I really enjoyed this book! I am not sure why it surprised me because my friends that recommended this book rarely go wrong with me, but still this book surprised me.
This story is a sweet romance, a wonderful build to a beautiful ending and along the way it is peppered with great sexual tension. The set-up of the story is not storybook perfect. Nobody is rich, nobody is perfect - it was all just so real.
I loved the portrayal of Mexican-American culture -- the culture was just part of the story line and it was done very authentically. I appreciate other authors attempting to represent Mexican-American culture, I really do appreciate it -- but it is often not done well. This was done well.
So would you date a man who is 8 years younger than you? Would you fall in love with him? What if he saw you when you were 40lbs overweight and was your personal trainer? My answer to all of that would likely be no -- and the heroine's answer in this story is "no" as well. The author did a great job in showing a realistic objection by a normal 28 year old woman to dating a younger man. The characters in this novel were real and just so well written. They struggled with real life situations - job, fidelity, friends and lost family members. The author did a great job at showing how a recent weight gain affects a woman's self esteem.
Feeling as if she'd aged ten years and heavier than she'd ever been in her life, there was no way she was showing her face there again.
The "hero" of the story, Noah, is a boxer, almost 20 years old and an orphan. These aren't spoilers -- the readers know this at the start of the story. He grew up in the foster system and truly has nobody but his friends. The story behind how he lost his family is heartbreaking. And I appreciate how the author wove it into the story. The "heroine" is Veronica or "Roni". She is alone after the death of her mother and very depressed. Noah and Roni are very similar to each other in that they only have their friends, no family but they are separated by 8 years of life experience. Noah is realistically written as a young man. He still parties with his friends and he has a young man's hopes - the author wrote their difference in age as a realistic gap and I loved how the characters worked through this.
I just loved this story. I could have done without the epilogue though. I am an epilogue lover -- but not this one.
Will I read #2? Well, I heard the next one in this series is not as good, but I will still read more in this series. I really enjoy how the author writes characters, so it is worth it to go on.