Book Review : No Judgments by Meg Cabot

No Judgments: A Novel

Author : Meg Cabot
Published By : HarperCollins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Year Published : Coming Out September 24, 2019. Preorder Available.
Genre / Tags : Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Formats : Paperback
# of Pages : 384 pages

Summary

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

Review

This is a sweet, light, scenic little chick lit romance about a hurricane devastating a coastal town in Florida. Two things drew me to this book initially, one being that unlikely premise of a cute romance in the midst of a hurricane and two being that it’s by Meg Cabot. I’ve yet to read books by her despite hearing that this author was one of the best early YA writers. 

Here’s What I Liked

– Amazing cat rep. I should probably start by mentioning the main character Bree but I’d rather talk about her cat, Gary. He is a sweet and lovable cat without an ounce of sass. So often I hear of cats having this reputation as being sassy/cold/mean. Meanwhile in reality I’ve known the neediest, cuddliest, most lovable balls of fluff cats. It’s great to see cats like Gary, we need more cats like Gary in fiction.

– The romance is slow-moving. Your mileage may vary on appreciating this but I like slow, gradual, natural development in romance. Bree and Drew are cute and while she’s quickly attracted to him, I didn’t sense insta-love and when they finally kiss it’s after a decent amount of interaction, tension, and character-building. Also love that they’re both animal lovers. Some of the issues I’ll mention in the didn’t-like section were made up for by that at least.

– There is a real atmosphere. This is a very summer-y book. The brief but good descriptions of Bree’s seaside neighborhood and the offbeat but endearing locals are nicely realized. The conversations she has with them are convincing and give a warm and fuzzy atmosphere. There is some funny dialogue. Going to use the word ‘mancation’ to describe being single from now on.

– Just a quick and relaxed read. This is one you could finish in a day if it keeps your attention. I spread it out into 2-3 days.

Didn’t Like

– Bree irked at times. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an alright character, but her stubborn insistence to chillax on this island when winds are tearing down her doorstep was maddening. Especially when Gary’s life could be at stake. I could, on occasion, be found yelling at the pages just chastising the character. Does anyone else do that?

– Based on the description I was expecting Bree and Drew to go on some animal-saving journey in the ruins of their island town. This plot thread is small and loaded around the end of the book. A lot of huge events and plot wrap ups are packed into the last 30% or so, to an almost comical effect.The calm before the storm, by comparison, takes up around the first half of the whole book. I hope to never again think this morbid thought- “When is the storm coming? Can it just happen now please?” Would have been better for the overall story to move it along faster and have the storm occur sooner.

One other thing of note, not a didn’t like but just a content warning. Bree is a survivor of assault. It’s just lightly touched upon at the beginning of the book but becomes a surprisingly relevant plot line later on. At one point she confronts her attacker. Given the light and airy fluff that permeates the majority of this book, I found this scene a bit questionable in its handling. Bree says some worthwhile things during the encounter. But without spoiling it, I’ll just say this much- I thought this was a less than effective scene and some readers may be put off if they are sensitive to that subject matter in the first place.

To sum it all up, I enjoyed No Judgments. May or may not be open to the sequel, depends on its aims. I think a new set of characters in this setting might be nice to see in keeping things fresh.

Note : I received an advanced reader’s copy of this title courtesy of NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers.

Overall Rating – 8/10

Why You Might Like It – If you’re looking for a light, positive, seaside romance read. Pageturner readability. The main pair are animal lovers and their relationship and attraction grows gradually and naturally. Nicely atmospheric. A sort of quirky charm, Bree has a lot going on and the end of the storyline seeks to wrap up multiple bits of unfinished business. Some funny dialogue.

Why You Might Not Like It – Bree and Drew don’t handle the impending natural disaster in a way that’s very smart. They can come off as a bit dim if you don’t get wrapped up by the book’s overall tone of silly whimsy.

No Judgments: A Novel (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thanks for reading my review! Are you interested in reading No Judgments? Have you read anything else by Meg Cabot? I am curious to hear your thoughts, thank you as always in advance for your comments and likes. Until next time-

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