Review of Nerdy Little Secret by Carrie Aarons

This month’s romance book reading challenge theme is College Romance/ New Adult Romance and I chose the “New Author To you” prompt. I have to admit, this age group isn’t my favourite and I was tempted to forgo the month. Howeber, the whole reason I signed up for the challenge was to encourage myself to try new sub-genres. So I checked out Leslie’s recommendations for the College Romance books and went with Nerdy Little Secret. Not bad at all.

I’m sleeping with the nerd.
The nice guy.
The science geek who wears periodic table t-shirts around campus.

That’s my dirty little secret, but it began long before he unknowingly transferred to the same college I attend. We met at the summer camp I was mandated to work at, and our hush-hush affair started behind the kayak cabin and in the darkened canteen long after our respective campers went to sleep.

When Mick Barrett, rockstar name a complete red herring, enrolls at Salem Walsh University, we’re both shocked the first time we bump into each other. And he’s … surprisingly cold. With goals and secrets of his own, Mick is closed off and uninterested, something I’ve never encountered from the opposite sex.

My bruised ego has no time to recover, however, when he discovers the real secret I’m keeping, one that’s even more detrimental than our steamy summer fling. Agreeing to become my tutor, and help me save my future, the glasses-wearing swimmer, with the body of an Olympian under that punny math sweatshirt, begins to grow on me. Again.

Except we both have bigger things to focus on than sneaking around. Plus, we’re not made for each other. He’s aiming to be the next doctor of our generation, while I’m just hoping to survive my Saturday morning hangover.

Too bad our bodies, and hearts, start to believe otherwise.
Which has me questioning; can my dirty little secret become a happily ever after?

Available on Amazon and via Kindle Unlimited.

The story opens with a pretty steamy scene that sets the tone for the novel, but it doesn’t prepare the reader for some of the unexpectedly more emotional scenes included in the book.

Mick is such a cutie pie protagonist. He’s goal-oriented and determined to finish college and medical school early to work on research into ALS. This is, unsurprisingly, because his father suffers from the disease and Mick has experienced first hand how excruciating the illness is for the patient and their loved ones. The only thing or, rather, only person who can distract him from his intense schedule and life plans is Jolie.

Jolie is pretty much the poor little rich girl. She has every luxury she could desire and access to tremendous resources. The only thing she lacks is her parents’ attention and love. She engages in self-destructive behavior until she’s called to account. While examining her life’s direction, she meets Mick and the two of them help each other find a way to be a better version of themselves.

Told from alternating perspectives, we get to experience the events from both sides and see how each part of the pair learns to lean on the other. I quite enjoyed that aspect and liked how each perspective pushed the story forward rather than just repeated the scene.

There were a couple heart-pulling scenes between Mick and his father and between Mick and his mother, as the family battles against time and ALS. I really enjoyed the depth those pages brought to the story and loved how they showed Mick as mature beyond his years (in some respects anyway).

Admittedly, I’m still not sold on the new adult genre and I wasn’t a huge fan of all the ‘college-issues-and-parties’ but that is completely on me and my particular interests. I think the story is very well-written and would be a hit for anyone who enjoys new adult romance.

Overall, this was a cute story. I enjoyed it and easily give it 4/5 youthful espresso shots.

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