Genre: Romance, New Adult
Publisher: Random House LLC
Publication Date:February 9, 2016
Formats Available: Kindle
Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake–leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree–which is just the way Clementine likes it.
Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justine doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clementine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters. The heat between them is for real.
(True rating, more like 2.5)
It physically pains me to give Call Me, Maybe such a low star rating for a couple of reasons. First off, rather than following one of the few tropes most contemporary romances follow, this story is a somewhat original play on the classic comedy of errors. Additionally, the writing is almost technically flawless. Ms. Cahill definitely has a powerful command of language, and wields her power with finesse. The prose is well-constructed and the pacing is spot on. Were I to judge the book on only these qualities, it would most assuredly receive all five stars from me. Unfortunately, there were flaws in other areas that annoyed, disappointed, and–dare I say?–disturbed me, causing me to take those two and a half stars right off.
Right off the bat–and this will sound extremely hypocritical, considering I am a lifelong bookworm, an author, and a book blogger all rolled up into one–I kind of hated the fact that Clementine was such an avid reader. And not just in a casual, barely mentioned way. Bookish, introverted female protagonists always manage to get under my skin at least a little, even though I can connect with them quickly since we’re so similar. I find myself faced with droves of main characters who prefer the company of their books, Nooks, and Kindles to real people these days, and it gets old. It feels like a lazy shortcut to character development, one that I feel more and more authors are taking these days. I doubt many readers complain about this, since after all we almost instantly manage to connect with characters like this, but I read to escape. I know what loving books is like–I’ve already done that. Tell me about the female mechanic/pilot/chainsaw murderer/hedge trimmer. I want to know more about her.
Also, most (if not all) of the conflict which drove the plot to its happy ending either felt contrived or made absolutely no sense. Conflict is a beautiful thing in literature when used properly, but here it only served to infuriate me. All of Clementine’s issues with Justin could have been completely resolved if she’d just opened her mouth and talked to him. I did like that Clementine had a book blog, but I just couldn’t understand why someone in her situation was so hesitant to pursue a career in editing or publishing. Every time she whined about wanting to find a job that let her read all the time, I threw my hands up in the air and shouted “Um, hello!” But sadly, she didn’t seem to hear me through the Kindle.
Lastly, and this may not make a difference to other readers, Clementine and Justin’s relationship was based purely on lust. It’s fine to include relationships based purely on lust in a novel, of course, but nothing makes me more irritable than being lured into a story by promise of romance only to be presented with a couple who literally only care about the physical act of being together. It’s like thinking you’re buying a Chanel purse only to get home and discover you’ve bought a cheap knock-off. (SPOILER)I mean come on, they move from asking each other about favorite foods and colors to having phone sex in the course of a day? And is the phone sex the intimate conversation I’ve been promised, because if so, that is definitely misleading.(END SPOILER)
Overall, this was a fast, well-written read. I more had problems with the actual content and morals of the story, rather than readability. If you don’t have problems with the above issues I mentioned, then by all means have at it. I’m sure you’ll really enjoy it! If my concerns made you give pause, however, I’d find something else to read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ellie Cahill is the author of When Joss Met Matt, Call Me Maybe (2016), and Just a Girl (2016). Ellie is also the not-at-all secret pen name of Young Adult author Liz Czukas (Ask Again Later, and Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless). Liz’s books are often compared to John Hughes movies, while Ellie usually gets compared to Nora Ephron. Either way, if you like a good 80s rom-com, you’ve found the right place. When they’re not writing fun, funny romances full of shenanigans and awkward kisses, Liz and Ellie are at home with their family and a golden retriever with different ideas about the definition of “dog bed.”