Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Riveting, realistic, and rife with steam, Kandi Steiner’s Hazed is everything you love about her Palm South University series. Hazed brings us right back to where she left off in Ritual. The crew, Adam, Cassie, Skyler, Jess, Erin, Bear, and Ashlei, have returned after winter break. In this story, Jess, Erin, and Lei have graduated and moved into the real world. As each of them encounters various struggles, it’s clear that life didn’t necessarily get easier after graduation. Bear and Adam are on the cusp of graduation with one semester of Palm South U to go, while Skyler and Cassie will finish up at the end of the school year. Each of Steiner’s characters is struggling in some way with the daunting nature of their future, and it casts this interesting shadow on the series, the knowledge that the Palm South U series is coming to an end. At the conclusion of Hazed, I find myself excited for the final book of the series while also feeling already nostalgic for the wide-eyed characters we found in Rush, the first book of the series.
In two words, Hazed is all about second chances. I am always amazed when I read one of the Palm South U books at Steiner’s ability to juggle so many different perspectives and stories. It truly reads like episodic reality television. I think what I find most interesting about Hazed is how invested I am in Steiner’s characters. It makes sense given the broad and ambitious nature of this series. At the end of this book, Steiner leaves you with a bit of a cliffhanger that makes your stomach feel knotted up. At least it did for me. While Hazed isn’t the end of this series, it is the book before the end, which feels ominous in wrapping up these stories. I’m hoping the Palm South U series ends like a Jane Austen novel with everyone getting the perfect happy ending. When you get to the end of Hazed, Steiner brilliantly makes you doubt that. Even more, she reminds you why you can’t help but ADORE her stories as they burrow into your heart, making you want more of the drama and the love and the steam and the happy endings.
If you’re the type who loves the drama, who adores reality television or serialized television, or who loves new adult romances, then you will love Hazed and its compatriots in the Palm South University series. But get ready…I think this series is going to end with a bang.
In love and romance,