It’s Wednesday! I’m not ready. I have too many words still to make, and I wanted to be done on Wednesday but I’m not, not even close. I will just have to make ALL THE WORDS today.
Meanwhile, I will recommend a book! Because that is what I do on Wednesdays. This one is so cute, you’ll die—
Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.
Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.
Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.
As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.
Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.
First, can I just say that this cover could sell me all the books in the world? I bought this, in fact, because I saw that an All About Romance reviewer gave it “Desert Isle Keeper” status, which impressed me, and then I went to Amazon and took one look at the cover and CLICK.
I love that cover so hard.
But a lovely cover does not a lovely book make, and I’d never read Cullinan before, which meant I began reading with some trepidation. I didn’t love the first few chapters. This is a slow-burn romance set at a small college, with a professor trying to get tenure who is a significant secondary character. Having grown up and attended a small college and then married a professor who is now tenured, I approach such stories with skepticism, just waiting for the author to get it All Wrong.
Cullinan does not get it all wrong. There were a few teeny things that made me raise an eyebrow, but by and large she gets the college stuff right, which is great.
Even better are all the other things she gets right — the capital-r Romance things that are what make this book so sweet and lovely, as well as the being-a-New-Adult things that make this a really amazing coming-of-age story.
Kelly is only eighteen, fresh from his small Minnesota town, freshly out of the closet, and struggling with life, identity, romance, and the college transition. This book spoke loudly to my memories of being at this stage of life, and of being surrounded by friends (including quite a few small-town Minnesotan friends, and one freshly-out-of-the-closet young man who was so much like Kelly) at the same stage of life, in a way that New Adult often does not. I wanted to hug it to my chest, at times, and give it a pep talk.
The romance, too, is beautifully done. This is a story of roommates who think they’re just friends, even as they’re already falling in love with each other. It’s a story of one boy who has to learn what love looks like in order to discover that he already has it — to align his expectations with reality (GOD, I spent so much of college trying to align my expectations with reality) — and another boy who tries to keep himself aloof in order to avoid getting hurt at the same time that he spills love all over the place because he has such a big heart, he can’t help it.
The emotional tone is muted, in the sense that Cullinan is more interested in showing us these people being these people than she is in dialing up unnecessary angst. I want to say that it’s pitch perfect. I think it is, actually, although the pacing in the early chapters is not as fast as I’m accustomed to and I had to settle myself into the book in order to truly start enjoying it.
Okay, that’s probably enough words. I’ve either sold you or I haven’t. Go forth and purchase, or else ignore me. If you do decide to check this one out, note that using the coupon code FALLREADS at the Samhain site will give you a discount that makes the price $2.68 — far cheaper than any other vendor.
P.S. Speaking of All About Romance (which we were! above!), they’re running their Top 100 Romances poll right now to determine which are the 100 best romances of all time. Hop over and make your favorites known!