Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

Title: Last Will and Testament
Author: Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #1
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


So, I pretty typically avoid New Adult books because I haven't had the best of luck with them. Whether it's true or not, I feel like the genre is oversaturated with plots about broken MCs saving each other with a heaping side of really great sex and that's not the type of story I'm usually in the mood to read, especially over and over again. I have enjoyed a few lighter, more fun-focused NA books, but I usually don't bother to weed those out. So, it's safe to say that if it weren't for my book club choosing this book as our September read, I probably would never have picked it up, at least not anytime soon. So I owe a huge thanks to Betty @ BookRockBetty because color me surprised, I really really really liked this one.

Something about Lizzie just spoke to me. Maybe it's because she was someone who didn't kid herself or others and I could see a little bit of myself in that. Whatever it was, I LOVED her voice. She was also fun, witty, sexy, strong, caring and REAL. Maybe she was also a little bitchy to those she didn't like but I appreciated her occasional verbal smackdowns. Life handed her a really shitty (really sad) hand of cards and yet she carried forward and turned her life around in a way that was really, really admirable. She did the best she could for herself, her brothers, and really grew up in the process. I loved her character ARC.

Connor on the other hand might be every book nerd's dream guy - nerdy, smart, kind, patient, vulnerable, sexy, and really great in bed (yes, I said that). I loved how he was there for Lizzie when she needed someone to be, but that he was real enough to freak out over the fact that she was raising two kids (and then get over it). He was such a great guy and unbelievably swoon-worthy. And yes, maybe he was her TA and 6-7 years older but it never felt creepy to me in that teacher-student-relationship way. Then again, I don't count a TA as a teacher. To me, he was a grad student and that is totally within relationship limits so I had no problem with their relationship.

This book was heavy, obviously, but it didn't have the same feel that I tend to shy away from in NA. Probably because neither character had that "broken" or "mysterious" feel to them. Lizzie lost her parents and she grieved but she also kept going. She was pretty damn normal. And there really weren't any typical tropes present - no miscommunication or self-made problems or weird attractions (like when a guy and a girl never talk but gravitate toward each other because they have the whole "damaged" thing in common). I'm probably being insensitive towards the genre - and I apologize for that - but I've had quite a few frustrating reads which makes me appreciate this one all the more.

I'm glad I read it and I'm definitely going to be reading more of Dahlia Adler's work.

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