To say that I’m excited by the emergence of New Adult as a genre is a gross understatement. I’m ecstatic. And I’m not picky about the kind of New Adult, either. Because New Adult comes in many forms – from erotic romance featuring late teens/early twenty-somethings, to angsty, edgy love stories to heartbreaking coming of age novels. For those of you who aren’t entirely sure what New Adult is, if it features people 17+ experiencing their ‘firsts’ (first love, first heartbreak, first time having sex or taking drugs etc) and features romance, then it probably sits in the New Adult genre.
So, now that you’re up to speed, let me introduce you to the Queen of New Adult and internet sensation, Abbi Glines and, specifically, her Sea Breeze series. I’d heard a lot about this series, both from reviews and the indisputable bestseller rankings, but picked up Because of Low (the 2nd in the Sea Breeze series) with some hesitation. The review copy I was sent had a Fifty Shades-esque cover and, not that I’m hating on Fifty Shades, but I wanted a book with deep emotional attachment as well as a bit of below-the-belt action. Boy, did I get it.
In this gorgeous novel, we meet Low (Willow), a college junior who is doing her utmost to keep her head above water, despite the best efforts of her selfish and demanding sister, poor upbringing and complete lack of financial support. Her only real friend is Cage, a guy even more messed up than she is who loves her but can’t commit to her. Enter Marcus, a boy from a rich family (but fiercely independent) who has come back to Sea Breeze and moved in with Cage. He’s been burnt before and has been warned off Low by Cage, but despite all of this can’t resist her. Low, too, has learn not to trust her heart but can’t help falling for Marcus who seems to exist to make her happy. But, as can be expected, circumstances turn against them and threaten their fragile new relationship, and both Low and Marcus begin to regret opening themselves to each other.
Low may at first seem a familiar character to regular readers of YA and New Adult Romance – she sees herself as excessively ordinary and undeserving of love, and yet men are obsessed by her. Don’t let this turn you off – Glines subtly crafts complexity into her heroine layer by layer, page by page. Marcus is gorgeous (and smoking hot) – his dedication to his family and the way this effects his life and relationships is brilliantly depicted by Glines. This isn’t your typical poor girl/rich boy love story; both lead characters have their own finely crafted motivations, strengths and flaws and watching them play out makes for great, compelling reading. On top of this, Because of Low is a sexy, compulsively readable romance – something this reviewer can never have enough of.
Haylee Nash is romance specialist at Booktopia and as such gets to read saucy romance day-in, day-out…which can occasionally result in the rather enjoyable, but distracting side effect of elaborate romantic fantasies. You can find her on facebook at Romance at Booktopia or on twitter at @LoveAtBooktopia.