(This review was originally posted on Amazon in December 2017)
I love Rochelle’s writing and have for a while, so when I got an ARC of Brighter I kind of already knew I was going to love it, and I was pretty much right! Lol.
There were a lot of things I liked about this new version of the story. A few things I loved. And even a few things that I didn’t.
Our main character is Alina. She’s a recent college graduate whose plans are sidelined when reality happens and she doesn’t snag her dream internship. This leaves her summer empty of plans but full of doubt about herself and what her plans should be. Still, she holds steadfast to her dreams and her pretty messy friends with benefits situation that she’s in, and ventures off to St. Croix with her “lover” aka the messy best friend with benefits.
Now, to one of the things I didn’t like about this story. Theo. The aforementioned bed buddy. I couldn’t stand him. Nope. Not one bit. Rochelle did a really good job of trying to make him and their situation relatable. Even as I read it, and rolled my eyes at Theo, I could read what she was doing but I wasn’t falling for it! HA!
He is every guy who has ever had a good girl staring him in the face and didn’t give a damn to act on it until a sexier more suitable man noticed her. Theo could kick rocks for all I care. But Jude? JUDE?
Jude is hot.
I know, I KNOW … it’s a romance so of course, the guy has to be hot. But no, Jude is, like, super-hot. The descriptions of him were spot on! He’s tatted. Has an island accent that slips through from time to time. Doesn’t take anyone’s shit, even razzes our heroine, but is such a real kind of dude that even in the few moments where he does kinda get on your nerves you want him to win.
When they first meet, their situations are blurred between single and unavailable. I won’t get much into it because it’s an important factor in the book that you need to read to understand. And even though I was okay with the “kind of love triangle” I can see that some people might not be with it. I would still say give it a chance. It’ll be worth it.
My biggest critique of the story is the too large (in my opinion) extra cast of characters. There were really a few too many for me to keep up with. I loved Alina’s best friend, Caroline, though really her island best friend is Ivy. Whose twin sister, Ariel, has a thing for Jude. Then there are the boys who Theo hangs out with, (Colin and them) and then there are Alina and Theo’s landlords who also have kids. It’s a lot to remember and keep track of, and it doesn’t really take away from the story but the long list of secondary characters doesn’t really add to it, either. YET!
Because since Brighter is the first in a series (Rochelle says this so this isn’t a spoiler) we know that all these people and the ending (not a cliffhanger but more of a “Happily For Now”) will all come together. So it’s only slightly jarring, but not enough to hurt to story.
My biggest takeaway!?
This is a great beach read with a romance meets coming of age theme. And I most definitely recommend it.