Every year, the girls of Phi Delta Chi, Fiona Arlett’s dream sorority, hold a competition.
James Reid, king size bar of eye candy and famous actor turned haughty undergrad.
No girl but the winner can touch him.
Fiona miiight have unknowingly banged his brains out last week.
Losing the competition may mean wearing a chicken suit to the sexiest Halloween costume contest, but she’d rather have feathers up her butt than let the truth out.
Unfortunately, she and James have lots in common and more chemistry than the science wing. Soon they’re sneaking around behind the backs of UCSD’s hottest and most vengeful girls.
If they find out?
Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.
The story Rose has created is one that is very addictive, and it is one that is engaging and easy to read. There is a wonderful pace to the story and nothing is rushed, nor is it drawn out. There is depth to the characters and not everything about them is revealed immediately, with more information about who they are emerging as the story goes on. This gives a realistic feel to the novel where things are learnt about people gradually, not in a single moment and typically only as a friendship develops.
As a character Fiona can come across as arrogant, but she is more self assured and confident. She has a determination and stubbornness that can get her into trouble but she is also enjoying life and emits joy which makes her fun to read about. It was great to see her grow as the novel progressed, and it is clear towards the end that while she has not exactly changed who she is, she has learnt from her experiences and instead becomes more comfortable in herself and in her life. This calms her down a bit but does not remove the confidence she had before and she is certainly wiser in its use.
I liked that at no point did Rose indicate any real judgement towards Fiona’s actions or make it a bad thing, instead we understand why she behaves like she does and what it is she is looking for in life. As adults in college there is no reason to doubt they are able to make their own decisions but Rose also makes it evident they are still young, a combination that makes for great reading and understanding to why they do what they do.
What I really liked about this story was that it wasn’t what I was expecting. The characters are different and detailed, with complications of their own and personalities that both clash and work well with others. I also loved the story. Rose could easily have gone a different way with this but instead it has a complexity and depth that makes it unique while still being light and fun to read, and with characters that are so different from one another and that have such depth themselves, it only works to its advantage.
In particular I really liked the relationship between Fiona and James, even at the very start. Together they work well but it is their own personalities and histories that make them great, James especially. His past and secretive nature makes him protective of himself, and there is a charming but tough when necessary side to him that makes him admirable and likeable. Compared to Fiona’s outgoing nature they balance each other well, influencing one another and bringing out more in each of them.
One part I both liked and didn’t like was that for me, it highlights the ridiculousness and cruelty of sororities. In a confusing way it made the story great but it also pointed out how stupid they can be. But looking at characters like Brooklyn it is clear the hazing and ridiculous activities is not what the sorority was intended to be, and it is certainly isolated to a few members, not the group as a whole. But it shows just how horrible and demeaning they can be, bringing down people and making them subservient and under the control of others who are deemed higher ranking. I’m glad Rose made a point of showing the outcome of hazing and the effect it can have on people when it taken too far, it really added another depth to the story and it is woven skilfully into other elements of the narrative as well.
I am glad this book was nothing like I expected, it became a lot more but without taking away the essence of what it is trying to be either. It is light and fun but also serious and meaningful meaning it has the ideal balance and creates a great reality for the characters and something believable for the readers as well. When you finish you can’t help but admire the characters and you certainly admire Rose for what she has created, and with the revelations of secrets and twists and the unexpected, there is never a moment of disinterest.
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