Make It Count by Megan Erickson ( web | tweet )
Book 1 of Bowler University series.
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse
Target audience: Mature young adult/New Adult
Keywords: college, tutoring, learning disability, romance, friendship
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss. (Thanks!)
Summary: Kat is desperate for help in statistics and can’t believe her luck with her boyfriend’s roommate, Alec, turns out to be her tutor. He has absolutely never liked her. Suddenly, she’s looking forward to tutoring sessions because of, well, not the smoothies or the statistics. It’s true Kat isn’t much into long-term commitments; she lets a relationship run its course and then moves on. But there is something about Alec — she wants to talk to him about things she never brings up with anyone. After a lousy breakup with his high school sweetheart, Alec isn’t ready to trust anyone again but when his tutoring gig leads him to Kat; he finds himself feeling a way he hasn’t let himself in a long time even though he knows he shouldn’t.
five (see? I’m being mathematical) reasons to pick up MAKE IT COUNT
1. I feel like I need to say this is not a cheating book. I know a lot of readers have a hang up about this so I don’t want this detail to deter you from picking up Megan’s book. When we meet Kat and her boyfriend, Max, it’s so obvious things aren’t working out. Max is acting differently; Kat is holding back and it’s only a matter of time. Even so, Alec and Kat’s tutoring sessions lead to an automatic friendship. (A playful, almost-immediately intimate one.)
2. Kat is not a perfect student, and as the story goes on, readers learn about her struggles even as a young kid. Her parents didn’t push her to go to college because she was never much of an academic. Right off the bat, I admired Kat’s drive. But the second part? I have yet to read a book where a character had a learning disability. She goes through a range of emotions (esp. in the way she finds out about it) and I think Erickson wrote this part of Kat’s character with so much care and thoroughness. Too many times characters in NA don’t have this kind of depth and I appreciated this layer to Kat and how this struggle caused her to grow as the story went on.
3. Alec is geeky hot. And his nickname is Zuk like Danny Zuko in Grease. How adorable is that? Immediately, Alec felt like a mature and super laidback character. He was concerned about his friends; he has that “fixer” quality that I so understand in people. (I have it too.) He’s also respectful and super thoughtful. But he’s also not perfect. Like anyone, he doesn’t know how to handle all situations even though he wants to be. He hasn’t had the happiest childhood (though his mom is a treat) but has used tragedy to propel him forward. As a leading guy, he knew to keep his distance because his friendship with Max was important to him (they are childhood pals) but also preferred having Kat in his life SOMEHOW. Even if it wasn’t the way he wanted it to be, at first.
4. Let’s hear it for the supporting characters. Erickson did a great job of evolving each of the main character’s separate stories. Alec’s voice of reason was Danica, one of his classmates, who always tells him how it is (even when he doesn’t want to hear it). And for Kat, there’s Tara. The two girls have obviously spent a lot of time together, they know each other’s families and there’s just a nice comfortable feeling to their friendship. Even as we got further into the book, Erickson did not stop developing great side characters. I had a nice handle on this group of people, how they operated, and how important they were to each other.
5. The best for last? The chemistry between Alec and Kat was insane. Despite all the “life” things on my mind this week and all the plans we had, I could not could not get Alec and Kat out of my mind. WOULD THEY EVER KISS? OMG I CAN’T STAND IT. CAN I POSSIBLY SNEAK MY BOOK AT THIS VERY INOPPORTUNE MOMENT? Yes, it was that kind of book. A nice, slow burn. Totally worth the wait. Bonus: you could tell the author worked carefully to create Alec and Kat as two separate characters. Yes, they complimented each other but they weren’t dependent on one another to live their lives. I respected that. Yay for healthy relationships!
I think you know where I’m going with this…