Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: That Boy & That Wedding

That Boy (That Boy, #1)
That Boy by Jillian Dodd
May 16, 2011
330 pages
Source: Personal kindle purchase
Genre: New Adult
(includes sexual situations, sexual references, language)
Goodreads Summary:
That Boy is a contemporary romance about falling in love with the boys next door.

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There's Danny. Danny is a golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy every girl crushes on. The boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with, the hot quarterback no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.
Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth.  Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. The boy who rescues me, the boy who can read my mind, the boy who is always there for me, the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble, the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me.  And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.
Only one of them is That Boy.
My Review:

I wanted to like That Boy more than I did. I love the concept of discovering that the boy you've grown up with as just friends turns out to be the boy you are madly in love with. Plus, That Boy has the twist that there are two boys. JJ is a bit of a tomboy, and her two best friends are Phillip and Danny. Both boys are sweet to her, treat her also as a best friend, and the threesome are practically inseparable. But Phillip and Danny are very different, personality-wise. The three are really cute as they grow up together and become adults together. I really liked their unconditional friendship with each other, as well as between their families.

The friendships between JJ, Phillip, and Danny. While obviously there are two guys and one girl, I never felt like this was one of those strained, tedious love triangles. The feelings growing throughout the book felt legitimate. I liked that JJ was a bit of a tomboy and could hold her own around guys, especially with sports. Again, I liked the friendships throughout the book, not just the main three characters, but the parents and other students as well. There are also some very funny scenes (like strip football), and some very touching scenes that were very well-written. The author knows how to weave a story and a history.

Just Okay:
The book spans many years, from age 12 to 22 (although even birth is referred to as Phillip and JJ have known each other since infancy). This lengthiness and filler years affected the pacing for me. While I liked the build-up of the relationships and getting the full background on why these kids were so close, there were definitely moments in the book that dragged for me and I found myself skimming.

I could only read JJ's constant inner-dialogue for so long before I was skimming scenes. Her inner ramblings were kind of cute to start with (at age 12, for instance), but as she is entering adulthood, she never quite breaks out of that mindset. Maybe she had ADHD or something, but I found her mental bouncing distracting. I'm a lover of dialogue, verbal dialogue with others, and I would have liked more dialogue between the characters. There was dialogue, but replacing the inner dialogue with more outer would have been my preference. Of course, this is my preference. For someone else, they may love inner dialogue and ramblings and this would be their cup of tea. I also didn't love JJ's character. Her immaturity at times really grated on me, and I hope she grows up more in That Wedding (see below for my feelings on that...)

Despite my mediocre feelings about the book, I still really wanted to get to the end and see who JJ ended up with. I liked many parts of the ending and felt swept off of my feet by "that boy"'s proposal. But I still wanted to shake JJ over her continued immaturity and whiny inner ramblings. Girlfriend just needs to see what's in front of her already.

Bottomline: This was just an okay read for me. I won't be revisiting this book.


That Wedding (That Boy, #2)
That Wedding by Jillian Dodd
February 10, 2012
381 pages
Source: Personal kindle purchase
Genre: New Adult
(includes sexual situations, sexual references, language)

My Review (spoiler-free):

I'm adding this onto my That Boy review because I didn't actually finish the book, and likely won't. Without including spoilers, I can say that this book revolves around JJ's wedding planning to her beau from That Boy. That Wedding also involves JJ facing that traumatic situation that happened in That Boy. Through much skimming, struggle, and determination, I was able to reach the 50% mark on my kindle before I finally gave up on That Wedding.

My Issues
I just don't like how superficial, shallow, and immature JJ is. I like her less here than in That Boy.  Between JJ not wanting marriage counseling, to her thinking she knows everything about being married when she's never been, to the constant sex but no relationship throughout the book, the constant sex jokes but no depth to the characters - her immaturity and shallowness just became too much for me and was not enjoyable to read. I assume (or hope) she'll mature as the story progresses, but honestly, I'm a little bored and the scenes seem to be too redundant and repetitive (although I did laugh a few times). Oh, and she also continues with the inner ramblings and limited verbal dialogue. The guys are just as superficial, so I won't lay all blame on JJ. There are a few very nice scenes (like JJ's interaction with some of the parents), and there was potential for more depth, but it was never enough for me, unfortunately.

I also planned a wedding in four months when I was 22 and can relate to a lot of the planning, minus the unrealistic bottomless budget they had. But everything just seems to go too easily and perfectly for them. For 22 year olds fresh out of college, they have no difficulties and no problems, outside of JJ's personality and her resistance to counseling. I'm not one to give up on books, but this book just could not hold my attention. As much as I was curious about the eventual outcomes and if JJ would finally humble out and listen to the counselor, I decided that I just didn't care anymore. It's too bad, because I'd hoped to like this one better than That Boy.

Of course, take my thoughts with a grain of salt. There have been others who have loved and raved about this book and series. We all like what we like.

1-1/2 STARS (DNF)

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