True - Erin McCarthy 3.5 STARS This book was refreshingly easy to read but is giving me a hard time reviewing because certain aspects of Rory's character hit a little too close to home. Not the present version of myself, but had I read this once upon a college semester I would've been thoroughly suspicious which of my friends wrote this. I never really liked that version of me, but that doesn't mean I understand her any less now."That pathetic, hopeless wanting. The desire for what you want but can't have. The need for someone like you. I recognize it because I saw it in my face everyday."In the proverbial stable of New Adult heroines, Rory is a little different: she's geek smart, she's socially awkward and, dear God, she's a virgin. Okay maybe that last one doesn't set her apart so much except in this story, she isn't one by choice. In fact, this book starts with her on the path to rectifying that little inconvenience when things get ugly and her roommate's hookup for the night comes to her rescue. Tyler Mann is of course, the tattooed bad boy who is more than his apadravya and Metallica t-shirts. When not rescuing distressed virgins, he's studying to be an EMT and can analyze Tennessee Williams' collected works faster than you can say Tennessee Williams. Which, of course, just happens to be Rory's weakest subject in school. Rolling your eyes and gagging yet?Don't.Because these characters are two of the most honest and well-developed I've seen in the New Adult genre. I thoroughly appreciated the lack of hysterical drama, ghastly reveals and plot-twists that try and trick me into liking either of them. Their voices rang true and logical to me without the extra noise.There's a terrible sadness in Rory's character. She somehow got herself straddling two different social strata in the college jungle: she isn't socially inept enough to be dumped among the intense nerds but isn't cool enough to fit with the in-crowd. She has friends belonging to the latter clique, who try their damnedest to pull her along with the best intentions but ended up trampling on her pride and feeding her insecurities in the process. As if that's not bad enough, she couldn't even be upset with them because they're the only friends she have.I sobbed for the little girl I had been, who had never understood why I didn't just fit in, and for the realization that I never would. That my life was meant to be walked alone, with a thin plastic barrier pulled taut between me and everyone else, my thoughts never capable of running parallel with the majority of human beings. In the world of Stellas and Stanleys and Blanche, I was destined to be Harold.Tyler was a refreshing hero to Rory's heroine. He has a botched Batman tattoo, he reads Harry Potter to his younger brother but most of all, he feels insecure around Rory. When he first brought her to his house his shame, while expected, didn't feel overplayed to effect pity from the reader. There's a proud, yet quiet dignity to his character that gives him the extra nudge beyond the usual alpha hero.I was still on the couch and Tyler was in the bathroom. I had a feeling he was cleaning it because he'd gone in with the spray bottle and had been in there for twenty minutes.Their relationship had a good, sensible build up founded on something other than the physical. Though Tyler has been referred to as hot, it wasn't hammered in my brain repeatedly just so I won't forget. The sexy scenes were tastefully written and didn't feel like pandering to a particular fan base. This actually read a little young for me, but I guess that's a plus in this case. There's great wit and sharpness in the dialogue and some silly moments that made me smile more than wince.Kylie looked like the pink abominable snowman, dressed from head to toe in fuschia fur. I wasn't even sure which piece stopped and started. It was one giant fluffy assault on the senses."Is that a Care Bear?" Riley asked.This should have been an easy 4-star for me but there were things that niggled and tugged me the wrong way. Inconsistencies such as Rory's explicit disgust on the taste of cigarettes but not making one comment about it when Tyler kisses her or her nervousness seeing Tyler naked because she's never seen a penis when a) Grant has evidently taken care of that early in the book and b) she's in pre-med, that's a virtual impossibility. The treatment of Jayden who has Down's Syndrome may raise a few eyebrows and one statement from Rory did make me wince a bit. The ending felt rushed and abrupt, as if Tyler's mom's funeral magically made all their problems go away. I probably would've liked it better if they got their HEA a few years down the road when Tyler's had his shit sorted out better and Rory's relationship with her father got a bit more clear.But all things considered, for a book that felt a tad bit too real, for me, it provided a few entertaining hours of escape.ARC provided by the publishers through NetGalley