4 STARS"There's so much more going on in the world (other) than sex.""Not when you kiss me."This genre gets enough pain as it is from me and this month I found myself distancing from it in favor of wizards, succubi and assassin nuns. I never thought I'd see the day when I would have a hankering for a contemporary YA with a blurb hinting at a love-triangle.And yet here I am, fangirling over Jordan who owns a denim suit, ate glue in grade school and is a Jonas Brother.But I'm getting ahead of myself.This was a story of mourning. About the girl we love to hate, the perfect girl who was living it up at seventeen suddenly dealing with the pain of losing a parent in a way that leads her to question everything she's been taught. It's a story of finding reprieve from all the grief in the most unexpected places. The good and the bad kind.That's as generic as you can get in this genre but wait! It gets worse! Because ofcourse she finds her way in the middle of two guys, each a complete opposite of the other. One embodies everything that's good, everything that she's running away from while the other smells of Eau de Bad Boy, promising her all the havoc she wants to wreak after everything that's gone down.Cheesus H. that sounds awfully "special", I know.But it really wasn't that bad.True, it's a little too Hallmark-y for my jaded tastes and it pushed some of my buttons, not all necessarily good, but in the points that matter to make this a read worth taking a chance on, it did pretty well. Because unlike the standard New Adult fare where the heroine grieves the loss of a parent by going to New York and edge her little slutty self in the middle of a love triangle, this dug deeper. People in grief, I feel, is a pain to read about as much as dealing with in real life. Every irrational behavior, every selfish choice can be excused as dealing with it. Which is really kind of cheating. So while Ashley's instant attraction to Colt, making out while in church, The Marshmallow Play and the non-rape wrestling should really bother me, I let them pass. Especially seeing as the sole reason she's initially drawn to Colt was his striking resemblance to her dead dad. Clearly this girl has issues outside the Selena Kitt Universe of Squick yet I can't really muster any rage towards Ashley no matter how many times she seems to like slamming herself against the Colt Wall while trying to keep it together.Though the repeated referencing of losing her virginity as "breaking the seal" was cutting it close.Talbert Moore did a fine job making the reader sympathetic to Ashley's pain. I've read her other historical YA and I feel her writing is best suited for this genre, making the angst easy to digest while keeping the characters emotionally accessible. My main problem was that while her writing is pretty easy to get in to, it tends to get bland. While the experience was pleasant enough, nothing stands out in the plot that will make me remember it a few books after.Though this one I'll probably remember better because of Jordan.I'm having the creepy need to collect all the beta heroes I can find. And Jordan is a pretty addition to my collection of 2. It's nice to see a spade called a spade in this genre for once and a good, decent guy willing to stick to his choices, no matter how uncanny, is painted favorably. Because let's be honest, in real life, the generic douchebag you come across does not have an angsty backstory. He really is just a douchemoron and not the hero in your CR alternate reality.My mild gripe was the heavy religious context, so much so that one scene may have inadvertently brushed into some paranormal implications. For personal reasons, I'm not a fan of this device and I know some readers will be put off at the mere mention of this as well. It didn't really niggle much and I'm sure the author has her reasons, but it's one of those things I'm not overly fond of getting sneaked in my reads. I found it admirable that Jordan is saving himself for marriage but I figured it would've worked just as well, if not better hadhis core values and beliefs weren't solely rooted to his plans of being a pastor. Stepping outside the stereotype is always good, right?This book didn't necessarily re-write any new rules in this genre and there's nothing earth shattering with the story that was told. But an old story done well is still a story worth telling and reading. So I'm definitely picking up the first one in this series (I didn't even notice it was the second book!) on the strength of this author's grasp of the mysterious language of this genre that keeps me from writing it off altogether.ARC provided by All Night Reads thru NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.