By Christina Lauren
Synopsis: Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.
Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
This book had a few rough spots, but overall I really liked it. The book is written in the first person present tense from Holland’s point of view, which works. Usually, I like my romances to give the point of view of both leads, but due to the nature of Holland and Calvin’s relationship the single viewpoint works and is the best way to tell the story. I could probably have done without some of Lulu’s more crass stories, but I suppose Holland and Calvin felt the same so maybe it’s good they were in there.
Holland is a total spaz (and thus I identify with her on some level). I also get what it’s like to struggle to find your own identity and feel special when you’re surrounded by highly talented, exceptional people. I love her passion for music (and for Calvin), her love of her uncles, and the fact that she was so driven to complete her MFA in creative writing (and I did have to go Google what an MFA is – Master in Fine Arts, for the uninitiated) and then struggled to find her passion/muse/whatever you want to call it once she was out of school and suddenly faced with turning her passion into a career. Holland’s relationship with her uncles is also great (love love love Robert and Jeff!) and I appreciated her interactions with her brother Davis as well (who reminds me a little of my own bearded bro).
I love Calvin. He’s a hot musician so what’s not to love? (haha!) All joking aside, Calvin has a sensitive heart (which he needs to be such a great musician), a sexy Irish accent (which I can hear in my head) and a wonderfully silly way he phrases things sometimes. He does his fair share of stupid boy things and sometimes does better than other at understanding why Holland is upset about things.
Throughout the book, Holland is forced to examine her life, her relationship with (and dependence upon) her uncles, and her relationship with herself. The book is a love story between Holland and Calvin, but it’s also a story about Holland discovering who she is and learning to love herself. That element of self-discovery is what makes this an excellent New Adult novel, and the hunka-hunka-burnin’-love makes it a great contemporary romance.