Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Switched by Cassie Mae

The Basics:
Switched by Cassie Mae
New Adult, Romance
Published December 2, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Cassie Mae redefines the New Adult genre with a novel that answers the eternal question: What do you do when you’re head over heels for your best friend’s guy?
Ever since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart before Talon has a chance to give Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.

Soon enough, the once happy couple is fighting. Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “only a friend” ever should. But just when everything seems to be falling into place, Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together and discover a hitch in their plan they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all.

What worked for me:

This is the second book that I've reviewed from Random House's Flirt imprint. It's an ebook-only line featuring New Adult/Young Adult titles. I am really happy that I've checked it out.

I was a little nervous about the premise of this one - it's hard to like main characters who are actively working to break up their best friends. Amazingly, Cassie Mae not only makes them likeable, but even had me tearing up for Kayla as she wrestled with feeling invisible to the people in her life.

Wesley seems like a complete sweetheart - responsible, loyal (excepting the whole Reagan issue) and sexy. He and Kayla have a wonderfully teasing give and take. I would have loved to get inside his head for a while, though it would have ruined the flow of the story.

Some of this book feels very young - the love square between best friends, the lengthy secret crush and plotting to break up a relatioship. I felt it was all plausible and realistic for freshmen - there's no super jaded or super mature character lurking around to show them the way. I like that Kayla's upfront about how conflicted she feels throughout the book. She's finding her way as she goes, and that's also an important aspect of freshmen (and early twenties) life!

I also liked that though these characters are all in college, that aspect of their lives has little to no impact on the story. The book is completely focused on the relationships - and needs to be, to juggle everything that's happening. I like that college is happening in the background, while their social lives - and Wesley's job - are in the forefront.

What didn't work for me:

I didn't understand why everyone liked Reagan so much. To paraphrase from a favourite teen movie (10 Things I Hate About You) - did the chick have beer flavoured nipples? She doesn't seem to respect Kayla's feelings, and there's legitimate friction with Talon. Yes, she seems to be outgoing, but we don't see her in the most favourable lights in this book.

Now, I could chalk that up to our narrator. Kayla's probably not seeing her best friend in the most positive light. Still, I didn't see the appeal of her as a friend or as a girlfriend (or potential girlfriend), and that did make everyone's obsession with her a little difficult to swallow.

Bottom Line:

I loved this book. I devoured it, I re-read the last couple chapters three or four times before putting it down. I was so thrilled that the author gave us such a satisfying ending. I will definitely look for more from Cassie Mae!

4.5 stars
For fans of New Adult romance, of plans gone awry, of characters who need to wake up and appreciate what they have

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