Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amanda Pennington’s Book Smart is a surprising addition to the SmartyPants Romance world. Here’s a bit of a warning about Book Smart:
- It is the slowest burn romance I’ve ever read. 90% folks…90%.
- This book is pretty clean. There is an allusion to $ex, but nothing really goes past kissing in detail.
- This is definitely friends to lovers. It’s almost painful how these two hide their feelings for each other for most of the book.
What did I like about Book Smart:
- The camaraderie between Mel (FMC), Cameron (MMC), and Ivy. These three legitimately like each other as friends, and Ivy works hard to stay out of the middle of Mel and Cameron’s journey.
- I’m a writing professor at a university, so I live in university/academia politics. I too have been a Writing Center tutor, so I saw my academic experience in Mel and Cameron’s stories.
- Cameron’s story as a survivor of stroke. As a young man, Cameron has a devastating stroke that has forced him down a different path. This is not a usual story in romancelandia, much less in general experience. Through his journey, he meets and befriends Toby, who becomes the wizened guide to Cameron. I LOVE Toby. In fact, I’d love a Toby/Ivy romance, possibly.
- Mel’s story idea. She reads a 50s advice FB post and determines to enact those guidelines to meet a man in the 21st century. It makes for interesting plot points while also adding a bit of ridiculousness to Book Smart.
What I struggled with:
- Cameron’s fear and Mel’s shortsightedness. As a reader, I’m sensitive to story pacing. In my opinion, a slow burn should peak around the 70% mark, but Pennington left us to wait until about 90%. Basically, this story ends with them declaring their love for each other after spending much of the story denying it.
- It’s a little too clean for my taste. I like a little more steam than Pennington offers her readers,
- The addition of a potential love interest for Mel to potentially complicate things for her and Cameron felt a bit too contrived. This simply added another layer of torture to this book. Book Smart felt a bit drawn out.
I’d love more books in Pennington’s world, however. I could see Toby and Ivy in a romance as I mentioned above. Amanda Pennington laid out possibilities, but I’d like to read a story with faster pacing and a bit more steam next time.
In love and romance,