When I first started reading Jamie McGuire's "Beautiful Oblivion," I didn't think I was going to like it much. Something about the first chapter didn't agree with me, whether it was the sexist statements from the main character's brothers, the four-letter words pouring out of her and her roommate's mouths or what seemed like a cliche setting for a new adult novel, a local bar.
But I stuck with it, and I'm so glad I did because once I got past this chapter, I could hardly put the book down.
In this new adult romance, the hero and heroine are beautifully flawed, normal, 20-something adults whom I found myself rooting for in each chapter.
After I'd read a fourth of the book, it's easy to see why McGuire is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. She can really write contemporary romance. She can make you feel like these characters are your best friends or remind you of what life was like before careers, marriage and kids.
Camille "Cami" Camlin had a rocky childhood with an abusive father and three brothers. As soon as she was 18, she was on her own, and currently at 22, goes to college and works two jobs, one at a bar and one as a receptionist at a tattoo parlor.
She also has a cute, perfect long-distance boyfriend, T. J., whom she never sees because he doesn't make her a priority.
Her roommate, Raegan, has her own dilemmas, mostly her love life, and she provides much comic relief with her sarcastic wit and tell-it-like-it-is advice.
Hunky Trenton Maddox is recovering from losing someone he loved in a tragic accident, which caused him to quit college and get a job at a tattoo parlor.
He's got a temper and is overprotective to a fault, which at times is a little much to take. But his sweet side and loyalty to the people he loves is endearing, from his 5-year-old neighbor, Olive, to his dad who is grieving his mom's death to Cami herself. Readers will wish Trenton was a real uy and their best friend.
Cami and Trenton connect one night at the bar where she works, when her boyfriend T.J. cancels on her once again. It turns out Trenton has been interested in her for longer than she realizes, which she finds hard to believe. Usually he's leaving the bar with whichever co-ed he picks up that night.
But Trenton is persistent and rather charming, and soon Cami finds herself wondering if T.J. is all she thinks he is or if Trenton might be the man for her.
The charm of "Beautiful Oblivion" is the character-driven plot — these two characters make mistake after mistake, plus have terrible things happen to them, but they keep plugging along and toward each other.
Yes, there are some lines and characters in this book I could do without — especially the boss at the tattoo parlor, although he's most likely supposed to provide comic relief with his womanizing attitude. He's still hard to take. But all in all, this is a great beach read and perfect for fans of new adult romance.
If you're familiar with McGuire's past work, "Beautiful Oblivion" includes the characters Abby and Travis Maddox, Trenton's brother, from the novel "Beautiful Disaster."
Trenton and Cami's story takes place at the same time as Abby and Travis', whose love story is mentioned throughout Cami and Trenton's for fans of the first book.
McGuire has more information about her and her books on her website, JamieMcGuire.com , where she also answers several frequently asked questions about the series. Take a look today.
Margo L. Dill is celebrating the release of her second novel, "Caught Between Two Curses," a young-adult novel exploring love, family and the Curse of the Billy Goat on the Cubs. She also is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical fiction novel. She lives in St. Louis with her family.