Monday, August 18, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: In Too Deep by Mara Jacobs

Back on the college campus tour...Have you heard of Bribury College? If not, now is the time to enroll. The first book in the Freshman Roommates Trilogy set at this fictional elite school is available now and two more stories are to come. Let’s sit in on a lesson in love, growing up, and becoming your own person.

In Too Deep (Freshman Roommates Trilogy, Book 1) by Mara Jacobs
(Grades will be given in lieu of stars for these college titles)

Freshman, Lily Spaulding doesn’t believe in love at first sight. Or at least she doesn’t think so till her eyes land on tall, dark, and handsome Lucas Kade while she’s giving swimming lessons in the university pool.

Lily is instantly smitten. Lucas is a bit standoffish. Perhaps because of Lily’s lax supervision of her swimming students (Lily is distracted by Lucas’s good looks), or because he doesn’t think an elite college girl like Lily would need of a working-class boy like him.

Set at a prestigious college outside DC, Lily is at the school of her father’s choosing and with a roommate of his choosing. She has been raised in a privileged life and followed all the rules, but it’s the local boy from the other side of the tracks that catches her eye. Lucas is the big brother of one of her 6 year old swimming lesson students, Andy. Lucas is not like the other cookie-cutter elite rich boys at school and he comes with some baggage, but Lily only has eyes for him.

21 year old Lucas Kade doesn't believe in second chances. He has made some mistakes in his past, and he has some big responsibilities on his shoulders. But when almost 19 year old Lily is willing to see the real person and look beyond his troubles, he starts to reconsider. This is a sweet story that moves along at a great pace. I was 40% into it when I realized I hadn’t put it down since I started it.

The care-free elements of young adulthood are captured well—riding in cars with “bad boys,” hot dorm room hook-ups, and stolen “heated” moments told via the alternating first person point of views of Lily and Lucas.
"'I'm going to free all of that rolling around inside you Lily. And it will be mine.'"
Typical of his age, Lucas makes some immature “dick moves.” There is sufficient drama to keep the pages turning but at the same time the story is free of over-the-top angst, and there is no cheating/no one scheming to keep them apart. The obstacles they encounter are appropriate and realistic to what is going on in their lives and differences in their backgrounds. And yet, while they come from different backgrounds they are both just two young adults trying to make their own (and the right) choices while basically on their own for the first time in their lives. I liked how they didn’t keep secrets from each other; for the most part they were upfront and honest right from the start.

There are reveals to the reader along the way—what happened to Andy’s mom? What exactly does Stick’s “self-employed” job entail? Why must Lily “babysit” Jane? And a few other questions that I imagine will be explored in Jane’s book. There is no cliffhanger though. Lucas and Lily’s is a complete story with an HEA.

While this first book in the series focuses on Lily and Lucas, we meet Lily’s friends who will be the focus of the future books. Lily’s roommate, Jane is nothing plain, and Lucas’s buddy, Stick, is a colorful character. (I’m rooting for a pairing there despite their overt animosity towards each other.) The supporting characters are interesting and make this story just as much about friendship and loyalty as it is a very sweet and “steamy” romance. All the characters, even with their flaws, are very likable and mature. The book is about making hard choices, learning from your mistakes, but also about believing in love.

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