Wow, I have no words to describe how much I love this book. But since I reeeally want to write this review, I better find some.
So I’ll go straight to the point. This book was so different in atmosphere than the author’s previous ones and, if possible, I loved it even more. The portrayal of NY is spot on. It’s not an idealization à la “Sex and the City”. THIS NY is gritty, real, loud, and doesn’t smell like roses. And yet it couldn’t be more charming. Living now in this crazy city, it was a joy for me to find and discover known and new places.
The stereotype about people in New York is that they’re mean, but that’s wrong. It’s just that there are certain social codes everyone here knows — codes like “don’t stand like an idiot in the middle of a busy sidewalk,” “don’t stand in front of the subway car doors during rush hours if you’re not getting off at the next stop,” and “never, ever drive your car through a crosswalk when pedestrians are present.”
“I’m walking here!” is a real saying. I’ve used it myself. In a city of almost eight million people stuffed into a few small boroughs, no one has the patience for those who don’t know the rules.“
Maybe that’s why I became obsessed with New York when I visited in high school with my parents. It’s a city full of in-betweens. Of people like me.
(Ain’t that relatable? At least for me that’s spot on.)
Now onto the romance. What. A. Romance. It was epic, hands down, from the very first moment. I don’t want to call it insta-love not to bulk this book with Alexa Rileys and all those other “I saw you, now you belong to me” books. No, it was not insta-love, but from the first time they see each other the attraction is palpable. But very realistically, they don’t jump into it right away, instead dancing around each other for a while, testing their new feelings, getting acquainted with them. I always find Nicole French’s romances really relatable especially for the way she makes her character behave exactly like normal people would. You know, in that thing called real life? And in the end it adds a level of depth to the story that you can rarely find in romance nowadays.
Nico hugs me closer, draping one heavy leg over mine and slipping a lean, muscled arm around my waist so he is curved completely around the back of my body. He fits there. We fit, like two crooked pieces of the crazy jigsaw puzzle of this city, with its eight million other parts.
Still, I don’t want you to think that because it’s very real-life-oriented, it’s not epically romantic. This is the story of 26 years old Nico Soltero, a half-puertorican from Harlem, FedEx employee extraordinaire and occasional bouncer, falling madly in love with a 19 years old NYU student from a rich family. You may think you’ve read this before, bad boy falls for the prim and proper girl. Think again.
“I’m Nico. Your friendly neighborhood FedEx delivery man.”
What. The Fuck. Your friendly neighborhood FedEx delivery man? I sound like Mister Rogers with this shit. This girl is gonna thing I’m an idiot.
Nico may look like a Bad Boy but his heart is made of gold. His whole family depends on his and for his whole life he’s been the person people could rely one, and now all he wants is to do something just for himself, something to set him free of the cage he’s been living in. He’s goofy, beyond handsome, a complete sweetheart, but with the occasional Alpha male streak.
I still get the shivers when I think to a particular scene… but I’ll give you a quote for it.
“Next time you tell that motherfucker you got a man.”
Out of context it may not seem so hot but believe me, in that moment I was all kinds of flustered.
And Layla is in a situation, with her mixed heritage and her parent’s beliefs, that makes her very relatable. She comes from money, sure, but she is more broke than Nico. Her parents are not supporting her but for her tuition and believe me, NY is crazy expensive. Even surviving here costs more than being a big spender elsewhere. I loved the little details French put into the book about how Layla has sometimes to choose between breakfast or lunch, or going out for a night of partying and groceries. The struggle is real, folks.
Ugh, I hate it when these kinds of guys do this, start to play that stupid geography game just because I have dark hair and a bigger butt that you average Connecticut trust-funder. Like they all jerked off watching Aladdin too many times as kids, and not they want to sleep with Princess Jasmine.
I’m not going to go deeper into the story because I want you to buy this book, and laugh and cry and dream and swoon with it. I can tell you that I could barely detach my eyes from it because I was addicted to the story, to the characters and their love.
I snuggle up against his warm chest and he folds me close, using one hand to cradle my head and run his fingers through my loose curls. It’s a gesture he does a lot, one that makes me feel so loved and cherished. One that makes my heart open to the love I feel too.
Something I particularly appreciated was how the author really took the time to develop their relationship and having the characters interact in many different ways with each other. We see them on cloud nine, and then fighting, and then making up and going on dates. We get to witness the full scope of their relationship. A 360 panorama on what it means to be Nico Laya (#Layco)
On a side note, this book was H.A.W.T. Like, wow, somebody pass me the fan!
In conclusion, it was definitely one of my top reads this year. It contained all the things a reader could possibly wish for and that this particular reader finds priceless in a romance. I was Layla and I was Nico. I felt with them, the desperation of their love and the utter strength of it. This book truly captivated me and kidnapped me from reality and the feelings it channeled through me… I couldn’t help but experience them like a layer of skin had been peeled off my soul. This book was not all smooth sailing, but it was powerful.
Now I’ll be waiting with bated breath for the next book to be out. I need my next Soltero fix.
If I just ruined my chances with this girl, I’m going to break my own arm off.
Layla. I want to go on a date with her. I want to take her out to dinner and hold her hand while we walk around the city. I want to know what kinds of sounds she makes when I kiss her, or maybe even when I do other things to her too.
Take it easy on Sunday, maybe go see some art or something.”
smirk. That’s right, baby. I can use big words too.
not writing or teaching about writing, she is hanging out with her family,
playing soccer with the rest of the thirty-plus crowd in Seattle, or going on
dates with her husband. In her spare time, she likes to go running with her dog,
Greta, or practice the piano, but never seems to do either one of these things
as much as she should.