Series: Briar U
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on August 6, 2018
Genres: New Adult
A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy
Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.
And that his best friend has a crush on me.
And that I just moved in with them.
Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?
I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?
He knows where to find me.
This is probably one of the most difficult reviews that I have to write this year. For one, 3-star reviews are always difficult to write. And two, I love everything Elle Kennedy writes except this one. I didn’t dislike it or hate it. I just didn’t LOVE it even though I was expecting to.
The Chase is the first book from Kennedy’s new Briar U series. If the name of the series sounds familiar to you, it should since it’s the spin off of her popular and widely loved Off-Campus series. This book is Summer and Fitzy’s story. Summer is Dean’s sister. We met her previously in Dean’s book. Summer is a whirlwind of Prada and Chanel No.5. She is my favorite part of this book. Fitzy was Dean’s teammate and we met him briefly in The Goal.
The story starts off with Summer starting a new semester in Briar U after being kicked out of Brown. She wasn’t exactly welcomed at the campus so Dean arranged for her to room with Fitzy, Hollis, and Hunter in Dean’s old house off campus. This brings her into Fitzy’s orbit, the guy she’s had a crush on. Unfortunately for Summer, Fitzy doesn’t seem to notice her but since she is who she is, Summer sets out to win him over with disastrous results.
I enjoyed this book for the most part. Summer was a really fun and refreshing character. She’s unabashedly feminine and makes no apologies for loving clothes, makeup, reality shows, and other feminine coded things that are usually considered as negatives in romance heroines. But this is exactly why I enjoyed her character. Summer was fun and hilarious. She had her insecurities, which I will get into a little bit, but overall, I love Summer.
Fitzy was no slouch either. I’m always here for nerdy gamer heroes and the fact that he is also a hot, tattooed hockey player just makes him all the more appealing. I also understood why he was hesitant to be with Summer. I think Elle did an okay job with explaining his motivations. Nevertheless, he frustrated me throughout this book. Summer made some boneheaded decisions too but I feel like I could understand it because she was at least honest about her confusion about her feelings between Fitzy and Hunter. Yes, folks. You’ve read that right. There is a bit of a triangle going on in this book. It’s not much, and I would say it’s not even a real triangle because it’s clear who Summer preferred from the get go but it caused quite a kerfuffle in the book so it’s mentioning. So heads up.
And this is where the book started to derail for me a little bit. Don’t me wrong, there were some really hilarious and fun dialogue in this book. Some hot and steamy ones, too. But the romance started to become a side plot instead of the main plot. There were scenes in the book where I was just confused because it did not move the story along. I suspect those scenes were added to set up the next book and introduce new characters but it felt like a detour and that really put a damper on the developing romance between Fitzy and Summer. It was a bit disappointing that we’re just told about what’s happening with their push-and-pull instead of witnessing it because we had to make a detour to some party to introduce these characters who might appear in future books. I didn’t mind it but I wanted more Fitz and Summer!
That’s really the bulk of my issues with this book. The romance was sidelined in order to set up future books and because of that, the pacing suffered.
I have other smaller issues concerning representation, specifically, the ADHD rep in this book. I won’t go into details and I would rather have people who have personal experience with ADHD comment on it but I had recently read a book with the same rep and the lack of shame and self-loathing was startling. So I guess that’s why that one stood out to me.
There was also that huge subplot about Summer’s professor and dean in charge. I think Kennedy captured the creepiness of the professor well. The gaslighting and manipulation felt all too real and I instantly felt a connection with Summer because I feel that most women went through that kind of thing in their lives at least once. It was disconcerting reading it on page and it might make some readers uncomfortable but it was well done. What I didn’t like was how everything was neatly resolved. One phone call and boom! Solved! And Summer’s dean in charge, after months of putting Summer down was suddenly contrite and boom (again) everything is forgiven.
But like I said in my pre-review, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. It has Kennedy’s trademark humor and steam and complicated relationship dynamics but it didn’t quite wow me like her other books. I have a feeling the series will only get better from her because the set up was already there. But that’s just it, because of all the setting up being done, the focus on the romance between Summer and Fitzy suffered in the process.