Book Review: Knowing Jack

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Excerpt

I am not a slut, although I’ve been called one often enough. Yeah, I spent three months screwing one of my college professors, but I was crazy about the guy. Then he broke up with me.

I am not a bitch, although people like to say I am. I kept our relationship secret. I’m not responsible for telling the university administrators about it, but a lot of students still blame me for getting their favorite professor fired.

I am not a drama queen, although everyone thinks I am now. When I got a few nasty messages, I just deleted them. When I got the threat, I assumed it was someone being stupid. I still think that’s all it was. My parents worry, though, so they hired me a bodyguard. Now Jack follows me around, intimidating everyone who approaches me and looking obnoxiously hot.

This is what I am. I’m Chloe. I’m a twenty-year-old art history major. Kind of shy, although I pretend not to be. Stubborn enough to stay here for my senior year, even though everyone hates me.

And I’m stuck with Jack.

He calls me “Princess,” but I’m not a princess either.

My Thoughts

This is my intro novel into the world of the New Adult genre, and I can see why so many people are face-palming over it. The genre combines the attitude, personality, and cliches of the Young Adult genre with the romance of the Adult/Romance genre. But it’s up to the author to break away from these tropes and provide a compelling story that readers won’t want to put down.

As soon as I flipped to the first page of the story, it grabbed my attention with Chloe’s story of what happened to her. But while I wanted to know what happened, I wasn’t sure if I was completely on board with the story. Within the first two or three chapters a few things were made very apparent: Chloe has a strong attraction to her bodyguard, Jack, which she vehemently ignores and denies. She is superficial despite her situation. Stereotypes run rampant and unchecked.

Despite these issues, the story was fast-paced and became rather gripping as it played out. I enjoyed the lists that Chloe would make after certain incidences in the story. They provided a light and comical break to the somewhat serious, but superficial nature of the story.

Although the story was told from Chloe’s point of view, whenever something crucial in the plot happened, we had a chance to get inside Jack’s head and see why he acts the way he does and learn a bit of his past. Whenever you have the chance to really be inside a character’s mind, it opens up so many more emotions and feelings to the reader than simply what’s written on the page. But with that clarity, there’s a line. And that line can get crossed and throw you out of the story. While it didn’t happen often, Chloe would address the reader directly, which is something that throws off the story.

What I admire about Chloe’s character is that she is so relatable. You could imagine going to class with her, shopping with her on the weekends, or passing her in the halls.We all get into situations that we aren’t proud of, and it’s how we deal with them that defines us. She faces her issues head on and comes out on top. We come to learn about her affair with her teacher, Carter, but not in an overly drawn out way or in a way that is rushed or overplayed, but straightforward and with just enough detail for it to be engaging and add to the progression of the story.

But like any romantic story, there’s bound to be an expression of feelings. Page after page of dialogue and description, and I felt like I was reading something that would be more suited to the Romance section of Barnes and Noble. But during it, Jack came across rather out of character and rather like a porn star than a mid-twenties bodyguard with a tough-guy persona. After the steamy session that seemed to last hours, Chloe stated something that was rather profound for her character. She described a feeling after sex that I’ve heard other women speak of, a heavy, sinking feeling, the questions and uncertainty. It makes her a more endearing character, more relatable to readers.

There’s a symmetry to this story that really drew me in, that kept me turing the pages even though there were some things that tripped me up. I still don’t know if I really liked the story completely or if it was just that entertaining a read. The jury’s still out. Knowing Jack is just the first of a series of novels, and I look forward to where the story will lead.

[Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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