Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ARC Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Flirt
240 Pages

Fans of Monica Murphy and Tammara Webber will savor this New Adult novel—a story about coming of age in the heat of the moment—from Julie Cross, the internationally bestselling author of the Tempest trilogy.

I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

I love when I’m pleasantly surprised by a book I had never heard of before starting to read it. It’s like I found a gem I didn’t know existed. Third Degree had humor, realism, romance, and heartache. I laughed, I shook my head in frustration, I melted, I literally felt it all. 

Isabel Jenkins is a child prodigy who excelled at everything and failed at nothing – except the emotional readiness test before getting her residency at John Hopkins. Having graduated medical school at 19, she had the smarts, but she struggled with basic human relationships. Basically, she didn’t see the point. This outlook left her cold and emotionless when dealing with patients and their sometimes heartbreaking medical assessments. Having missed normal experiences a girl her age has, she goes back to college to prove to everyone that she is indeed ready to be a doctor. 

This is where Marshall Collins comes in. He’s her RA and is instantly charming. Not gonna lie, I swooned for him multiple times. 

“I was fully prepared to keep this relationship professional, considering my position of authority. Now you’ve gone and made it all NC-17.”

He jokes, he teases, but most of all, he helps. He’s the only one who knows Isabel’s story and he takes it upon himself to show her the ropes of college. However, they both soon find out that it’s not as easy as it seems. Isabel is convinced that everyone around her is the problem, not her. She’s never been told no in her life before, never not gotten what she’s wanted, but she’s thrust into a life where people don’t bend over backward to accommodate her. 

Her story, while at times is frustrating, is emotional and written so believably well. Change isn’t instant and it definitely takes Isabel awhile to let go and just let herself feel. And Marshall was there every step of the way – pushing. I loved their relationship and how they ended up both helping each other. 

Nothing comes easy in life, even when you’re a child prodigy. Having emotions doesn’t make you less of a person, if anything, it makes you better. Those are probably the main points of the book and I enjoyed reading about Isabel’s journey to get there.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

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