Cleo’s always written the sex scenes in her roommate’s successful romance novels, but it seems her muse has flown the coop, and everything she tries to write now morphs into something entirely unromantic. But when her roommate coerces her into using the hottest guy on campus to spark the heat back into her writing, specifically by acting out some of the foreplay until her muse takes residence again, Cleo finds herself in over her very chaotic head.
Judging Covers: I do like the clean, rather lighthearted look of it, but I’ve got to ask, why is Adrian upside down?
The Verdict: Once you get used to Cleo’s rather spastic narrative, this book is a lot of fun. Cleo is adorably awkward, often saying exactly what’s on her mind, no matter how odd or out of place her words may sound. But instead of it resulting in utterly mortifying scenes, it’s simply hilarious — with a side of slight embarrassment, I suppose. But she handles it well, cruising right through everything with wit and sarcasm that kept me laughing.
Adrian… Well, I wasn’t so sure about him at first. He pretty much explains that he’s God’s gift to women as soon as he gets his own POV, and it’s really hard to like a guy that thinks that way, no matter how much you want him to be the perfect guy. In fact, I almost put the book down at his “practice makes perfect” rationale. Fortunately, though, he ‘s pretty funny in his own right, and he’s clearly interested in more than simply sleeping with Cleo. He not only puts up with her crazy, but he plays along and enjoys it, so he redeemed himself enough that I was actually looking forward to the happily ever after instead of wondering just what Cleo saw in him.
However, there were several things in the book that simply didn’t make sense to me, and I think perhaps if it had been longer, there would have been ample time to explain. For one, Cleo’s roommate is supposed to be so shy about sex that she can’t write her own sex scenes in her novels, and she can barely say the word without blushing. Yet she had no issue standing by and practically directing as Adrian and Cleo got pretty close to naked and engaged in some heavy foreplay. Also, Adrian was the college campus hottie, yet he was practically invisible in high school. Was he gangly and pimply faced? Ten inches shorter than he is now? Overweight? I don’t recall him mentioning some major transformation, so just how is it that the girls weren’t pouncing on him in high school?
The situation that brings Cleo and Adrian together, while fun, isn’t exactly believable. Not that romances are entirely realistic, but for a while there, I was wondering why Cleo, who had no trouble speaking her mind at the most inopportune times, didn’t simply tell Marie off. While the whole “act out your scenes with Adrian” bit led to some incredible chemistry and was an easy excuse for Cleo to act on her attraction to him, it was a little too much of that typical romance novel thing. You know, where the otherwise independent heroine gets bullied into some uncomfortable situation by her best friends, and in the end she’s actually grateful for their harassment/coercion/blackmail because… Well, I don’t know why. Because she’s fictional, and that makes unrelenting peer pressure okay, I guess.
But despite all that, I still really enjoyed the book, mostly because Cleo was the kind of heroine that so many try to write and just get wrong. She’s random and weird, often hilarious, and while not the most confident girl in the world, she’s not a mess of insecurity. Her taco addiction, her odd tendency to turn fictional men into lizards, her strange commitment to a promise she made to her sister when they were barely in puberty… It’s a pretty awesome combination that makes her wonderfully different than most girls you read about in new adult romance stories. The fact that Adrian enjoyed Cleo’s special brand of crazy ended up making him very likable, despite my initial reservations, and toward the end, I was just dying for them to finally get their alone time — uninterrupted.
So yeah, I obviously had a lot of thoughts and a good number of questions as I was reading the book, but don’t start thinking I didn’t like it. I’m pretty sure I would have just written it off as boring or typical instead of wondering about every little detail if it had actually been a mediocre read. The truth is that I thoroughly enjoyed it and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for something a little steamy, a lot funny, and wonderfully lighthearted. Adrian Lessons is a step above other debut novels, and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for more from this author.