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I read. Mostly Romance. I like to talk about books. The end.

The Rebound Girl

The Rebound Girl - Tamara Morgan Super sweet kindergarten teacher hero and bold, brash and cynical plastic surgeon heroine--this is an opposites attract + gender-role reversal love story, and it works. If The Rebound Girl were comprised entirely of scenes of Matt/Whitney interacting and falling in love, I would have easily rated this book a 4 or even 5 stars, but the plot. Good god, the plot. Whitney--along with her friends Kendra and John--has moved to Pleasant Park to open a medical spa. Twelve years ago, Whitney, a student nurse at the time, decided to become a plastic surgeon after her plastic surgeon boyfriend, Jared, cheated on her while they were in Guatemala with an Operation Smile-like organization. Whitney, Jared, Kendra, and John were all best friends at the time, and the medical spa had been a shared dream. When Jared ruined that relationship, Whitney decided she'd take over as the surgeon of the group. And that's where the problem starts for me. Whitney was a 22 year old student in a 2-year relationship with Jared, a renowned plastic surgeon even though he was in his mid-to-late 20's at the time. Unless he started med school at 8, that just doesn't fly. The fact that Whitney is supposed to be a great surgeon at 34 doesn't make sense either, since she didn't decide on surgery until she was 22, which means she would have had to take the MCAT, apply and get accepted to med school, and then finish school, internship, residency, and fellowship in 12 years, then immediately go into private practice as the sole plastic surgeon. I might have been able to ignore all that, but it was constantly brought up in one way or the other, forcing me to do the math. Matt is almost too good to be true. He's a genuinely good person, recently divorced after his wife had an affair. And that's where "too good" comes in--he can't let go of his ex. He's not in love with Laura, and he acknowledges that part of the problem with his marriage was that he didn't care enough, but he's too committed to being a good, non-angry person to draw some boundaries. While I like that he's not bitter about his marriage and gets along with Laura, going to her house every week to check on her and help with the house was too much. There's a fine line between being nice and being a sucker, and he was sometimes so far over that line that I wanted Whitney to run for the hills. Whitney is charmed by Matt's sweetness, so different from her own personality and that of every other man she knows. She's loud, cynical, has zero impulse control, is brutally pragmatic, and Matt--while not a fan of her outlook--likes her that way. As Whitney puts it:"She'd never met a man so attracted to and repulsed by her at the same time."When discussing her profession and her reasons for choosing plastic surgery (money):"Matt blinked. The things she was saying--they were cruel words, harsh words. But she was being neither cruel nor harsh. Whitney was matter-of-fact and decisive...and proud."Whitney is a person who's completely confident in who she is, and so is Matt. As nice as he is, he's no pushover, which makes his behavior towards his ex especially baffling. Whitney might be pushy, but it's always clear to me and to Whitney that when he goes along with Whitney's decisions, it's because that happens to be what he wants, too. He has no problem calling her out when she's wrong and setting boundaries with her, even going so far as instituting a no intercourse rule during their affair because they're not officially dating (which I found incredibly juvenile, honestly, as if PIV sex is the only type that counts). His relationship with Laura is a constant source of friction with Whitney...as a victim of a cheating partner herself, she can't understand his willingness to be Laura's savior; Matt gets angry that in spite of Whitney's insistence that what they have be nothing more than a rebound fling, she tries to set rules for him outside of their deal. He wants more, but he's not going to roll over to get it. She realizes this, and apologizes because even though she's not ready to get seriously involved, she doesn't want to lose him. I love seeing the back and forth between them, they genuinely like and enjoy each other, and when one of them messes up, there's always a call out followed an apology and attempt to understand. And then Jared shows up. The medical spa is in trouble before even opening because--and this is another problem I have with this story--the townspeople don't approve of Whitney's behavior. There's a reason I avoid small town romances like the plague, and nosy neighbors with bunched-up panties over shit that's none of their business is it. Those people are also part of the reason why Matt is so protective of Laura--the town essentially shunned her over her affair. Whitney's mother contacts Jared, hoping that he could help save the business, world-renowned paragon that he is. He arrives, smarmy as hell, Whitney pitches a fit, her friends take Jared's side, and what follows is some rage-inducing justifications. I understand that it provided closure for Whitney, but after reading about Matt and Laura's past, I wasn't thrilled with the implication throughout the story that all cheating has some deeper cause--usually the fault of the person cheated on--and not just on the cheater being an entitled asshole. (I smell a sequel with Jared as the hero. No thanks. I can deal with a hero who cheated on an ex over a decade ago, but not with that kind of set up.) Jared--through no fault of his own--is also the cause of a final big misunderstanding between Matt and Whitney. It was cliched, and the resolution was over-the-top. It could have worked for a different type of story, with different characters, but it was out of place here. Plot issues aside, it was lovely seeing a relationship develop between such different people who liked each other exactly as they are. This isn't a "redemption through love" story. No one becomes a better, kinder, more humble version of themselves because of love. This is a story of two adult individuals each with their own personality and experiences and faults, who fall in love and make the necessary adjustments to make their relationship work. I like that.