Review: Make It Count by Megan Erickson

Review: Make It Count by Megan EricksonMake It Count by Megan Erickson
Series: Bowler University #1
Published by William Morrow Impulse on June 3, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars

Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.

Obviously what I needed after an intense binge of historical romance novels was some contemporary, romance, right? New Adult fiction and I have struggled to form a healthy relationship. Everything in me wants to love new adult books because that’s basically the chick lit of the 90s/2000s by another name, and I ate that stuff up. However, new adult spun off as an edgier, darker thing, and I cannot take too much of that thing. I’m so glad that some fluffier, more diverse new adult is happening, and I cannot wait to read every book Megan Erickson has ever written. Make It Count is the cutest, and it’s an interracial romance to boot!

Kat Caruso totally stole my heart. She’s utterly charming, kind, and she’s not the sort of heroine you see a lot in romance novels. I mean, yeah, she’s gorgeous, but she’s also Brazilian and has a learning disorder (that she doesn’t know about at the start but it’s pretty obvious imo so I don’t consider it a spoiler). The treatment of Kat’s dyslexia is great, and I love that there’s actually some focus on academia for both, since sometimes that’s almost entirely not present in NA. She reminds me a bit of Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket in the way that she’s so caring, genuinely kind, and odd in this completely lovable, artless way. When Alec feels this strong urge to protect her early on, it totally makes perfect sense because I too felt that way basically the moment I met her. Also, with him tutoring her there are some shades of Fangirl which omg yes.

Of course, that comment gives you the completely wrong idea about Alec, because he is so not the macho man bullshit alpha dude of romance novels. Actually, even Max, Kat’s ill-starred boyfriend, isn’t even that, though he’s closer to that archetype. That’s Alec’s initial reaction to Kat, but, as he gets to know her, he appreciates her strength and fire and doesn’t so much want to protect her but always be there to have her back, which is such an excellent dynamic.

Make It Count brings the banterfluff to the yard, to borrow the term Debby coined (oh and incidentally she was also into this book). From the very start, I was VERY INTO this ship. Their initial awkward bumping into each other banter at the library was the sort of thing ships are made of. It’s a testament to the cuteness of their relationship that my shipping never wavered given the intense drama of the book, but they work so well that I totally went with it.

So yeah, the one downside of this book is the DRAMA. There’s the love triangle drama, which gets resolved pretty quickly all things considered, but it does still feel drawn out. And then, once that’s over, there’s the usual series of misunderstandings that result in big fights. Taken individually, all of them are well done and believable, but stacked up back to back like that, it’s a lot. They’re working through good stuff, and it was nice to see them finally resolve something that could have been another big fight quickly and sweetly there at the end.

What makes Make It Count really stand out as a contemporary romance is the strength of the supporting cast. While I love a good shippy book and would have still loved this book even if it was just the Kat and Alec show, I love it for really building out those secondary characters. Danica’s the best ever and, man, I hope there’s a spin-off series about her at some point because YASSS. And, because I loved them, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series very strongly. A+ for the diverse cast and the representation/treatment of various disabilities (Kat and Lea).

It’s also so nice to see some nice parents in NA, since often the drama is that their parents are dead or nightmare monsters from Controlandia. Well, okay, Alec’s dad is dead, but his mom loves him and they support one another, and, as Kat comments at one point, he turns that sad experience into positive motivation. What could have been a typical NA plot line becomes something inspirational and lovely. Kat’s parents love her, but they don’t understand her; both are very apparent, and I really like their arc. I think it’s great that more books are coming out with parents who do care and love their kids but fuck up anyway, because that’s common and maybe it will help parents and/or kids get some light on their dynamics.

Make It Count is basically everything I want from new adult romances, and I’m so thrilled with it. I seriously did add all of Erickson’s books to my to-read-in-the-short-term list, so yeah I was impressed. This is one of those books that put a massive smile on my face and made me feel many feelings.

Favorite Quote:

Cam paused and then placed his bottle gently on the table. “What’s up your ass?” 

“Nothing.” 

“You sound like a girl right now.” 

“You sound like a chauvinist right now.” 

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif rory smiling book

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One response to “Review: Make It Count by Megan Erickson”

  1. Banterfluff is always the best! I loved the focus on academia too, it makes YA and NA books so much better in my opinion because it makes them more real. And I thought the treatment of Kat’s dyslexia was handled well, I hadn’t read about a learning disorder before. She was such a great character in so many ways and the ship really was amazing. It didn’t hurt that I kept picturing Alec like Aaron Tviet from Grease Live haha. Danica was amazingggg! I’d totally be down for a book about her! I’m really glad I bought this after your and Debby’s reviews. It was such an enjoyable reading experience 🙂

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