Title: Standing Up
Author: Kate Forest
Genre: NA Romance
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Brilliant physics major Jill Kramer tutors jocks in math to pay her tuition. The college junior has big dreams—NASA. And if her self-centered ex taught her anything, it’s to never again let a guy distract her from her goals, especially the hottie failing calculus
Former football star Mike Lewis hopes the cute calculus tutor will save his otherwise perfect GPA. Top grades will convince his demanding father that he’s still pursuing law school and not his real dream—the Broadway stage. Acting seems unachievable at the moment, with him hunched over crutches and in crippling pain from a past car accident, but after amputation surgery he’ll strut on state-of-the-art prosthetics.
Jill can’t help but fall for Mike—brains in his head, muscles in his chest, and vulnerability in his legs. Mike loves her determination and her refusal to pity him.
But when choices have to be made—family versus goals, dreams versus love—they both need to find strength to stand on their own, side-by-side.
Oh man, I loved this book. It has been so long since I've read a NA romance that I truly enjoyed. I'm not a fan of romances, in general, so I suppose I don't go seeking them out, and I'm quite picky with them. But this one hit all the things I like, and I loved how cute and fun it was.
Jill is me. I think that was one of the first things that hit me. A scientist, Jill isn't going to let anything come in the way of her career goals and aspirations, especially not guys. She is focused, driven, and hard-working to the point of almost being a push-over. But she was also sassy and strong and I loved that. I also loved Mike. He's dealing with his own issues, between the accident and a father that thinks he's going to law school. But he was sweet and fun and charming.
I am so tired of alpha male characters (tbh that was why I stopped reading NA and romance in general) so I am pleased to announce that this is not one of those books. I also don't feel like a lot of books cover this time period, graduating college and figuring out what the heck comes after, so I loved how that was something that was shown and addressed. Our MC's aren't perfect, but they are growing and learning about themselves and I loved that too. Because honestly, this age (my age) is just such a hard time, and I was glad to see that focused on a bit.
I will say, this book was fairly ableist. Mike constantly talks about how he's ready to get back to being a "normal" person when he can walk normally with his prosthetics. His entire life revolves around the person he will be after his surgery, how he will be a "real" man again. This idea is never corrected in the narrative. Even his therapist doesn't really mention it.
But other than that, this was a cute, fluffy story that I fully enjoyed. It brought it serious issues while still being a fun story, and I loved it.
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