So, I’ve been meaning to pick up some Theresa Weir for a while now. I eyed her previous NA Come as You Are, but then, given my relative ehh-ness over contemporary NA in general, I kept putting it off. Anyway, when I saw this book, He’s Come Undone, on a $.99 introductory price, and I clicked over and read the blurb.
First off, the premise reads like a romantic comedy. Other people keep comparing it to John Tucker Must Die but I think these pretending-to-be-someone-you’re-not stories have deeper roots. You know, Shakespearean roots. There’s something very compelling about the idea of falling in love with someone, but not really being able to be the “real” you for whatever reason. To sum up, this is a book about a girl who gets paid by some other girls to break the heart of a guy who slept with and then ignored all of them.
I’m going to deal with that premise just a bit at first here. (Okay, saddle up, folks. This review’s going to be long. You’ve been warned.) The first thing that I want to say is that it was just oh soooo nice to start a book and really feel like I was in good hands. It’s so rare these days that I pick up a book, especially in the NA romance genre, and it’s well plotted. The story starts on page one. So, there’s no meandering around describing things and explaining about the main character’s boring relationship with her dog or “Hey, this is my gay roommate. Let me tell you how we met and what his favorite color is and why we’re besties, even though we all know his only role in the book is going to be popping in and making commentary on the relationship that’s going to develop between me and the Hero, who won’t be showing up for several more scenes so that you can get to know more boring details about my life.” NONE of that. BAM. Story starts. Can I just talk about how much I love that? Jesus, it was like a revelation from heaven.
Next, everything went smoothly after that. Which is to say that the story began to work its way through familiar romantic comedy grooves. All the right pieces were there. The meet-cute. The progression of the relationship. The realization that the main character was in over her head because she actually liked the guy.
And you know what? If the story had only been that, I would have liked that. It was deftly done, and it was nice to read such a nicely-put-together story, something that progressed and moved forward and hit all the right notes. Sometimes when I’m reading NA books, I feel like the author was sitting at her computer evilly chuckling, “Want to watch them make up and break up twenty more times? No? Too bad. Hahahahahaha!” This book had a PLOT, ladies and gentleman. A plot. I had not realized how deeply I missed them.
Okay, but, believe it or not, it gets better. No, I’m not kidding. BETTER. Because, okay, you know that point in a romantic comedy, that point where it starts to stretch your disbelief? Where you’re like, “Oh, come on, just tell him that you’re only dating him because of a bet. There’s no reason to keep this a secret.” But in the romantic comedy, the characters just keep wandering around blindly following the set-out plot when it doesn’t make any sense exactly?
Yeah, okay, well this book doesn’t do that. It goes right to that place and then it veers off the path into this wonderful, lush, dark place. Suddenly, all the characters are REAL. Like real in a way that makes you ache. They transcend their cookie-cutter, romantic-comedy stereotypes and become fully flesh and blood with deep pain and real problems and… and it’s beautiful. Heck, there were moments in this book where it was almost Salinger-esque. And I’m thinking that was deliberate, because there’s a good bit of discussion of Salinger in the book. But the feeling of being young and adrift and confused and yet somehow fiercely alive comes across loud and clear in this book.
I don’t know. Maybe I had a different college experience than everyone else, but this book is much closer to the way it actually FEELS to be a college student than any other NA romance I’ve ever read.
And the sex scenes… Oh, the sex scenes. They were so great. I loved that they were retold in this gushing voice, the kind of voice you’d use to narrate it back to your girlfriends afterwards–you know what I’m talking about–only a hair more detailed than you’d actually be with your friends. I haven’t read sex scenes quite like these maybe ever in my entire life, and they were fantastic.
So, um, basically, this is the best book I’ve read all year. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to check out Theresa Weir, because this was… oh man, this was just great.