Book Review: Catching Liam by Gennifer Albin

Posted March 27, 2015 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: Catching Liam by Gennifer AlbinCatching Liam by Gennifer Albin
Series: Good Girls Don't #1
Published by Self-Published on June 25th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 380
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.

So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint.

Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.

Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.

This is a standalone novel in the Good Girls Don't series.

5 Stars

What’s that? A perfect score for a self-published new adult book? YEAH. I’m almost as surprised as you are. But honestly, Catching Liam is basically everything I ever wanted from a new adult novel and it just makes me SO SO SO HAPPY.

I should note that prior to reading Catching Liam, I read about 4 other new adult books. I’m binging at the moment. I need the swoons. But whereas all of those previous reads fell to the new adult pitfalls of too sappy, too much sex, too much “sex solves everything”, too much “your love has healed me, let’s be together foreverrrr”, Catching Liam absolutely did not. It was a breath of fresh air right from the start. First and foremost that would be because of the banter. Liam is hilarious and charming and Scottish and awesome. He makes waffles and calls Jillian “chicken”, and just thinking about it is putting a massive grin on my face. The dynamic between the two was just wonderful – especially because Jillian doesn’t actually want a relationship at first. She has one night stands, but never more than that. Obviously that won’t deter Liam, and he cutely tries to court her anyway. The chemistry is palpable, and the hot scenes are really hot. Maybe not the most explicit I’ve encountered, but I’ll gladly hand in one or two degrees of hotness for the excellence of the rest of this book.

Another reason why I love this book so much is because we actually get to see more of the college setting. Jillian actually goes to classes – most notably her Interpersonal Communications course, where she obviously gets partnered with Liam and they have to spend time getting to know each other and learning how to communicate. There’s actually quite some character growth in there, because Jillian has closed herself off for so long. She runs away when conversations get tough and people get too close, so this course is actually one of the best things for her. Though, okay, we didn’t get to see much more about communication theories and such, but the foundation is there and it’s already so much more than I’m used to getting from new adult.

But Catching Liam took a turn that I didn’t quite expect but that added so much depth to this story. There’s a reason why Jillian pushes people away and doesn’t want to get into a relationship – she’s coping with a certain illness. The hints are there right at the start of the book, but it doesn’t really get identified until later on because she’s running from her own illness – as she puts it later, “talking about it would make it real”. But I feel like this is the best kind of sick lit I’ve encountered. Her condition does not define her. She puts in so much effort to try and live her own life – and indeed, with her active party and sex life, she’s not moping and whining about it. This could be a dark, depressing story, but it totally isn’t. And yeah, she does have some things she needs to face instead of running away (particularly her overbearing and controlling mother, who means well but is a total nightmare), but I can’t help but be impressed by her tenacity. I think she’s a really realistic character with so much depth.

And obviously, Liam, being the amazing guy he is, wants to help her. At first she’s hesitant because you don’t want to force someone into a position where they’ll have to take care of you for so long. But again, this book doesn’t go for the sappy route, where love is proclaimed, and they’ll be together forever and tears and whatever. I respect Liam so much because he respects Jillian’s boundaries and says himself that he doesn’t know about forever – he just wants a fair shot. I’M SWOONING SO HARD I CAN’T EVEN.

Catching Liam also has excellent friendships, painful but important family dynamics, sex positivity, trouble with grades, stress of selecting majors, general anxiety, and it’s just so so so good. I loved every second of this book and wow. I was not expecting that.

Summing Up:

I need more new adult books like Catching Liam. This amazing little story had a banterful ship, characters with depth, the ultra-charming Liam, an angry love confession (that’s my jam), an authentic college setting, a story with depth and realism, and plentiful swoons. I can’t wait to read more of Gennifer Albin, and I dearly hope she continues exploring new adult, because this is how I want it.

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

People who want the hotness of new adult PLUS real actual depth.

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3 responses to “Book Review: Catching Liam by Gennifer Albin

  1. “sex solves everything”—Apparently Leah Raeder has a name for this: magic dick lit. MOST HILARIOUS THING.

    So you never felt that her illness was in relation to their falling in love, right? I ask this because I’ve read books where the girl had an illness. She was always always seen as weak and demure. I have no issue with books that deal with illness, but I do have a problem when the author labels or stereotypes the MC based on her illness.

    • YAY! I hope you like it! And I’m the same, I am so distrustful of self-published novels, but I figured if they’re authors that have traditionally published YA novels, it’s worth a shot.