The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

The Hook Up (Game On Book 1) - Kristen Callihan

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"The second our gazes connect, hot tingles zap through me, making my breath catch and my nipples harden. The sensation is so unnerving that I can only sit there, my hand fluttering to my chest where my heart struggles to break free.
Stranger still, it feels as if I know him, have known him for years.

One word was playing a loop in my head: mine.

These quotes represent what the heroine (first quote above) and the hero (second quote) experience when they see each other for the first time. Is this when we start calling contemporary the new paranormal?

All right, in all seriousness, The Hook Up. What to say about it? We have Anna and Drew, two college students. She's the shy and awkward, used to be chubby in high school (and she'll never let you forget it) on campus that is fine when no attention is at her. Drew, on the other hand, is the school's biggest athlete. Teachers are giving him special treatment. Women fling themselves on him. He's rich. Basically, he's perfect (and his rippling abs are too). As you may have gathered from the opening of my review, this is their story of how they fall in love the author stretches out a story in over 300 pages (it could've been done in about 200). She's got insecurities and Drew... well, he's kind of perfect.

Maybe I'm sounding like I dislike Drew. Quite the contrary, he's the best part of this novel. I feel the need to say this is high praise from me, given my awful record with NA-heroes.Drew is, despite being more or less perfect, human. Yes, an actual human being. He's confident in his game, but not everything. Granted, his obsession with Anna was creepy, and I never got what he saw in her (more on that later), but him as a person? Yeah, I liked him. He was loyal to his friend, had a good heart, and did the best he could. Hell, he managed to earn himself a spot on my "best heroes" shelf. He might be the first NA-hero to do that!

Drew is, however, the only good thing about this one. Had the entire book was written from his POV, I'd up the rating at least one star. Unfortunately, for the majority of the time, we're stuck in Anna's head. And man, is she a piece of work. Since I gave close to no damn about the relationship - yes, some moments were cute, but due to their initial instalove, I never shipped them - I focused on her person. Anna is quite judgmental. She thinks herself better than everyone else. Her insecurities, while understandable, was annoying and, at times, didn't feel genuine. For a while I was under the impression that Anna was a woman fighting for equality and against sexism (this due to some thoughts on Drew's part about her), but suddenly... she wasn't. It goes from not wanting to have a boyfriend who's younger than her to slutshaming Drew's ex (and others). None of that said she'd be standing up for sexism and equality. To sum up, I had difficulties feeling anything for her character.

Back to the plot (a bit spoilers, but they are too predicable to really be spoilers). The first 40% or so is about Drew and Anna hooking up. Repeatedly. With a lot of food similes describing it. Half of the time I was more hungry than interested in the story. Then... they get together, sort of. And it goes on. And on. And on. Until they break up (one of the least genuine break ups I've read in a while, it has to do with Anna's insecurities). So we spend a little time watching them wallow in grief. Until they don't, get together. Then came the best part. Drew gets himself issues, and we get to see him deal with them. But this was in the last 10-15%, and by then I really could've done without it. Still, those last percent were definitely the best, maybe since we're mostly in Drew's head and it isn't so focused on the romance.

In the end, I was more like "meh". The writing is okay, and it isn't terrible (apart from the slutshaming), and Drew was great. Maybe I expected too much from this (I did have higher hopes for this one as I'd heard good things about it), but it didn't live up to the promise. Too much unnecessary chapters and events (read: drama). In terms of New Adult, it's an overall decent read.