Book review: Frosh: First Blush by Monica B. Wagner

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A few months ago, I saw Frosh: Second Chances show up on Netgalley, and I was immediately intrigued. Of course, being that it’s the second book in a series I hadn’t started, I wasn’t going to request it. Shortly after, I got a Bookbub alert that Frosh: First Blush was free for the day, so I immediately clicked that bright orange “BUY NOW FOR FREE” button that’s become something of my nemesis.

(Seriously, I have way too many books on my TBR to be tempted by Kindle freebies.)

But anyway, I read it. And… it was okay. Just okay.

The book centers around four characters: Ellie, Grant, Charlie, and Devon.

Ellie is really the main character, an aspiring journalist who’s competing for an exclusive editorial assistant position at the student newspaper. Her RA, Tanner, also turns out to be the newspaper’s managing editor, and he seems to be helping her get an edge on the competition. Ellie’s first assignment in the competition is a profile of the star quarterback, Grant.

Grant isn’t your stereotypical quarterback. He’s smart and kind and caring, and Ellie feels really bad that she’ll need to find something scandalous about him so that she can get the editorial assistant position. Of course, being the good reporter that she is, it’s not long before Ellie finds something that could destroy not only Grant’s football career, but possibly his life as well.

Devon is described in the blurb as a “high society legacy student,” and that’s pretty accurate. Her family’s reputation has fallen because of her older brother’s antics, and Devon is determined to get it back on track. The best way would obviously be by getting involved with the wholesome, perfect quarterback. But her heart has other ideas after a one night stand with a nerdy med student.

Charlie is the only main character who isn’t a freshman. He’s a junior, he’s pre-med, and he’s absolutely adorable. He falls head over heels for Devon, who wants nothing to do with him. When a mysterious rich kid comes by offering to change his life, he can’t help but accept. Soon, Charlie is sauntering around campus in fancy clothes, oozing confidence and attracting the ladies everywhere he goes. But he still only has eyes for Devon.

So, the first thing to say about this book is that it’s actually really well-written. I thought that the writing style was engaging, it flowed well, and it kept me interested. I liked all of the characters, but Charlie was by far my favorite. He reminded me of many guys I’ve met over the years and felt the most to me like a real college student.

The thing that put me off was how predictable everything was. There wasn’t a single plot twist that I didn’t see coming. I’m not sure if that speaks more to the foreshadowing or the sheer amount of New Adult that I read, but nothing was a surprise to me. Even the huge twist at the end seemed obvious.

But still, it really took me back to the ups and downs you experience in your first semester of college. My Badgers were even mentioned! (Although, as I sit here in my Badgers t-shirt with a Badgers hoodie over top, planning my trip back to Madison next weekend, I have to say that Hillson U’s silly little football team would most definitely have lost that game.)

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but a little less predictability would have made me enjoy it even more.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

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