Book Review: Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I’ve decided I’m going to start putting the ratings near the end of the reviews. I’ve seen other blogs do this, and I decided I liked it. It lets me explain the reasoning behind the grade before I reveal the grade itself.
Title: Frigid (GoodReads)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (writing as J. Lynn)
Page Count: 225 (Nook edition)
Genre: Contemporary NA Romance
For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.
Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.
But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.
I guess I should start this review with a confession: this type of story is my guilty pleasure. When I was in high school and the beginning of college, I read a lot of fan fiction, and most of those stories were about two people who loved each other but didn’t confess their feelings because they were both so sure that they would never be good enough for the other. A lot of people hate such stories, but for me – the lonely fat girl with hardly any friends who didn’t get her first kiss until she was a month away from turning 20 – they were amazing. I could relate to the characters, even though they were weak, because I was weak, too.
Of course, those stories also gave me incredibly unrealistic expectations that kept me clinging to the hopes that this guy would like me even though he never would, but that’s beside the point.
The point is that this novel is exactly like those stories, and that is why I loved it. Well, parts of it. Sydney and Kyler are best friends, and neither thinks the other will ever love them. The first half of this book is filled with so many misunderstandings that lead to hurt feelings, and that’s the sort of thing I love reading about. Really, I haven’t felt this emotionally involved in a NA couple since, well, ever. Are they my favorite NA couple? No (that title goes to Max and Cade from Faking It), but I could relate to them. I wanted to see them get together.
That said, once they actually did get together, I stopped really caring. For a while I was afraid the second half of this book would be one sex scene after the other. It wasn’t, and the plot picked up a little bit near the end, but it still didn’t live up to what I enjoyed about the first half. Most of that’s because they were already (mostly) together, and I tend to lose interest at that point. Also, now that I wasn’t wrapped up in how they were going to confess their feelings, I was left with more time to get annoyed by the other elements of the story that I was able to ignore when I was focusing on their insecurities.
Like the subplot about the character who keeps trying to hurt them. The identity of the bad guy was so incredibly easy to figure out, and it was unbelievable that the characters wouldn’t know. The actions of said bad guy were also a bit out there. The motivation made slightly more sense by the end of the novel, but it still seemed a bit unrealistic and contrived to me.
Then there’s some issue with the romance plot. For one thing, we never really see why Kyler and Sydney are friends to begin with, let alone why they’re in love with each other. I sort of projected my own feelings onto the characters to sort of make up reasons, but I eventually realized that I shouldn’t have to do that – the author should show me why they feel that way. Also, Kyler’s sort of a possessive jerk. He doesn’t want Sydney with anyone he deems “not good enough” for her, which isn’t his call and makes me dislike him, not like him. Plus, the second half of the plot revolves around their both not knowing if this is a fling or not and Sydney’s obsessions about whether or not she should tell him she loves him, even though her confession is what started the entire thing. So that was sort of annoying.
I also hated the constant use of the word “baby,” but again – that’s just a personal issue I have for some reason. Although the fact that he calls her that when they’re just friends just seems weird in general, as does the fact that he picks her up and sets her on his lap in the beginning (when they’re just friends) and kisses her on the cheek and stuff. Maybe I’ve just never had a close friendship like that, but that seems really weird and unbelievable to me.
Feminists will probably also take issue with the whole “good, mostly inexperienced Sydney” versus all the “bad, promiscuous girls” that Kyler sleeps with. Part of me was annoyed with the dichotomy, but the other part of me (the part that wasn’t kissed until I was nearly 20) likes that the inexperienced girl was the one he preferred. So, again, I’m torn about how I feel about that.
Overall, I absolutely loved the first half of this book, even though there were some plotting choices and typos that had me questioning the quality. Not all characters can be strong, though – sometimes we need weak people we can cheer for, too, especially when they know they’re being pathetic. Or at least I think so. I guess most people will disagree with me. But whatever. This was a silly escape book for me, and for a few hours I was able to get caught up in someone else’s romantic problems. That said, there were still a lot of issues I had with this book, and those issues kept me from enjoying it as much as I had hoped I would, even given my lowered expectations for this sort of story.
Recommendations: If you’re looking for a realistic romance and strong characters with a believable plot, this book is probably not for you. If, however, you want a silly contemporary romance between two characters who misunderstand each other all the time, you might enjoy this. I’m happy with the $1.50 I spent on this, but if I had spent more, I probably would have been sort of annoyed.