Bryce Matthews doesn’t do the whole nice boyfriend thing. Chocolates and flowers—girls can forget all that. And he certainly doesn’t care about the gossip and rumors that follow him at school and around town. If anything, the talk amuses him. Bryce isn’t lacking in confidence. He knows himself and he knows his limits.
One of those hard limits is Madison Issac. Bryce can never have her, and he’s perfectly fine with that. Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality anyway.
Madison Issac thought she was a pretty good judge of character. But she’s surprised at how gentle and comforting resident bad-boy and next-door neighbor Bryce Matthews is when we finds her crying in the park.
Maybe there’s more to Bryce than people think? So Madison begins to wonder. Can a guy like Bryce ever change his ways? Can a girl like Madison really be into a guy like Bryce?
With hearts and reputations on the line, this kind of love can be scandalous.
On the surface this is a bad boy redeemed story, which is right up my alley, but deeper down, it’s more than that. Bryce isn’t your typical bad boy. He attracts trouble like nobody else, but he’s not the usual manwhore with the swagger and devil-may-care attitude. Bryce has lived next to Madison since they were kids and he despises her uptightness. Madison thinks Bryce is a little full of himself, but otherwise, has eyes only for his best friend, Graham. When Madison’s cousin comes to live with her after some family drama, Madison’s life gets turned upside down, and Bryce is the only one who seems to be able to see Sarah for who she really is.
For the most part, this is a straight-up teen romance, but there are a few fun subplots involving cousin Sarah, a love-triangle with Graham, and the inevitable trouble Bryce seems to keep getting into. The book is a fast read, with moments of humor and charm.
Madison and Bryce are great. They’re both easy to like with well-rounded backstories. I didn’t get much of a sense of any of the other characters though. Some were two-dimensional and others just weren’t fully fleshed out. But the story is about Madison and Bryce and they are both well done.
What Didn’t Work for Me:
1. Inconsistencies. There were a few that I found more annoying than unable to overlook. Because we get dual points of view, we know what both main characters are thinking. In particular, Bryce makes one particular revelation that doesn’t sync with his earlier thoughts.
2. Emotional avoidance. There’s a pretty big twist in the middle that I didn’t see coming, but rather than show us the events as they unfolded, allowed us to feel the reaction of the affected character, it’s glossed over the event in retrospect. I felt it was a huge squandered opportunity.
3. Weak secondary characters. While the story is really about Madison and Bryce, the supporting characters weren’t fully developed. It wasn’t a huge problem for me, but I’ve read more books lately with really well-developed supporting roles that made the story more vivid.
What I Really Liked:
1. Chemistry. The chemistry between Bryce and Madison is evident pretty early on. They have a love/hate relationship, but the book is titled, Bryce, so you know these two will end up together. I love my teen romances with lots of angst and these two had that to balance out all that lovely chemistry.
2. Madison. I love strong female leads and she is fantastic. She’s witty, smart, and doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap.
3. Bryce. He’s got a bad reputation and a big heart. It’s a fantastic combination. The dreamy eyes don’t hurt either.
4. Angst. There’s a boatload of angst in here, from the way Sarah is treated by Madison’s parents and even Graham, to the whole dramatic build up to the end. I love me some angst!
5. Family drama. Natalie Decker excels at weaving stories that involve good old fashioned family drama, and Bryce is no exception!
Bryce is a light, fast read filled with teen drama, quirky moments, and delightful lead characters.
I was provided by a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Series: Scandalous Boys #1
Author: Natalie Decker
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author
Natalie Decker is the Author of Rival Love. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort.
She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity.
If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
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