Confession: This is the first “New Adult” book I’ve ever read. I’m not very familiar with this new genre. What I can gather is that is deals with young adults aged eighteen to twenty-six experiencing issues related to the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Typical themes include going to college, joining the military, and experiencing their first “real love.” Now to the review.
Kelli Pinkins is a wealthy teenager and owner of one of the most enterprises businesses that I have ever heard of. Kelli works as a Friday Night Alibi, the squeaky clean teenager that parents are comfortable with their sons dating and their daughters befriending. For a fee, Kelli develops a date night or “BFF” package that provides the other rich teens of Sundale with an alibi that their parents will accept while they are free to do what they really want to do. The “arrangements” necessitates Kelli staying in on Friday nights, and she whiles away the time playing on her XBOX with another person who has nowhere to be on a Friday night.
Everything changes when Kelli’s best friend, Sades, forces her to go to a pool hall one Friday night. While there, she meets Chase, an obnoxious college student who seems clueless to the fact she isn’t interested in him. With help from Sades, Chase begins showing up at the Country Club and showing his butt (literally) to Kelli. Not only does Kelli find Chase’s antics ridiculous, she is having bigger problems. Not only does she begin to have feelings for one of her regular clients, but the client’s parents think their “relationship” is serious enough for them to want to meet her. Kelli’s growing feelings for Chase will only complicate matters. But as Kelli spends more of her days and Friday nights sparring with Chase, she begins to develop feeling for him. It’s a good thing her parents never take an interest in her social life–until they hear about Chase’s antics at the Country Club and Kelli’s date to meet Alex’s parents. Is Kelli willing to give up being everyone’s go to Friday Night Alibi to have a love life of her own?
Using my romance novel review rubric, here’s how Friday Night Alibi fared:
- Main characters I care about. It took me a while to fall in love with Kelli. I thought she was a spoiled rich girl at first. It took a little while for me to see the tender side of her character and her motivation behind being the Friday night alibi girl. Even though she had to grow on me, I really did like her by the end of the book. However, I loved Chase pretty much from the very beginning. The way he didn’t care about conventions and social niceities and made a point of playing on Kelli’s insistence on presenting herself as the well-behaved goody two shoes made me love him. Once more of his motivations were revealed, he had even more awe-worthy attributes. The supporting characters of Sades, Kelli’s father, and Alex were well developed as well.
- Unique ways of throwing the main characters together. Although the ways the characters were thrown together weren’t very unique, I have to give Chase credit for engineering some great meetings–and I have to give Kelli credit from a great payback scene. I don’t want to give it away, but more than once, I cringed while thinking about how much it had to hurt!
- A sweet reveal of their true feelings for one another. Chase’s reveal of his feelings for Kelli was very sweet–and something else. It’s hard to say without giving things away, so I will just say that Chase did a great job of expressing his feelings more than once. Kelli’s a lot more hesitant to admit to her feelings for Chase, but in the end, it’s delivered in a genuine way.
- Make me feel as if I haven’t missed out on the best part of the journey. The beginning of any relationship can be great. It’s hard to pinpoint when problems will arise and if the couple will be able to survive them to ride off into the sunset together. With Chase and Kelli, though, it doesn’t really matter as much. This could turn out to be the love of their lives or just their first real love, but they’ve both grown and changed so much being together, that story would be about to different people than this one. I think the book ended right where it needed to.
Overall, I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. A male love interest that the girl can’t stand at first is a favorite romance trope of mine, and I liked the Friday Night Alibi angle. Mae does a great job of fleshing out the characters and making me care about them. There weren’t many unique ways of throwing them together, but Mae made the ways in which they were thrown together fresh and fun. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun read that captures the joys and cringe-worthy moments of truly falling in love for the first time, and anyone wanting to experience the innocence of that time again.
Friday Night Alibi– ***/**** stars, B+ For characterization, unique premise, and gooey sweetness throughout.