Published: December 9, 2014.
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.My Review:
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.
Last Will and Testament is the first in my recently promised real dive into NA and holy heck, talk about a great book to start out with! This one has the drama and the sexytimes that NA is kind of known for while still showing great characters with full, complicated lives and possessing a lot of heart.
The main character, Lizzie, is hit with a tragedy -- the news of the death of her parents -- right as the book begins and spends the rest of the time trying to figure out how she can possibly pick up the pieces afterwards to get her grades up so she can keep her scholarship and to be a responsible guardian for her two younger brothers. This is an overwhelming situation for anyone, let alone a young college student, so I loved how authentic Lizzie felt as she stumbled and cried her way through it. The way she leaned on her girlfriends and roommates (who were also great characters and super hilarious -- the levity they brought to Lizzie's story was wonderful) but also respected their need to live their own lives, her reluctance to rely on a close family friend, the feelings of needing to live up to what she thinks her parents would have expected of her, the mixed emotions of love but also a little anger and frustration with her brothers... it all resonated as very real and genuine for a young woman taking on so much, and I loved that about it.
Speaking of needing to get her grades up, let's talk about Connor Lawson. HEL-LO Connor Lawson. Someone please get me one of him, stat. The reserved history nerd tutor TA turned super kind and caring and oh, by the way also HOT AND HEAVY guy is something I am completely into and I totally ate it up. I loved how I could see him warming up to Lizzie even before she really could. Once she did catch on, the way their relationship grew felt very honest and organic, both in action and in terms of what went through Lizzie's head. And even though readers don't get to get right into Connor's head, I appreciated that he still had some very understandable and reasonable hesitations about the relationship for a guy in his position. While it got frustrating to watch him pull away, it was frustrating for all the right reasons because I understood why he was doing it but also why it drove Lizzie crazy. Adler struck that perfect balance of showing exactly where both characters were (mentally, emotionally, etc) even without having written this in dual perspective and I think that only served to make me connect more with both characters and made the relationship stronger for me as a reader. It also made me more invested in them being together, which was key to me loving the book.
I think my only real complaint about this one (and "complaint" is a strong word) is that there were some things that seemed to me like continuity issues once in a while where things just didn't quite seem to line up. It wasn't anything major, mostly things like dates and years and whatnot, but it was something I noticed that I was a little surprised hadn't been caught because I'm confident Adler put a lot of time into the editing on this one.
I really loved starting to get into NA with this one. I definitely appreciated the balance of actual plot/story/character development to sexytimes, which I think really helped. This is a great story with fantastic and layered characters who happen to have some hot sex, which is how I find I prefer books like this to be written. Needless to say, I adored Lizzie and Connor and am so excited that there are two more books coming about Lizzie's roomies, Cait and Frankie! Bring 'em on, Adler.