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Monday, January 6, 2014

Rome by Jay Crownover

Release Date: Jan. 7, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Age Group: New Adult
(Mature content warning)
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray. Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .
This novel captures the essence of passionate, elbowy, "I can't stand you, but I need you so badly" relationships in a way that will make every girl wonder why the right guy has to be perfect. It built me up, broke me down, touched my soul, and melted my heart.

I like to think I'm not a swoony reviewer, but Rome Archer is my kind of guy. Brooding, dark and mysterious has never been my type. However, the good guy who's misunderstood is right up my alley. I think it's because I've had so many military men in my life, but despite the brash, slightly cocky, don't-give-a-damn appearance, the ones that are hard to connect with at first are the ones that never let you go.

The interplay between characters, specifically Rome and Cora, is what really made me latch on to this novel. Complicated as their relationships are, Crownover's direct dialogue and subtle inferences make them easy to navigate.

Cora and Rome come into each others' lives at the right moment and say all the wrong things. Cora's agonizing over everyone else's happiness. Rome has just arrived home from the Army and desperate to find a place in his old life. The attraction between them is like gravity, simply too strong to resist.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm a New Adult convert thanks to Crownover. I can't say I've read that much within the genre to date, and I'll be the first to admit I've agreed with the crowd that labeled it "older YA with sex". This novel has convinced me to give more New Adult novels a shot because the story was about more than the rampant sexcapades of people too messed up to do anything other than bang away their problems.

Is there sex? Oh yeah. But is it dirty for the sake of being raunchy? No.

That's one of the things I adored most about this novel. It isn't some sexed up semblance of a young person's life. There are personal stories and insights that let you into the lives of characters you're supposed to care about as a reader. At it's core, it shows that people can care when you least expect it, surprise you when you need a new perspective, and save you when you aren't sure you're worth saving.

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