So, for those of you who don't follow weather news, Winter Storm Jonas has been wreaking havoc on parts of the east coast of the US--namely, the parts of the east coast that aren't used to having winter havoc wreaked on them and therefore are completely unequipped to deal with such winter havoc. One of those areas is the Washington, DC metro--which happens to be my place of residence. Work ended at noon on Friday and was cancelled for today (Monday) and it's debatable whether or not we'll be in tomorrow. And with the amount of snow we got--two to three feet, which is a ton for this area and is higher than my dog is tall, but she loved it anyway--it's basically impossible to go anywhere. Many streets haven't even been touched by plows yet. You can't order takeout. The drugstores are devoid of snacks. Cabin fever is setting in for many and for me, that means I want to read an endless stream of trashy romances, so I went combing through the pages of my Kindle for something suitable. And based on the cover...this seemed to fit. Away I went.
One Week Girlfriend wasn't actually as trashy as I thought it would be, but it was a quick read and I enjoyed it quite a bit. So, the story follows Fable and Drew. Fable is known as the campus slut in a college town, even though she doesn't actually go to college; Drew is the football star. He has to go home for Thanksgiving, something he's dreading because is family is very, very screwed up. In order to keep his father and, more importantly, his stepmother off his back, he hires Fable to pretend to be his girlfriend for the week. Fable is in desperate need of money because she pretty much single-handedly supports her thirteen-year-old brother. Her mother is in the picture but is a deadbeat and spends most of her time with her alcoholic boyfriends, so Fable manages on her own. For three thousand dollars, she agrees to go with Drew, on the condition that he doesn't expect a real relationship out of the deal. You can pretty much guess how that goes.
The interesting part of this book wasn't actually the relationship, though Fable and Drew definitely had chemistry. No, the interesting part was Drew's past and family dynamic. It's super, super messed up, but I think Murphy did a good job of handling it. She doesn't glorify Drew's abuse--not really a spoiler, it's really obvious what's going on here from the beginning--and doesn't try to downplay it. She does make it out like Fable can "fix" him, which is a bit unsettling. Love, sex, whatever, can't fix abuse victims, who indeed don't need to be fixed because they're not broken, but beyond that I think she did a good job. The abuse is made out to be just as disturbing as it actually is, and its impact on Drew's life isn't downplayed at all; it haunts everything he does because the consequences of it really are that bad. As for what comes out later... Was it necessary? I don't know. It was certainly an added shock factor (kind of; again, it was sort of predictable, but it was definitely a shock to the characters if not to the reader) but I don't know, it might have been going just a tiny bit too far... Hm. I don't know about that one.
This is only the first half of Fable and Drew's story; the second half is another book titled Second Chance Boyfriend. I haven't read the second one yet, but I think I will--though I don't think they needed to be separate books. They're quite short, with this volume clocking in at 155 pages, and while the place to break it made sense I think it could just as easily have been a "Part 1" and "Part 2" of a single volume.
Overall, an interesting new adult dynamic. It's very unusual to see the male character with the more substantial problems in a book like this, and I liked the change. Male abuse is very underrepresented in fiction, and seeing a book that handled it mostly well was very refreshing.
3.5 stars out of 5.