Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review of The Perfect Distraction (Perfect #1) by Melissa Rolka

Synopsis: When Katherine “Kate” leaves for her freshmen year at college, a grounded and stable piece of her is missing. She pushes away the ghosts of her past, determined to start her college life single, carefree and distracted.

Throughout high school Kate was reserved and shy, with little experience. Now, on her own, with little holding her back, Kate is ready to branch out. She bonds with a tight knit group of friends and even starts casually dating. What starts out as innocent flirting on the tennis courts slowly turns into a friendship and eventually something more complex. Reed comes into her life giving her the distraction she craves more than anything; but is she ready to give her heart away so easily?

Things get complicated when Kate’s ex-boyfriend and first love continues to pursue her. Kyle deeply regrets breaking her heart when he left for college the year before and is now on a mission to reclaim her. Kyle’s persistence and relentlessness is nothing short of obsessive. He will stop at nothing to win her back and prove his love.

Kate finds herself torn between her past and the unknown of the future. Her determination to stay distracted may just be her downfall or the beginning of something new and wonderful.

***For Mature Readers 18+***

4.5 Stars!

Review: The Perfect Distraction starts by introducing you to Kyle, a boy who recently finished his Freshman year of college, and has realized that he made a mistake for breaking up with his girlfriend of two years, Kate, before leaving for college. He will stop at nothing to get her back.

Kate, a year younger than Kyle, has recently graduated from high school and is beginning her own Freshman year of college, and she is determined not to give in to Kyle, as she has in the past. She wants her own chance to be free and single and enjoy her first year at college. We also begin to see that Kate has also been dealing with her mother's absence for several months, as well. I have to say that there were many levels that I really connected with Kate, and dealing with learning to grow up and leave your family at home was one of them. Kate still has her father and her younger brother, and she struggles with leaving them at home, without her mom, as she is moving on with life. She dives into her freshman year, however, and begins meeting people. She is determine to try new things and be a different person than what Kyle allowed her to be in high school.

Kate soon meets Reed Harper, who is a few years older than her, as well as being known as a majorly hot player! They make eye contact at a party, but Kate has two other guys that are making it known that they like her, as well. Kate has never really had much attention from guys, outside of Kyle, so she decides to just enjoy it for a while. She begins to run into Reed on the tennis courts, however, and they start to play together. It's nothing that is ever planned out, necessarily, but they always seem to look for one another. This, too, reminded me of my college days, and how much you try to plan to not plan on being in certain places to see that certain guy.

When Kate goes home for Christmas break, however, she runs back into Kyle. He has always been really good at convincing her to give him another chance, so they end up talking again. Kate tries her hardest to stand her ground and keep the inner strength that she has been developing for the past year or so, but it is very easy to fall back into old patterns, especially those of an old relationship. Kate is also in a difficult place, emotionally, as she is still trying to figure out how to deal with her mother's absence. I really identified with Kate's avoidance of things, because I remember having family issues during my freshman and sophomore year of college that I would do anything to try to avoid - until I couldn't avoid it any longer. That is basically what happened to Kate, as well.

Kate's relationship with Kyle is definitely toxic, as he is very controlling and dominant. She finally reaches the point, however, where she feels strong enough to take a stand against him. Enter the amazing Reed! I really loved how he seems to have literally been waiting on the sidelines for Kate, or Katherine, as he calls her. He steps in at a really low point for her and just wants to make her happy. Reed is not innocent, by any means, but he is honest with Kate, and he just wants her in any way that he can get her. Kate makes some decisions at this point that frustrated me and made me want to shake her, but I am curious to see what happens in the next book.

In many ways, this book is about Kate learning that avoidance will never really get you anywhere. It doesn't solve your problems, and it doesn't make them go away. Kate was angry with her mother, but she was also slowly realizing how much she missed her mother. She refused to acknowledge how important her mother was to her, yet most of the advice that she referenced had come from her mother. I really enjoyed seeing this somewhat realistic coming of age part of Kate's journey. As much as she frustrated me with her constant avoidance, I can realistically think of several times that I have done this in my own life - especially at that college age. I also think that she made a mature decision to work on herself, even though I think she made it in a completely immature way. But what 19 year old does not need to learn how to communicate their feelings with others? How to let others in in an appropriate way? And how to forgive yourself and maybe give yourself a break?


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