There are quite a few elements that Jordan uses to set this book apart from the rest. With stories focusing on the good girl trying to go after the guy she thinks is the best for her rather than the actual guy that is, there lacks a certain depth. But in FOREPLAY, the author gives our heroine, Pepper, a psychological reason for setting her sights on Hunter Montgomery due to her troubled childhood past. Hunter is her best friend's older brother. During her teenage years, Pepper would spend many days and evenings at the Montgomery's. Blinded by the yearning for the "perfect home life" that she experienced at their home, she thinks being with Hunter is the key to happily ever after.
Let's face it, ladies. In stories like these, a hero can either make or break a book. Thank the gods Sophie Jordan knows how to write a hunky male lead! At first I was a little nervous when I came to realize FOREPLAY was strictly going to be in Pepper's POV. I guess I've been getting spoiled with authors writing dual perspectives. After all, I'm the type of gal that likes getting into the heads of "bad boy" characters. But I had nothing to worry about. Jordan used it to her advantage. Reece turned out to be this very sexy, mysterious, strong/silent type. Since we are only able to see Reece through Pepper, I was drawn to him just as much as she was, because I felt like I was experiencing her curiosity and excitement, right alongside her.
Even though we never got a chance to see things through Reece's eyes, I found him a very intriguing character. First and foremost, there is a bit of a twist in his actual identity (which has something to do with his younger brother) that I didn't see coming. My lips are sealed since I don't want to spoil anything, but it was nice that the book synopsis didn't give away everything which quite frequently happens. Aside from that, Reece is a young man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. At 23 years old, he has experienced the loss of a mother, an abusive, alcoholic father that blames him for his current state of handicap, owns and runs the family bar (which is where Pepper meets him), all while trying to raise his wild 17-18 year old younger brother Logan. And because of this heap of responsibility, he quite college. I guess what I liked about Reece is the fact that there is a realistic quality to his character. I'm all for characters that are given shitty circumstances and turn things around for the better.
Now that everyone knows I liked both Pepper and Reece, you're probably wondering about their chemistry. OFF THE FREAKIN' CHARTS! Jordan definitely knows how to build sexual tension. And once we get to the foreplay...oh, yeah, HOT HOT HOT. That first scene where Reece drags Pepper through the back of the bar, up the stairs to his apartment...the things he says and does to her...*fans self* Yeah, definitely worth the build up.
The trouble I had with the story actually starts once Pepper finally decides to go all the way with Reece. Reece has an apartment above the bar which gives them total privacy, yet where do they finally do the deed??? At her dorm/apartment which she shares with 2 other people! I was disappointed because this is not the first book I've read where the girl loses her virginity at her dorm (some examples would be True by Erin McCarthy, My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron). I get this is a NA book where most of the characters are in their college years, so it does make sense that sexual situations would happen at a dorm. But come on! Think a little outside the box! Especially since Reece has his own place!
From that point on, the story started to turn pretty generic for me. The "big thing" that happens at the end of the story felt too contrived. I can't say much more or else I'll be in spoiler territory.
FOREPLAY was a pleasurable read and Sophie Jordan deserves a pat on the back for creating a relatively fresh story out of a tired old formula. While the plot does fall a little flat somewhere in the middle to the end of the book, the author's strength is in her characters. I really enjoyed Pepper and Reece. FOREPLAY is the 1st novel in the Ivy Chronicles, so I definitely look forward to seeing what characters Jordan writes about next.
FOREPLAY Book Trailer