Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins
Publish Date: March 3, 2015
Reviewed by: Heller
How I got this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Bend or Break, Book 2
“Jack Tarkington’s life is in the toilet. He was supposed to be spending his junior year studying someplace cool like Paris or Rome. Instead, after taking out his anger on the campus “golden boy”, whose dad ripped off his parents, Jack is facing possible expulsion.Sure, it’s all his own fault, but coming back to the small Iowa town he thought he’d escaped, after crowing about his admission to a prestigious school, has been a humbling experience.
When he runs into Miguel, Jack braces for backlash over the way he lorded it over his old friend and flame. Instead, Miguel offers him friendship—and a job at his growing farm-to-table store and café.
Against the odds, both guys bond over broken dreams and find common ground in music. But when Jack’s college gives him a second chance, he’s torn between achieving a dream that will take him far from home, and a love that strikes a chord he’ll never find anywhere else.
Warning: This book contains a humbled guy who’s on the brink of losing it all, a determined entrepreneur who seems to have it all together, apologies issued through banjo-picking duets, and two lovers who can play each other’s bodies like virtuosos.”
I found this book frustrating. I did not like Jack in Book 1 but I liked him here. His previous actions were so horrible that it was hard for him to come back from that in my eyes even though I understood his reasons and his anger. Not trying to divorce myself from who Jack was before this book was difficult but possible because he did address his problems and try to fix them so I had to respect that read this story with that in mind. Still, bro was an asshole though.
At it’s core though this is a story of first love and the best and worst that brings out in people. Jack and Mike had plans for after high school but the problem with making plans is that sometimes they fall apart and what was the most important thing in the world becomes the most painful.
Jack ended up leaving Mike behind but moving on without the boy he loved made life more than a little bittersweet and while new experiences were interesting they were coloured with that edge of bitter. But Jack is back and Mike doesn’t know if he’s ready to forgive that. These two hurt each other and you could see that pain was still a living thing between them.
Old memories win over the boys try again but it’s a slow, slow burn. As the story moved on I began to understand why Mike once loved Jack and why he was struggling with having him back in his life again and I understood why Jack had to leave.
This is a bit of a redemption story as well as Jack recognizes what he did at college was bullying and he acted was no better than the boys who did the same to him growing up. He redeem himself in my eyes, I liked him here and I wanted him to be better than he was the first time I read about him. He’s still damaged but much more sympathetic and the chemistry that he and Mike share really works. They’re each others firsts and the break they had allowed them to both grow up a bit and see each other as adults. I liked the journey for both of them and while they are struggling they are trying to do the right thing. I wasn’t sure going in if this was a book for me but it was and I’m glad to have read it. Nice addition to the series.
I’m giving Nothing Like Paris a C+