Just One Of The Guys is hilarious. I canít remember the last time I laughed so much while reading a romance. Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes like a slowpoke and Jennifer Crusie hasnít brought out an un-collaborated single title in a while. Well, hello Kristan Higgins. As Joey used to say: how you doiní?
Chastity OíNeill is just one of the guys. Sheís the baby sister to four older brothers and in their hometown most eligible males would rather hang out with her than date her. Sheís had enough of this state of affairs and is on the lookout for a nice man with husband potential, someone who can appreciate her height (five foot eleven and three quarters), her build (Amazonian), her hobby (super-skilled with the oars) and her general lack of stereotypical femininity.
And thatís what I loved about Chas; she was so very anti-stereotype. I could stand to lose a few good pounds, so when I reach my fill of the perfect physical heroine specimen, I usually seek out plus sized characters for that added sense of realism. Even though Iíve never rowed in my life, will never ever be able to describe my stomach as "lean and hard as plywood," and the idea of running a marathon for pleasure is almost as hilarious as this book, I connected with Chas. I liked her. When the going was really good during Just One Of The Guys, I wished she were my friend. Yes, I lost touch with reality. This book is that good.
The best thing about Chas is that she has no real issues with her height, her body type or her athleticism. It could be said she harped on all three a lot but it came across as tongue-in-cheek to me. The second best thing about Chas is that she has great taste in men. Because Trevor Meade is hot. Heís just one of the guys too but the only one of them sheíd like to marry and make babies with. I would also have liked to do so.
Trevor is hot because he always looks after Chas, he finds lame excuses to be around her (and she never picks up on the clues, silly girl!), he just knows when something is wrong (be still my heart) and, in her own words:
ď...when Trevor smiles, his eyes do something that Iíve spent a good part of my twenties analyzing. His face exceeds the sum of its parts or something. Trevor James Meade was simply born to smile, and his appealing, not-quite-handsome face is transformed into utter irresistibility.Ē
This book is romantic. I donít want to give away anything because really, you need to commune with this book yourself, but when I read about Chas and Trevor and their brief, doomed foray into a relationship during college, I wanted to cry my little out-of-reality heart out.
Chastity is a member of a big, rowdy family so thereís a big, rowdy secondary cast of characters and Just One of the Guys features two parallel stories between her parents and one of her brothers and his wife, who is also Chasís best friend. Their lives donít overpower, but complement the main relationship between Trevor and Chas. She also dates someone else for a portion of the book but seriously, Iíll leave the details for you to discover.
Some talk has been made about the "risks" this book takes in its development and denouement of relationships, as if romance readers expect not just a "romance" but a certain type of romance. Since I never got that memo on what I should expect out of a romance novel, I donít think any risks were taken here. I just think that in Just One Of The Guys a damned good story got told.
-- Abi Bishop
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