Best friends falling in love is my favorite contemporary romance trope, and NA seems to be my go-to age genre, so I was really happy to get my hands on Distraction. But my favorite combo didn't do it for me with this story.
My initial impression was that I was being told all about the characters and background without really feeling like I was experiencing it — kind of the difference between watching an awesome movie and having someone try to recite the plot for me. But when I thought about putting it down and moving on to something else, I peeked over at Goodreads first, and I noticed all the glowing reviews. So I figured I was missing something, maybe in the wrong mindframe or whatever, and I decided to read something completely different and then come back to it. Two days later I picked it up again and started over, and for a while I was enjoying it a little more, but then it headed downhill again.
I think it all comes down to Tristan. The truth is that I didn't like him at all, and it's really impossible to fall in love with a romance when you couldn't care less about one half of the central couple. First, he's kind of an ass about playing the field, and he's apparently been doing that to get past his feelings for Elle. But one of his bed hops has somehow turned into his being in love and getting engaged. He's clueless about Elle's feelings for him, and he's in denial about his own feelings for her, but the girl he's engaged to is a big ball of cliche, and he's clueless about that, too.
Kelly is a clingy, insecure, bitchy, snobby freshman. Not only should her personality bar the whole marriage idea, but they haven't been together all that long, and why on earth does Tristan think getting married at that age is a good idea? She's jealous of Elle, inappropriately flirtatious with other guys, and a whiny brat when she's with Tristan. She's passive aggressive and manipulative, and it's not all just behind Tristan's back, making him even dumber for staying with her. She's also apparently in the good graces of his parents, who are clearly horrible people to begin with, since they basically threatened Elle's shot at a successful future to keep their son away from her.
It's like Tristan is walking around with his eyes purposely closed in a sea of red flags, and there's no real reason for it. He's not rushing into marriage because an inheritance requires it, or because he's been with the girl for so long that he's conditioned to thinking that's the next logical step, or because his awful parents are pressuring him into it for some unexplained elitist reason, or because he's approaching forty and wants kids. He's doing it because Kellie is the one-night-stand that didn't end for some reason, and that's all it apparently takes for him to announce to Elle that he's in love and ready to commit his life to someone no decent person would want to be with. I can't wrap my head around it. Then again, he thought leaving Longhorn football to play at Texas Tech was a good idea, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.