Title: Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles #1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
Pub. Date: November 5, 2013
Source: e-ARC via edelweiss
Summary: Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real.
Genre: New Adult
New Adult is a genre that’s still relatively new to me. I’ve only read a handful and when you strip them down, they all seem to have the same set of bones: girl in college meets boy and they have a lot of sex. Is New Adult erotica-lite? The names and settings change, but the core remains the same and I’ve come to be fairly disappointed with this supposedly innovative and exciting new genre.
That said, imagine my surprise when I absolutely adored Foreplay! It follows the New Adult ‘formula’ to a t, but it works. I was engaged and entertained and when it comes down to it, that’s what a successful book is all about. Since Pepper was a little girl she has been madly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter. When Hunter moved away for college, it was a no-brainer for Pepper: she would do everything possible to get a scholarship so she could be with him. Now that her dream is beginning to become a reality (along with the news that Hunter recently broke up with his girlfriend), there’s just one problem: Pepper knows next to nothing about relationships. There was one disaster of a kiss years ago and that’s it. Naturally Pepper’s two suitemates come up with a solution: find a no-strings-attached, experienced guy who can show Pepper the ropes. Luckily for Pepper, they have just the guy in mind – the super hot bartender. Unfortunately even the perfect plans can go wrong.
Reece is a pierced and tattooed boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He dropped out of college in order to keep the family’s bar running after his father’s accident. The stares of college girls is nothing new to him, but Pepper’s proposition is certainly a surprise. More amused than anything, he agrees to bring her up to speed if you will, but it’s only a matter of time before Pepper sees the real Reece. Literally. That love-’em-and-leave-’em reputation? Turns out it belongs to Reece’s brother and Pepper and her suitemates mistook one for the other. Oops.
Despite Pepper’s goal being another guy, Foreplay doesn’t suffer from a love triangle until toward the end and it’s all resolved fairly quickly. I was a bit disappointed with how calm and cool Hunter was about the whole thing, but the rest of the story more than made up for it. My only gripe is that for a book set at college, there’s very little in the way of, you know, classes and general campus life. There’s a coffee shop Pepper frequents, but the majority of the novel takes place in Reece’s bar. I would have loved to see a bit more of Pepper’s college life!
Foreplay was great all-around: well-written characters, a fun plot, and a quick pace. I’m not sure who the couple will be in the sequel, Tease, but I can’t wait to find out! If you’re like me and have a fairly lackluster track record with New Adult, do yourself a favor and read Foreplay.