How many times have we ever heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? A lot maybe, but have you ever heard anyone said, “Don’t judge a book by its main character”? Hmm, I don’t think so.
First, I have to admit that I judged that this was going to become a cliché-ish book because of the female main character, Natalie. I was really really REALLY annoyed at her at the beginning because I perceived her as stupid, jerk, douche, ass, and a bitch. I apologize for the profanities, but I just can’t help it! Back in high school she’s pretty, popular, and mean, and she always follows Amber, the Queen Bee. Together with her best friend Sarah, they were part of the “elite” group. They were untouchables, thus, gives them power to bully everyone they consider below them. In Natalie’s case, she was not innately a bully. She only follows her group’s actions to gain approval from them because she sees them as her pillar and her root to surviving high school. So when Jack, the Coke guy their group always bully, suddenly flips her world and shows her how to feel free by being herself, she became the girl living a double life because she knows her friends won’t accept him and they had to keep their relationship a secret. But after all the happy times Jack has given her, it wasn’t enough for Natalie to make her stand up for the one person who accepts her and truly knows who she is. You think love was enough to make her ditch her bitchy friends?
So fast forward to present time, Jack became a famous musician because of his new album Good Enough. A loser turned untouchable because of sudden fame due to an album inspired of a painful heartbreak, and no one knows Natalie is behind this heartbreak. It was like a twist of fate, when the popular girl who wanted nothing but leave their small home town returns because of a failed career in photojournalism, and now she’s working for a small newspaper at Stonebury, and accepting freelance photography jobs. Destiny does its magic when Natalie had to accompany her workmate/roommate Gillian to interview and snap a few pictures of Jack Moreland, the guy she never thought she would face again. The question is, can they reunite as lovers?
Stephanie Monahan did a good job on telling Natalie and Jack’s past and present story. Every chapter was like an explanation of every song written in Jack’s album, Good Enough. I might have been annoyed with Natalie, but it never hindered me from liking the story. Every chapter was a jump from events of the past and present, but it was not confusing. Instead, it made the flow of the story smooth and it explained and supported events that’s happening in the present. Although the story revolved around Natalie’s quest to prove that she’s good enough, to her friends, to herself, and of course to Jack, it was nice to see the story hitting other point (or points), bullying, fitting in, and peer pressure. Face it or not, these three issues were really big back in high school, and if you’re not with the “right” crowd, you’ll get lost to these and eventually lose yourself too.
The romance was swoon worthy and it was not a case of instant love. They were strangers that met on the other side of their world and then they became friends which eventually became a love relationship. Their stolen moments during their secret relationship were breathtaking and it will make you sigh, good sighs. You know? Those “AWW” moments? They had a lot of those. Jack was so sweet and expressive, and seeing his character was a nice turn because it’s rare to see, even in real life, that the guy is the one asking for more.
The conflict that drove them apart was reasonable and it was clever on the author’s part because it was the reason Natalie had a wonderful character development, which in turn made me forget her annoying attitude at the beginning.
I also loved the minor characters and the factor they played into Natalie’s character development, and the main couple’s lives. I especially loved Gillian, because I saw her as Natalie’s neutral ground. They weren’t close, they were just workmates, and yet Gillian can interpret every sigh and raised eyebrows Natalie has.
If there was one thing I didn’t like in this book that would be the main couple’s moments in the present time. Ugh, it was too few! I was wishing for more and this time I hoped the book was longer to accommodate more of their moments! I was so looking forward to their “forgive and forget” moment to have more depth and more feels, although there were still feels I just wished there was more. I was swept away by their love that I felt greedy and wished for a bit more.
Overall, I really liked this good book and I’d recommend this to everyone who is a fan of second chances, reuniting, and hot guys who writes songs, or a whole album, for their girl. It is a story of changing yourself for the better, apologizing to those whom you have hurt, and to never be scared to be yourself. It was a beautiful love story of two people destined to make each other become a better version of themselves.