I received a copy of this ARC a few weeks ago and to be honest I was really nervous about starting the book. I have a problem where I get all these books I really want to read and then can’t decide what I’m in the mood for, plus, I work full-time, am an active runner, and beginning the process of grad school. Needless to say, I have to plan time to read, and when I make it through a book in two days–like I did with this–you know that it is something special.
I tend to gravitate towards fantasy/supernatural YA, or let’s be honest, Princess Books, but once I started “The Girl He Knows,” Kristi Rose had me rethinking my entire reading strategies. How many other gems have I missed!!
Synopsis (as told by me): Paisley finds herself in bed with her best-friends older brother Hank following a rather nasty divorce. Hank is in the Navy and therefore insanely attractive, plus he’e always been there for her and knows her better than she knows her self. Paisley; however, has some issues–cause obviously she has to–and can not see what is right in front of her (i.e. Hank is the one). Throw in a funny group of girlfriends dealing with their own marriage/romance issues and you have sage advice, wisdom, and at times, some feel good feminism. Paisley dates a jerk, has a revelation, and Hank is #overit….you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next!
What I Liked: I really liked Hank. He was realistic. A lot of novels in this genre tend to gravitate towards the unattainable billionaire, who is 28, hot, and controlling. Hank, is just a really smart, caring, guy–it was a little refreshing. I know guys like Hank and that made this all the more enjoyable to read. I also enjoyed how Rose would show you a scene from Paisley’s POV and then at the end of the book made you realize that Paisley is kind of clueless. I never knew who to root for, or which character had the most stable relationship. Again, this was really refreshing. I liked how Rose showed the realities of what it means to share a life with another person, and that sometimes people on the outside looking in may not have all the answers.
What I didn’t Like: I hate to say this, but Paisley was kind of annoying. She was a very weak-willed character and I never really knew what the heck the problem was that lead her there. Sure she’s got issues, but I never saw them as being large enough to let herself be sexually assaulted. It seemed she led a pretty charmed life and it made it really hard to sympathize with her and her “issues.” I also struggled with the ending. I liked it, but it felt very abrupt to me and I would have enjoyed something a little more flushed out.
What I would Have Liked to See More of: Single ladies! I totally get that this is a book about relationships, perceptions, and the ability to be okay on your own, but there wasn’t really anyone on their own to drive that point across. The one single character–excluding Paisley– ended up in a relationship and everyone else was married or getting there. As someone in the same age demo as the group in the story, I struggled with the concept that in you mid/late twenties being married is so important. Sure, it happens, but I don’t think everyone is struggling towards that end goal. Marriage was a huge, huge theme in this book. The general consensus seemed to be–marriage =good, single=bad. There were some real gems of female empowerment here, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked Paisley to understand that marriage shouldn’t be your end goal; it’s not what dictates your success or failure. The problem is, she doesn’t have any true examples of what this looks like. Hank delivers a rousing speech at the end about being comfortable solo, and even I was like ‘”man if everyone in my life was married I’d be so sad single.” Basically, the message looses it’s meaning to Paisley and the reader.
Overall, I highly recommend picking up the book. It’s a fast read full of wonderful writing, and a truly sweet romance. Plus, hot Naval dudes…I grew up near the Naval Academy and just trust me on this one… 7.5/10
You can pre-order your copy on Amazon