Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I’m fairly certain that Griff of Avery Flynn’s Neanderthal is going to be my favorite hero in her Last Man Standing series. What’s not to love about a man who has so many thoughts and feelings, has learned to lock them down because his abusive father mocks his intelligence, which causes him to lack the words to say to the people he loves. In fact, his cousins, Dixon and Nash, consistently mock his inability to provide more than one-word answers to questions. This Lego-loving, wounded warrior of a hero is adorable, and in Flynn’s Neanderthal, he falls fast and hard for its heroine. And that is for good reason.
If Griff is my favorite hero of this series, then his heroine, Kinsey, wins the award for the best heroine. I love complicated characterizations, and Kinsey is this. On the outside, she is a blonde Southern bombshell, evoking every cliche there is about a Southern woman. Yet, she is a genius. She graduates high school early and begins college as a fifteen-year-old. She processes situations at lightning speed, and she offers solutions to remedy problems. Her brain and spirit are more exciting and beautiful than her outer beauty. And Griff wins her heart by loving her brain over her beauty.
Now, Flynn takes the space of this romantic comedy to also spotlight women in STEM and the harassment that occurs for them given it is a male-dominated field. She focuses on a woman’s autonomy. Griff blows it in disrespecting her ability to choose for herself. Flynn shows her readers the double-standard that women, especially women with outer beauty, must endure proving their worth, and this lesson takes the seeming informality of a rom-com and lends it depth.
There are moments of this story that feel a bit manufactured and inconsistent, hence my reason for the 4-star rating. Overall, though, Avery Flynn’s Neanderthal creates a combination of chemistry and candor to win you over to it. If you love misunderstood heroes and heroines, then this should be on your e-reader.
In love and romance,