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Lost Places by Sarah Pinsker
Monkey Prince by Gene Luen Yang and Bernard Chang (Illustrator)
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Nightmare of the Iguana by Ursula Vernon
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
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6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe
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No Judgments: 02/15/23

No Judgments

No Judgments by Meg Cabot (2019) is the start of the Little Bridge Island series of romances. A massive hurricane is headed towards Florida and Sabrina "Bree" Beckham has ways off, including an air rescue by an ex-boyfriend but she choses to stay.

In the time leading up to the storm and its aftermath when the island is without power and cut off from the mainland because the bridge is washed out, Bree and her boss's nephew, Drew Hartwell grow close. Is there actual chemistry there?

I have to admit that up to the time that the hurricane hit, I borderline hated Bree as a main character. She struck me as willfully ignorant. She had the means to evacuate and chose not to for "reasons." As the novel progresses, her reasons are explained and I had to re-contextualize my initial reaction to her.

What kept me reading in the interim, was Cabot's description of Little Bridge Island and how the hurricane would affect it. The island is also populated with interesting people with enough other survival stories to keep things compelling.

Finally, even before Bree's reasons are spelled out, she redeems herself by caring for the pets who were left behind. It starts initially with her landlord's son's guinea pigs and moves on from there. Again, the stories of why animals were left behind, both good and bad, were believable.

I found the climax, though, disappointing and out of character for Bree. She ends up firing a gun at a person after a lengthy refusal to carry the gun. To have her suddenly decide to fire it and to have her rationalize it as a necessary and satisfying thing to do doesn't match up with how she behaves up to that point. It also feeds into the mistaken notion that bullied people become bullies.

This first book also sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Bree, as it turns out, is an extremely privileged person (00). Her life on the island meant a journey to a rural place (33). Her route there was via a Blue Highway (33), if one assumes this island is part of the Keys.

The second book is No Offense (2020).

Four stars

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