Published: February 21st 2014
From: Free on Amazon
Rating: 4 out of 5
"I need to learn," I said in a very small, quiet voice. "You have to teach me…" I faltered here as the whole thing was really just too sordid to put into words. I thought I had a good grasp of the English language, but I had no clue how to put my dilemma to him.
"Teach you…?" He prompted.
"Teach me it!" I finally choked out. "What happens when you actually like the…touching and the….the…fondling and the…it, you know." I had never been so embarrassed in my life. The age old 'you could have fried on egg on my face' adage actually seemed kind of plausible I felt that hot and flustered. But - would you believe it? - Jack still hadn't cottoned on to what I was on about. He looked at me completely blankly and I could almost see his mind whirring as he tried to connect the bits…
After a rather hideous break up with her boyfriend due to her inability to 'put out’, Talia bullies her brother's best friend into teaching her the complexities of a 'full' relationship. Turns out uni courses have nothing on life lessons!
Let me start by saying this is a heart-wrangler story. By that I mean it will have your emotions all over the place. Your heart will do that stop/start thing multiple times and by the end you'll be so exhausted from the twists and unexpected turns you'll have to think about it for a while before you can function.
Things you should bear in mind before reading. This is a long book. The narrative is very full with descriptions and back story. The characters are all fully flushed out to so for me I didn't mind it too much. Secondly, if you want a hot steamy read with lots of flesh and all the rest then you'll be disappointed. This is not a 'sexy' book in the strictest term, though we do get lots of emotions flying back and forth. The story is also told in Australian English. I'm British English so fully familiar with the terms and phrasing but many might find the writing odd with unfamiliar grammatical words and sentences.
So, Natalia who is also called Talia or Tally has grown up with a close family network. That being her really cool mum, dad, older brother Matt and his best friend Jack. Jack has a sad history in his own family so basically lived with Talia's family since she was young. Now her, Matt and Jack all share an apartment in the city. Talia is 18 and studying Law at the same University the other two go to. Her best friend Simone comes from their small town back home and they've been friends since children also. Other characters are a member of their group such as Micky and Sam (brothers) and Tommo (again, who lived near them back home). The group is tight but they still have gripes with one another. Tally and Mickey don't get on from the get-go. In fact, Micky is downright rude to her most of the time.
Tally had an altercation with a guy at a party some time ago which didn't end well. Now she has touching 'issues'. She's just caught her boyfriend of six months in bed with another girl and he says it's because she's frigid and won't 'put out'. She's horrified that maybe something's wrong with her. She needs someone to help her get over these issues. Someone she trusts wholeheartedly. Someone like Jack.
As I wrote earlier this book has lots of twists and unexpected turns. The story is thorough and extensive. This isn't a simple tale of Talia overcoming her issues. But actually its about Talia becoming aware of who she really is and learning about love. She makes a lot of mistakes over the course of the story. She upsets people with her non-filtered mouth but she isn't unkind underneath all her normal confidence.
On the whole I liked her. The only time I didn't was her jealous outburst at Haley because she thinks she's after Jack and being insincere all the time. The other characters also have their own problems and Talia learns how to balance her own judgmental attitude mixed with ongoing drama with being a good or sometimes not so good friend. The odds don't always go in her favour.
Jack is a great character. I really liked him from the start mainly because he wasn't fickle when Talia was around although his hardest test was sleeping with his best friend's sister and living with the guilt of not telling Matt. Matt himself is a typical older brother. Very protective and always looking out for her. Eventually it becomes his downfall when he learns about Talia and Jack.
All in all a great book despite it being long and slow sometimes. I'd like to read more from Jessie Star now :)
You can find Jessie Star here: