Review: Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia AdlerOut on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #3
Published by Author on June 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn't mean she should—not when the person she's eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren't meant to be crossed.

But when Frankie learns she's been on Samara's mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam's not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she's afraid she'll never find it as long as Frankie's in her head.

Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who's been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy...under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she's afraid she might, she doesn't want to throw Samara's life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie's heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.

Dahlia Adler, glorious goddess that she is (and friend of mine blahdiblah), constantly outdoes herself. While Out on Good Behavior isn’t quiiiiiite my favorite of her novels (of which I’ve read all 6 because YES and my favorite may always be Just Visiting though who knows what with Dahlia’s awesomeness), but it is the hottest of her novels. And that is truly saying something because there’s sex in all of her books. And there are actually only a couple of sex scenes in Out on Good Behavior. But HOT DAMN, Dahlia. HOT damn.

There’s a shortage of good f/f in this world. Also a shortage of fluffy LGBT+ stuff. Out on Good Behavior is both of those and it’s massively fabulous. It’s by far my favorite of this series, though they’re all very good. Shocking no one, it’s also the most banteresting book of the series. Frankie banters and flirts with everyone around her, and it is so much fun being inside of her head.

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Like most fluffy contemporary novels, Out on Good Behavior really isn’t a plot book; it’s all about dem character arcs. Frankie, who I already knew and loved from the earlier installments, loves to sleep around; she’s a pansexual delight, who’s looking to have as much fun as she can in college after being trapped in a Christian high school where she didn’t feel safe to do much experimenting. She glories in her freedom to try out different people and have casual relationships.

Enter Samara, who Frankie’s been eye-banging for about a year but mostly staying away from because her best friend, and Samara’s roommate, Cait forbid Frankie from going there. When the two wind up crossing paths, Frankie can’t resist. Samara, however, refuses to give up her family and possibly her friends by coming out unless this is going to be a real, serious relationship, something that Frankie is scared of and isn’t sure she wants.

gif i don't do relationships

I really, really love that Out on Good Behavior is about the fears that both Frankie and Samara have on entering into a relationship. Frankie’s terrified both of commitment and of not being good enough for, not deserving Samara. Samara’s afraid of getting in to deep with a girl like Frankie who plays the field like an MVP (Cait, did I do this sportsball metaphor right?) and also afraid to come out of the closet to everyone from home aka the conservative south. Especially, I love that, though coming out is obviously an issue on Samara’s mind and part of what she’s dealing with, this really is not a central issue between them, and this isn’t a coming out book. Even without that, there are plenty of internal new relationship feels for them to work through. I feel like books rarely touch on these fears and worries, instead focusing on that “honeymoon phase” where everything is perfect. The fact that Out on Good Behavior focuses on that made everything feel more realistic.

gif i don't like getting attached to things

Samara and Frankie have amazing chemistry, obviously. That’s why this book is so incredibly hot. The sex itself is amazing, but omg the fingerbrushes and leg touches and heated gazes are all so powerful. Their every interaction is massively hot basically. The relationship got to the “I love you” phase a bit faster than I was really prepared for, but it didn’t bother me very much given the chemistry and the fact that this is the first time either of them has ever been embarking on a serious relationship.

Still, it wasn’t really a shock to me how much I shipped this, because I was already into Samara and Frankie (Frankara?) in Right of First Refusal. The surprise was how much more I friendshipped the whole group than I did before. As I said, this book has the most banter, and I was finally totally got the squad goals of Lizzie/Cait/Frankie in a way that I never quite did before. Also, I adored the way the significant others of the main crew were bonding and fitting in so much. Mase and Connor working out together and Samara saying she wants in? So adorable. Connor offering relationship advice because Lizzie’s asleep? Damn cute.

In contemporary companions like this, I often have problems with the cameos of prior ships in the series. For example, I love Miranda Kenneally’s romances but I often do not like the couples when they show up in later books, so I just pretend they’re random people not those characters I read. It happens, I think, because they drift in so the stability of their relationships can be admired from afar. Here, though, because it’s more than a cameo, I really like seeing the rest of the gang. I like Lizzie and Connor more for how they are in this book, especially because Lizzie shared some of her relationship fears about how it’s still kind of weird and scary to be so committed. Things like that make the relationship work for me in a way that just seeing them be all perfect on the surface does not. Plus, my two favorite quotes were actually Connor and Lizzie!

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In general, Out on Good Behavior is also excellent for resisting some of the most common tropes of romance fiction. Things that ordinarily would have been a massive deal in the relationship and led to chapters of intense drama didn’t. Because of this, Out on Good Behavior does come out much fluffier than most new adult, even the prior books in the series. It’s pure fun and ship. Bless you, Dahlia.

For YA fans who maybe usually don’t venture into new adult waters, I highly encourage you to give Out on Good Behavior a try, even if you haven’t read the previous two (if you’re one of those monsters that can skip around in series), because there are so many YA book easter eggs in there since Samara is a big YA/NA reader. Out on Good Behavior is so very delightful, and I want more NA like this. *stares at Dahlia*

Favorite Quote:

“Even when he’s not my teacher, Connor’s a pain in my ass.”

“They make lube for that, you know.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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One response to “Review: Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler”

  1. Isabel says:

    I now want to read this entire series! *glares at library for not carrying it*
    Isabel recently posted…Winter Wolf by Rachel M. RaithbyMy Profile

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