Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, NA, Romance
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!~
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