Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Perfect 10: NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE by Rachel Gibson

A Perfect 10
Avon Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-117804-7
June 2008
Contemporary Romance
Cedar Creek, Texas – Present Day

Devon Hamilton-Zemaitis -Three Years Ago

Can you believed I died in a car accident? Me, Devon Hamilton-Zemaitis, wife of Zachary Zemaitis, a freaking pro quarterback for Denver. Well, at least he had the sense to bury me in my Chanel bouclé tweed and Mikimoto pearls, even though the white bouclé was so last season. But just as I'm waiting in line to get into heaven -- why Zach hadn't buried me in my two-toned pumps, I have no idea -- my sixth grade teacher seems to be in charge. Mrs. Highbarger says I will have to work somewhere in between until I earn my way into heaven by making things right with a girl with curly hair from my past. Oh sure, I'll earn my way to heaven by making things right, but until then I have to spend my interim time in... WAL-MART?

Adele Harris - Present Day

Well, this is just dandy, another date with a guy who immediately turns into a jerk in my presence. Why, it's been two, no three years since I've dated a man who didn't turn into a jerk, much less had sex with a man. Why is my life cursed? Well, now's a perfect time to daydream about my first lover, Zach Zemaitis. I never did find out why he was attracted to me, but in college, I fell in love with him. I always wanted to wait until I met someone I loved before giving my virginity, but afterward he broke my heart by dumping me and going back to his old girlfriend, Devon. Ah well, as my dream comes to an end, my sister Sherilyn calls. Her dentist husband has left her for his assistant, Stormy Winter, and Sherilyn is five months pregnant. Sheri wants to return home to Cedar Creek with her thirteen-year-old daughter Kendra and needs me to help, just until the baby comes. Well, Sheri's never asked me for anything, and all my friends are married or getting married, and none of them have a cursed dating life, so what can it hurt?

Zach Zemaitis - Present Day

Well, even though I'm no longer a pro quarterback, coaching the Cedar Creek Cougars football team to a winning season is still a thrill. Everyone knows about football in small town Texas, and my team is really good. Raising a teenage daughter like Tiffany isn't easy, but after one too many concussions and Devon's death, I decided to leave Denver and move into the house in Cedar Creek where Devon and Tiffany had lived. I grew up in Cedar Creek, too, and despite having no sex in forever, I am content with my life, until my past comes to the front door.

When Adele goes to pick up her niece at her friend's house, whom does she see but Zach Zemaitis, her first lover. She knows the sparks are still there but does her level best to ignore them, shove them away, and bury them deep in her heart; she doesn't need pain like she once went through again. She can't even have one decent date! Zach is content with his life and, frankly, hadn't thought about Adele in years. But that curly hair still gets to him as it did all those years ago, and he remembers the way they made each other feel so perfect, but actually, he's not interested in marriage or a family or anything permanent. Casual sex is another thing, though. But Adele is busy with her sister because she has to be hospitalized the last months of her pregnancy, and losing the baby is a very real possibility. Adele barely knows her niece Kendra, and worries about whether all teenagers are as impossible to live with. And hanging over everyone's head is Devon and her life size picture in Zach's living room. From beyond the grave, her reach is all-encompassing, even more than I can reveal. Just a question, if Wal-Mart is one step to heaven, where could the next stop be?

Rachel Gibson has the touch of an artist as she creates characters to love. The story is written from Adele's and Zach's points of view, but the teenagers, Kendra and Tiffany, also are central. The town of Cedar Creek is brought to life, Adele's cursed dating life follows her to Texas, and Zach's relationship with Devon is exquisitely written. Before NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE is over, we know each person as a personal friend.

Adele's sister Sherilyn is the center of the story, trying to keep her baby safe, keep Kendra calm, and saving her own sanity. The two teenagers, Kendra and Tiffany, are typical girls, yet because of their family situations, wise beyond their years. Kendra is upset at her father, embarrassed by her mother being pregnant, and scared of moving away from her school and friends. Tiffany still misses her mother, and yet longs for a mother's counsel on the intimate details of life. Each character is carefully polished and a delight to meet. I can safely say each and every one is unique and extraordinary in his or her own way.

NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE is an awesome read and a fun and yet poignant reading adventure. There is humor, pain, birth, death, fidelity, infidelity, and even some hot sex mixed in. Rarely have I read a book that touched my heartstrings while making me laugh, and NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE definitely deserves RRT's Perfect 10 award. Buy it, and you'll love this inspiring and sublimely perfect story.

Carolyn Crisher


limecello said...

I'm almost done reading this book (just got it from the library today :)) and I'm loving it thus far!

Unknown said...

This looks just great!!! Another addition to my massive TBR list!! :)