Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I have been along for the ride with Monica Murphy’s The Callahans series. I’ll be honest; I’ve struggled with some of the books, but there has always been something redemptive with each of her characters even after acting like some of the worst people imaginable. All along this journey there are two characters who have stood out to me: Tony Sorrento and Jackson Rivers. With Murphy’s newest series, The College Years, you earn access to their stories, beginning with Tony’s in Murphy’s latest book, The Freshman.
Unlike the stories of The Callahans, Tony, as I suspected, seems less obnoxious. In this story, we find Tony, a freshman in college, struggling to find his place. Without a distinct position on the football team, with his animosity toward a dad who hasn’t been a part of his life, with a step-mom who “comes onto him” at every corner, and with a future that feels ambiguous and tenuous, Tony doesn’t know where he begins and ends. One day, while having his new Range Rover serviced, Tony meets Hayden, who is also having her Range Rover serviced. These two have insta-chemistry and a clear attraction to each other. They realize quickly over the course of the beginning of Murphy’s story that their families “run” in the same circles except their dads are business enemies. Additionally, Hayden and Tony both attend Fresno State, even though they have never seen each other. One of those reasons is Hayden is two years older than Tony. Even more, Hayden and Tony’s thoughts about relationships are the same: neither of them is interested in relationships given their families’ issues with dating and marriage. In a nutshell, it’s clear that Tony and Hayden will feel drawn to each other, but they will fight it every step of the way. And that is exactly the case….until they don’t.
For me, this is my favorite of this crew’s stories. Like I mentioned above, Tony is one of the best characters, and I’m thankful that Murphy crafted a story that shines a light on his depth of character. Also, I liked Hayden as a heroine for Tony. We find out more about his break-up from his high school sweetheart, ex-girlfriend, Sophie in this story, and Murphy created the perfect match for Tony.
Once again, though, there are parts of Hayden and Tony’s story that feel drawn out and repetitive, which, for this reader, tends to be the case with this series of books and causes the story to drag a bit. I’d like to think that Jackson’s story might be different, but I’m reticent to believe it will be different.
If you’re a fan of YA/new adult romance, then you should check out Monica Murphy’s The Freshman. It has her crew from The Callahans stories, along with all the qualities that new adult readers love about that sub-genre.
In love and romance,