I signed up to help with a cover reveal for this book (back when it was called "Just One Cup") and was promised an early copy in exchange. My email was down for a few weeks though (thanks a lot, Thunderbird >_>), and I sat around incredibly antsy because I knew that I'd have my copy in there soon, but I couldn't get to it. Finally, I managed to get everything back up and running, and happily found "Love Exactly" waiting for me.
I hesitate to be rough with this book. I mean, I didn't dislike it - I enjoyed it very much, actually. It kept me smiling, and even made me laugh once or twice. But..."Foreword: As a teenager, I didn't do drugs. To this day, I've never been drunk. Still, my family doesn't talk about 18 months of my life - until now. All of the events contained within this novel are fictional; however, the feelings, emotions and pain are not.
They are real. They are mine."
I admire the author for putting her own thoughts and feelings into it. Overcoming abuse is never easy, and I applaud anyone strong enough to break the cycle, and see that they're worth so much more. That's why I can't be hard on this book. When you put that much of yourself out on the line...well, you deserve a bit of respect.
Emma and Evan were a cute couple, and I loved that it wasn't a romance based entirely on sex, or appearances. Yes, Evan was hot, but that's not the reason they were together. It's more like the icing on the cake. The story focused so much more on their personalities, and overcoming their inner struggles - well, mostly Emma's inner struggle. Despite being playful at times, it wasn't a "teen" relationship.
I did think that parts of the story moved a bit too fast, though. Emma and Evan barely see each other for weeks, or months at a time, and because this is a story about both of them, the time between meetings was usually skipped over. So one second, Evan would be leaving on another tour, and the next, he's back and it's three weeks later, and their relationship has progressed through phone calls and text messages that the reader doesn't hear about. Actually, there's a few parts of the book that feel like you're missing some piece of context.
There's a scene where Emma and Evan are making jokes about her Angry Birds Band-Aids, but there's no explanation for it - it's never mentioned before, but the two treat it like it's an old joke between them. I think there was supposed to be a reference to the Band-Aids before that point...or that's how it felt, anyway. It's a running joke throughout the book, so I'm pretty sure there was supposed to be a set-up at some point.
Or I don't know, maybe I just missed the set-up. I was pretty sick while I was reading this. It made me feel a bit better, at least.
Anyway. It was a cute, new adult story about love, not waiting for a hero when you can be one yourself, and overcoming abuse.
Thank you for this book, Cassandra Giovanni. :)