The hardest reviews to write are for books that we just kind of meh. I didn’t like the structure of this book, so that really made it go downhill for me. There is a lot to commend it for, the characters seem to be pretty fleshed out, which doesn’t always happen. But the entire back-and-forth non-linear structure really didn’t work for this book.
We start with Jack (although we don’t find out his name for like two chapters or something, and it’s really weird, and at one point, his son is accidentally referred to as Jack instead of Gabe, and that really threw me), who works construction with his two buddies, who are given just enough backstory for me to know they will be getting their own novels later. Jack is watching his son on a weekend that’s not his usual weekend, because his son’s mother has a work thing. I have to admit from the lackluster way that he refers to the baby mama, I had no idea that we were getting a romance between the two of them until the next chapter, which is through her POV (that’s the magic way to know, I guess).
Maddie has a bad habit of ending up in Jack’s arms any time she has a traumatic breakup. It’s almost a cliche at this point. We also don’t find out the circumstances around Gabe’s conception until nearly the end of the novel, which would have informed the entire conflict between them. Until then, I didn’t even buy the fact that they were attracted to each other. It all seemed very sterile. Maddie is also extremely isolated. Her parents live in another city, her best friend cheated on her with the man she was living with, and apparently she has no coworker friends or any acquaintances at all. So when Jack’s sister wants to hang out with her, she accepts almost too readily, because she’s starved for companionship.
I think breakups are disappointing partly because they reveal to you that you never really knew the other person, or the relationship, the way you thought you did.
This book has a forced proximity element, where Maddie and Gabe move in with Jack on a temporary basis since Maddie can’t be expected to live with her cheating ex anymore. It was all almost too convenient. And then there’s a roommate with benefits thing. I don’t know, it was all rushed and the timeline skipped around, and honestly, I just didn’t buy it. I think with a complete restructuring of the book, making in linear and delving into the characters motivations more, this could have been decent, but as it is, it didn’t make me feel for the characters at all.