Jesse- who will eventually be the love interest.
~ But not at first. Unlike a lot of other YA romances, both Maddie and Jesse have some shiz going on, and while they both seem to notice the other, Jesse is still hung up on his ex, and Maddie has a sort of kind of boyfriend, whom she basically treats like a little something something on the side. That’s right- a girl treats a boy like a casual hookup. And it’s the boy, Zach, who gets his feelings all hurt at being physically objectified by Maddie.
~ Although I understood Maddie’s treatment of Zach, she really just wasn’t that into him. Which was fine at first, it seemed to be a mutually beneficial relationship, but once it became clear that Zach felt more for Maddie than friends with benefits, she just kept running away. Which I disliked, but felt was totally within character for her. And even when Maddie is callus and cruel to Zach (not quite like the dude that broke up with Carrie on Sex in the City with a post-it note, but equally cringe-worthy), it’s clear that she just has no clue at that point. Because she’s a teenager, and she doesn’t have things figured out, or really at that point, even realize that she doesn’t. It was so realistic, and something I think that makes Maddie relateable, even if not entirely likeable at that point.
~ Jesse, meanwhile, is still reeling from his ex-girlfriend hooking up with the ex-drummer of his band. And for some reason the author didn’t make ONE single reference to Duncan wanting “Jessie’s Girl”, which disappointed me. Even teens of today know that song, right? Or am I really just that old?
~ So Maddie had to work on her relationship avoidance with Zach, her mom’s new career training, and finally dealing with the subject of the father she didn’t know she had. So that’s a lot. And Jesse has to work on getting over Hannah, accepting that maybe their love wasn’t as great as he’s remembered it to be, and putting his band back together.
~ Which is how Maddie and her friends connect with Jesse- not only do they drink his coffee concoctions, but Wren’s boyfriend, Gray, tries out to be the new drummer of Jesse and Tanner’s band.
~ And even though both Jesse and Maddie have a lot of their plates, they start to notice one another, almost without really realizing it. It’s kind of sweet and natural and then it leads to one of the BEST FIRST DATES OF ALL TIME. Seriously, epic. Like I’m thinking of taking the Hubs on the same date for our next anniversary or something.
~ Maddie is an artist and Jesse is a talented musician (also, he’s not so bad at making art on top of coffee, which is a pretty impressive talent right there).
~ Like in the previous book, I really enjoyed the side characters. Jazz is so much fun, and Tanner’s like that one stoner friend we all have, who’s a little annoying, but sweet, and then every once in awhile he’ll just saying some profound shiz or be there for you in a way that you never saw coming. I really hope the next book features Jazz… and I wouldn’t hate having Tanner as the main love interest.
~ I just really like Constantine’s take on YA Contemporary Romance- it goes a little bit deeper, and while yes, there is romance, it’s not the whole world for either Maddie or Jesse. Which is so freaking refreshing. Even Wren and Gray, now happily, adorably coupled up, can exist independent of the other for whole hours. I loved that they each brought things to their relationship, added bits of good, and nothing was taken away.
Maddie- if manic pixie girls were real, they’d be a lot like Maddie. She’s petite, and cute and artistic, fun and flirty, but also down to earth and caring. She’s amazing, but deep and flawed. Sometimes, deeply flawed. 😉
Jesse- barista and musician, so basically he’s the hottest guy in the world. If he ran a book club, I’d probably have to leave my husband for him. Although, he’s a little too mopey over his ex in the beginning.
Tanner- Jesse’s best friend, fellow barista, bass player and huge flirt. He’s much better at being a friend than a barist, bass player or flirt. 🙂
Wren- one of Maddie’s best friends, happily dating Gray.
Jazz- Maddie’s other bff, still running despite the fact that hordes of zombies AREN’T chasing her. It’s like she likes to run, but that’s weird, right?
Gray- Wren’s boyfriend and possibly the new drummer for Jesse and Tanner’s band.
Lief- super hot yoga instructor.
Hannah- Jesse’s ex, totally ripped his heart out.
Duncan- Jesse’s ex-friend, and the ex-drummer who is now dating Hannah.
Declan- super hot owner of Whiskey Business. Well, I really can’t remember if he was as hot as my notes indicate, or if I’m just giving him extra points for his sexy name.
Logan- a runner that Jazz crushes on. Allegedly he enjoys running too.
Dana- Maddie’s single mother and future yoga teacher. Which means she’s finally divulging information she’s kept from Maddie.
Paul- a long time friend of Dana and Maddie’s, in between jobs.
Grace- Jesse’s boss and manager of the coffee shop. Makes her employees listen to Top 40 crap at work, but despite that it doesn’t appear she’s entirely soulless.
Yellow #5- the band Jesse and Tanner are in, and formerly girlfriend stealing Duncan.
Daisy and Ty- Jesse’s adorable siblings.
Obviously, the Date.
But also, when the girl’s refer to Leif and his perfect body and introduce me to my new favorite word “Abtopia”. A utopian of perfect abs. Sigh.
Stop the Clock:
I really liked this one, and I’m officially a fan of Robin Constantine. I think she brings a little more depth to her romances and characters. I wish the titles of her books weren’t so… generic… because I think they’re better than that. But the cover? The cover is perfect- it’s really how I picture Maddie and Jesse. 🙂
The Secrets of Attraction gets a Midnight Book rating of: