By: Melanie | February 2, 2015 | (59) Comments

Review: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie CahillWhen Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, NA, Romance
Pages: 368
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

When Joss Met Matt is not a type of book I’d normally pick up at the bookstore. I do not read much NA at all, due to several reasons. One of them being that the majority of NA novels I’ve encountered seem to follow the same recipe each time. The same tropes, the same clichés; you get the point. Anyway, when I found out that this book was actually written by one of my favourite contemporary authors—Liz Czukas (under the pen name Ellie Cahill), I knew I had to take the chance and give it a shot. Alas, despite all hopeful feelings, When Joss Met Matt fell flat.

This story is told by Joss through a series of flashbacks. We do get present day snippets here and there, but about 85% of this novel just consists of the flashbacks that begin 7 years earlier when Joss met Matt and soon build up to the present day. Personally, that was immediately problematic for me. We don’t really get to see Joss and Matt being together as a couple all that often and for majority of the time, all we get is Joss and Matt being in relationships with other people. Its hard to ship a couple when you have them in other people’s beds, y’know?

I will say that the banter was insanely fun and entertaining. If there’s one thing that Liz Czukas ALWAYS manages to excel at, it’s the liveliness she brings to the dialogue. I’d eat it all up, if I could. Unfortunately, despite Joss and Matt’s brilliant conversations, I could only see them as friends with benefits; I found it hard to accept them as a couple because like aforementioned, they were with other significant others for almost the entire novel and they lacked the chemistry that I was promised.

Additionally, I spent a lot of this book being bored out of my mind. I guess we can all agree that this book has a very predictable ending—and so therefore, it’s the journey to the end that matters. I felt that this book didn’t have much plot other than Joss simply recounting the past 7 years of how she started falling for Matt. There didn’t seem to be anything else. No depth, no character building, just a lot of sorbet sex, really.

Furthermore, I failed to see how Matt was appealing as a love interest. He seemed like a pretty subpar character with a pretty face and not much else. He doesn’t really even try to be romantic, if that makes sense. I’m not saying that every guy has got to be romantic but man this guy didn’t even try.

And to those who are wondering, this book is perfectly suitable for YA readers. Ellie Cahill skips over the details and keeps everything clean. I would say the only reason why this book is pitched as a NA novel is due to the fact that the main characters are in their early twenties and also because of the concept: sorbet sex.

In all, When Joss Met Matt turned out to be inherently disappointing with an incredibly shallow and predictable story. I was seriously expecting better from Ellie Cahill for her YA novels are utter brilliance.

~Thank you Ballantine Books for sending me this copy!~

2 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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59 Responses to Review: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

  1. Kelly says:

    So sorry you didn’t enjoy this one Mel, I’m guessing that if it had of been any other author, you probably wouldn’t have given this a second glance. It’s one of the reasons I gave up trying to read NA, even the ones that start out different, all end up the same really, a sexually based relationship that is completely unbelievable. Lovely review Mel, hopefully your next review knocks your socks off <3
    Kelly recently posted…Hubby’s Review: Golden Son by Pierce BrownMy Profile

  2. Whoah, totally smoke and mirrors! I read the synopsis and thought it could be an okay book but then I go on and read your review and I was like: wait, what?!?
    It semmed a completely different thing. Also, a book that’s basically about sorbet sex.. well, I would expect a NA, not a YA :/
    That’s a no for me. I won’t be reading this :/
    Frannie Pan @ In Clouds of Pages recently posted…Wrap Up + Giveaway # January 2015My Profile

  3. Aahw sorry to read you didn’t enjoy this one 🙁 I’ve seen a couple positive reviews though so maybe I’ll pick it up. But not anytime soon 😛
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Bookish Babble: I’m a mood reader with a semi-scheduleMy Profile

  4. I read Ask Again Later on your recommendation so it’s really sad to see that her NA novel didn’t make the cut 🙁 You know, for such a brilliant YA contemporary author, I would have expected better too if this book is just a really shallow read with a lot of “sorbet sex” whatever that is hahaa.
    Excellent review Mel <3

    • Melanie says:

      oh you did? That’s awesome! You liked it, yes? Lol yeah I didn’t really get what sorbet sex was either but it’s just something the author made up lol. Thank you 🙂

  5. What a bummer! It sucked that you took a risk on this book, especially given your misgivings with the New Adult genre in general, only to have all of your fears confirmed, plus end up bored. Shallow and predictable do seem to go hand-in-hand with these types of titles. I’m sorry that this one wasn’t for you.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: Hunter Reborn by Katie ReusMy Profile

  6. Oh that’s too bad. I haven’t read a book by this author, and I’ve eyed this one on several book haul posts. I see where you’re coming from, though. As fun as it sounds, some readers might want more than what it’s offering.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[489]: This Shattered WorldMy Profile

  7. Kezia says:

    NOOOOOOOOO. So sorry that you had to get through this book, Melanie >< Ask Again Later is REALLY high on my TBR list hopefully it lives up to the hype!
    Kezia recently posted…[Review] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsMy Profile

  8. Sorry this didn’t work for you, Mel. I loved this one, but I know this is one of those books that not everybody would love. I personally loved that Matt and Joss slept with other people because that’s how it is in college. I mentioned in my review how you don’t meet the love of your life the first day of college, which is why I really liked this one. I hope your next book will be stronger, Mel!
    Great review!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I totally see where you’re coming from, Nick! I just found it a little bit hard to be sold on the romance because of my own personal preferences hah. Thank you, lovely 🙂

  9. Jasprit says:

    I’m so sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy this as much as you’d hoped Melanie. I’ve not had the greatest luck with NA books lately, so with the promising reviews I had read for this one so far, I thought it would be for me. I will be most likely still reading this book, so I look forward to discussing it afterwards! I hope you find a NA book which meets your expectations soon 🙂
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Crash & Burn by Lisa GardnerMy Profile

  10. Maddy E says:

    I have to agree that this isn’t a book I would likely pick up in a book store. But I’ve heard great things about Liz Czukas’ Ask Again Later, so I understand your motives. I can see why you said this book was predictable. It basically gives you the entire plot in the synopsis. It’s a classic friends with benefits to love story. It’s not my favorite trope either.

    As always, great review, and sorry this one was just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
    Maddy E recently posted…Review: These Broken StarsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you Maddy! I think you should give Ask Again later a shot! It’s one of my fave contemporary fluffs. But yeah, this one was just so lackluster compared to her YA novels

  11. And that is why I too have become disenchanted with NA. It continues to fall into the same ruts and it gets old after awhile. Even though this had funny banter, the unappealing love interest and the flashbacks put me off big time. I will skip this one for sure.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review: The Crawling Darkness(Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper #3) by J.L. BryanMy Profile

  12. Lily says:

    I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you! I hate when we pick up books by an authors we love, expecting to love them too but than being wholeheartedly disappointed *sad face*. I know what you mean about finding it hard to ship a couple when you just read about them in other peoples beds for the majority of a book. I just can’t get past it and unfortunately this has been the case with many NA books.
    Hopefully your next read is more enjoyable 🙂
    Lily recently posted…All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1): ReviewMy Profile

  13. It’s hard for NA’s to be enjoyable for me too. The formula needs some change in there for the book to actually be interesting.
    lol. Matt didn’t even try to be romantic. I feel like I know what you mean. He sounds as flat as you thought the book was.
    You take a chance and it doesn’t pay off. Hopefully next time it will.
    I think I will look up Ellie Cahill’s books to see what you mean and see if I recognize them because the author isn’t ringing any bells right now. What’s your favorite of hers?
    Adriana Garcia recently posted…I Love Book TagsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Oh hah Ellie Cahill definitely won’t ring any bells because it’s a pen name! Liz Czukas is the actual author who wrote some of my favourite books like Ask Again Later.

  14. Awww, Mel, so sorry this wasn’t a hit for you. I’ll be reading it in the next week or two, so I only skimmed your review, but I’m hoping I won’t be as bored. 🙁
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn FisherMy Profile

  15. Rashika says:

    I am sorry to see that you were so let down by this one, Mel! 🙁 NA has been getting better over the past couple of years and starting to shed some of the stereotypes it is usually associated with but I am sorry this one didn’t really do anything for you. I am pretty sure I have this one on my list and I don’t know if I’ll read it or not but it kind of sucks knowing I never get to see much development of the main couple as a couple. You have to have something to go on before you can ship a couple!

    Rashika recently posted…Potato Strip #4: Theme Coding + CatsMy Profile

  16. Hilary says:

    I’m not a huge fan of NA stories because it involves a lot of sex (but maybe that’s just me. I’m quite innocent in my thinking).
    Hilary recently posted…Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I don’t like NA stories because there’s a lot of sex but even though there’s the concept of sorbet sex in this one, the author actually skips over all the details. 😉

  17. Awh, no, it’s a shame that this book didn’t live up to the author’s previous titles.

    To be honest, when I read the blurb, I knew that I would probably never pick this book up. Not because I have anything against NA – but because it just sounded very predictable and “sorbet sex” just puts me off, haha.

    I agree with you about the NA tropes, though. And I swear most NA books seem to revolve around sex. Like the lives of twenty somethings only consist of sex. Yeah, no. Not at all.

    I’m glad you liked the banter, Mel, even if the rest of the novel fell flat. Hopefully your next read is a really good one!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Books for Mail + Simply Sunday (#12)My Profile

  18. Alreem says:

    sorry you didn’t like this one that much but I guess I wil give this a chance 🙂
    Alreem recently posted…Review: Across the Universe by Beth RevisMy Profile

  19. AWWW, I hate that you can’t find a good NA. See, now I think most YAs seem to often be very similar, but I can see NA being that way too. But I LOVE NA. Don’t know why.
    Jennifer Bielman @ Bad Bird Reads recently posted…Review: Typist #2 – Spanking the Billionaire Novelist by Mimi StrongMy Profile

  20. I totally get where you coming from with not particularly liking NA I find books that slot into it are usually pretty dead. I’m a sucker for romance but even I can’t get into them. It sucks that this book wasn’t what you expected from an author you love, I hate that! Thanks for the great review!
    Katie @ Reading In The Roses recently posted…Book Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena ShowalterMy Profile

  21. Amelia K says:

    Aw this one sounded pretty decent when I read the synopsis but it doesn’t seem like my kind of thing at all. I mean, I’m okay with friends with benefits as a story line but if it’s boring and the characters are lackluster? I see no point. Cool review Melanie!

  22. Bennari says:

    I don’t read much NA either, Mel! It’s just not something I think I’d ever enjoy. I was curious initially when you mentioned Liz Czukas but it seems like she just went down the typical road like pretty much every other NA author does. Meh.

  23. I like to read NA from time to time but it really is the same with most of the books. This one sounded different but from your review, I guess it’s not so great after all. Will leave this one out, flashbacks always seem to bother me in books, especially when there’s a lot of them. Great review! 🙂
    Karin @ schakarin recently posted…January Wrap-UpMy Profile

  24. I also picked up this one solely because it was by Liz Czukas, her YA books are exactly what I love most about fluffy contemporary reads. I’m sorry this one didn’t worked out for you, I read it last year and really enjoyed it, but I do agree that this was really shallow compared to her other works, I would have liked to see more development on Joss and Matt personal lives independent of their romance.
    Deyse @ Bound with Words recently posted…Breathe, Annie, Breathe – Miranda KenneallyMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I’m glad that you enjoyed this! I know so many people who liked this–maybe I’m a black sheep here but yeah, it was definitely too shallow for me.

  25. I freaking adore Liz Czukas and her YA books, but this unfortunately isn’t for me, and here’s why:

    “We don’t really get to see Joss and Matt being together as a couple all that often and for majority of the time, all we get is Joss and Matt being in relationships with other people. Its hard to ship a couple when you have them in other people’s beds, y’know?”

    This is exactly why I won’t be reading it. :/ I know I’d just be annoyed for most of the book. I’m sure you could have predicted this about me though. 😛

    Sorry this one didn’t work for you! Here’s to hoping she writes something we’ll both love next!
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…Top Ten Contemporary Romance Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t ReadMy Profile

  26. Naahir says:

    i want to read this soo it looks perfect ♥
    Naahir recently posted…Just think of the future and think que of your dreams……My Profile

  27. I love myself some good NA romance,but sometimes I get tired by the overused concepts in that genre.It seems like there’s only a few stock concepts when it comes to NA.
    I miss the books that were published when NA properly became a genre in Goodreads-that was back in 2012 I guess.Those books were unique,romantic,heartbreaking and emotional.But nowadays the genre has started to disappoint me.
    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted…A controversial bingo and a personal reactionMy Profile

  28. I’ve ventured into NA a few times, but don’t read much of it really. I guess I don’t really like that many of the books are more focused on sex in relationships as the main plot. I don’t like to see the main characters in a relationship with other characters either :/ Better when they’re more dedicated to each other.
    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted…Review: EnsnaredMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from! My love for this author’s YA books totally blinded me to how obviously I would’ve hated this, I guess.

  29. Shelby says:

    I appreciate your honesty! Too often when reading reviews I feel like some reviewers aren’t completely honest with reviews where they received free copies of the books. Not everyone likes every book…I appreciate the fact you told us the truth!Sh

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