Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #1
Published: December 9th, 2014
Publisher: Self-published
414 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Kobo}

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

In a nutshell:
Is Last Will and Testament for you? Well…do you like:
1. A strong, kickass, smart-mouthed, sassy, hilarious, honest heroine who says what’s on her mind, makes mistakes, but always picks herself up and carries on no matter how hard things get?
2. A sexy, nerdy French Canadian who appears crusty, but actually has a heart of gold? (And is willing to take much-needed fashion advice?)
3. A romance that will make you swoon, make you want to scream, and leave you needing a cold shower (or six)?
4. A story that will make you laugh, tear up, root for the characters, and sigh happily at the end?
Did you answer yes to all? I hope you did, because those things are all awesome and they're all in this book. So READ. THIS. BOOK. You won’t regret it.

Last Will and Testament is one of those books that confirms my love of New Adult. With characters and a storyline that grip your attention—and your heart—it’s impossible not to get invested and love this book.

I loved Lizzie’s voice from the very first page. She was funny, irreverent, and unapologetically herself. She said what she thought, and she made mistakes. She was wonderfully flawed and realistic, and I loved her for that. I laughed so hard at some of the things she said and thought (especially the somewhat inappropriate things). It was refreshing to come across a character like her who just said it like it was. Her growth amazed me and made me so freaking proud, the way I would be of a friend who was floundering but did their damnedest to keep pushing, keep going, and do whatever it took to make it.
Then there was Connor. Oh Connor. *sigh* Despite seeming surly and way too serious, he actually had a heart of gold. He was such a good person. The way he helped Lizzie, the way he was there for her and the things he did for her made me love him so much. And I might be a little biased (okay, I totally am), but I loved that Connor was Canadian. I also loved that there weren’t any annoying stereotypes about Canada/Canadians, which in itself was refreshing. The first time Connor swore in French, I laughed myself silly, because it really is such a French Canadian Catholic thing to swear the way he did. It was endearing and funny at the same time.

Lizzie and Connor seem like such an unlikely couple, but I think that’s part of why they work so well together. They balance each other out, and Connor is exactly the type of guy Lizzie needs while she’s trying to keep her life together. He helps her, but also gives her the encouragement and support she needs to be strong herself and learn to be what her brothers need. I love how they both changed slowly into better versions of themselves for each other. It was never one of those ‘I have to do this or he won’t like me anymore’ type things, it was more like ‘he makes me want to be a better person and I should do this for myself as much as for him’. They had the type of love that makes you want to be a better person in general, without giving up who you are or compromising your true self. It was beautiful.

Besides being funny and realistic and heartfelt, this book is SEXY. Like super sexy, and I loved every second of it. Lizzie was completely open about and comfortable with her sexuality. She was like YAY SEX, which made me YAY LIZZIE. That was something else that was refreshing about this book. A lot of people say there’s too much sex in NA, but I think it’s all about the approach. If the sex is gratuitous or feels out of place, you might wish there was a fast-forward button, but in a case like this, where it’s such a positive thing, it’s welcome, at least for me. I wish there had been more books like this when I was younger, because then maybe I wouldn’t have had the narrow view of sex and pleasure I did when I was in my late teens/early twenties.

If you’re looking for a contemporary New Adult story that’s gripping, emotional, funny, sexy, and swoony, with the right amount of tension (but low on the angst), and lots of heart, I can’t recommend Last Will and Testament enough. This is one of my favourite books of 2014, and is high on my list of favourite NAs.  

Have you read Last and Will and Testament? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read Dahlia's YA debut Behind the Scenes? How do you feel about teacher-student books? What are some of your favourite NAs of 2014? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

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