Series: Good Girls Don't #2
Published by Self-Published on June 26th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective. So when she receives a call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to Mexico for some fun in the sun.
Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn't plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she's been crushing on for a year. When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.
Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallarta, especially not a former student. Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However, the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.
But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.
This is a New Adult novel. Due to mature content, it is recommended for ages 17 and up.
I guess this is karma, right? I read Catching Liam and I was totally in love – filled with hope for more NA books I could completely fall in love with – and then the SAME AUTHOR just has to ruin everythinggggggggg. Teaching Roman is just blah. So bad, it’s almost hilarious but for the fact that I want to cry. I can’t even believe the sheer stupidity that happened in this book. But I’ll try to keep calm and explain.
My basic problem with Teaching Roman is that it is nothing but sex. And I like my sexy scenes every once in a while – the slew of NA titles I went through in March will attest to that. But this relationship has no development, no emotion, no reason. Jess and Roman are attracted to each other physically, but I swear, NOTHING else about their relationship is developed. And thus it becomes a steaming pile of sappy crap that just makes me craugh if not rage. And that’s about all I can say without spoiling the whole book.
WARNING: The following spoils all the events of Teaching Roman. You have been warned. I just cannot talk about its ridiculousness otherwise.
So Teaching Roman had a foundation in Catching Liam – where one certain scene made clear that Jess had a crush on her ex-professor. Now, I’m generally pretty okay with student-teacher relationships when done well, and especially since in this instance he was NO LONGER her professor, I didn’t feel like a power imbalance would keep me from shipping it at all. But. I never got on board this ship.
The book starts out that Jess breaks up with her boyfriend Brett because he proposed to her and she realized she wasn’t really in love with him. I thought for about 5 seconds that I could relate to Jess, because I’ve also always been the studious type with a “5 year plan” who maybe stuck to the safe choices that ensured that plan. A passionate relationship hasn’t really occurred for me. But that’s about all of the character depth that we even get for Jess. At a certain point in the story she mentions off hand that her dad died when she was young. And my reaction was, “wait, WHAT?!” Jess = studious. That is her only character trait. I feel like I don’t even know her.
But, okay, she is newly single, and her best friend Cassie is also single after being cheated on, so the two go off to Mexico for a week-long vacation. At the airport, they run into the ex-professor, Roman, who is coincidentally going to the same place. In this first scene, he already seems to be mentally undressing Jess, and they exchange flirty comments. Cassie notices and teases Jess that she should hook up with him. Jess brushes it off. When they arrive at the airport, Roman is being picked up by his grandmother, and he introduces Jess as she was standing right there. The grandmother seems to instantly think they’re in a relationship or going to be or well they’re going to be together forever. Er… okay. Jess’s luggage gets stolen and Roman shortly runs after the guy, so she thinks he’s kind of heroic and then the two part.
Later that day, Cassie is completely wasted – her goal for the vacation – and almost gets arrested, so Jess calls Roman for help. (She doesn’t speak Spanish and didn’t have any cash.) Roman helps her out and gets Cassie back to their hotel safely… and then he and Jess kiss. And they have sex. And they agree to have a one week fling on their vacation, with the promise that “what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico.” At this point the book kind of fast forwards from sex scene to sex scene. Any actual conversation between the two is pretty much omitted, so I feel like this relationship is purely physical. However, even the sex scenes are completely bland to me. Apparently there’s some spanking and biting in their relationship but…
Notably one of the most awkward scenes is when Roman invites Jess over for dinner at his grandmother’s place. They almost have sex in the kitchen. And I swear, I am not joking about the next part. He fingers her, but he had been cutting up peppers, so when they start actually having sex, their genitals are pretty much on fire and they have to stop. Yeah. That’s so awkward. And not even funny awkward. Just cringe-cry-sigh-wince awkward. Which isn’t helped by the fact that after they get themselves cleaned up, the grandmother is waiting for them and knew what they were doing and suggests for them to keep some milk on hand in the future. I swear to god I’m not kidding.
In some of the very brief dialogue that takes place in this novel, Roman indicates that the second Jess walked into his classroom, he knew she was everything he wanted in the world. And that it was therefore tortuous that she was his student. She will think endlessly on how handsome and whatever Roman is. But I never got the sense they actually got to know each other. I honestly don’t know anything about Roman aside from the fact that he’s close with his grandmother and apparently has a smoking hot body. Seriously. They are that undeveloped.
Okay, so the week ends, and Jess has to go back to college, and per their agreement their involvement will end. On their last night, Jess prevents Roman saying, “I love you,” but the sentiment is obvious.
Then. Of course. One of my favorite (/sarcasm) plot elements: Jess has a pregnancy scare. Jillian butts in and calls Roman so he can be with her when she takes the test, and then he confesses that he loves her, he will always love her, and no matter what he wants to stand by her side. Well, haha, the test is negative. But yeah. They decide to actually give the relationship a shot – because, yeah, they’re in love. Ugh. The book then speeds through a couple months of them in a relationship which mostly consists of studying together in private and having sex in between. They then make the stupid fucking mistake of going to a bar together, where of course Jess’s jealous ex-boyfriend sees them together, and he reports them to the dean and the Student Ethics Committee. This is a student-teacher relationship book, so obviously this was a necessary cliché.
Roman then freaks out about potentially losing his job – but more importantly not being able to finish his PhD – which makes Jess think that he regrets their relationship and thinks it’s just a physical thing not worth more trouble, and drama drama drama. She offers to transfer to a different school so they’ll both be okay, but he refuses, she cries, and drama drama drama. They break up. HUZZAH! But I was not rejoicing for long.
Jess still has to go before the Student Ethics Committee, where her lawyer sister helps her out, getting the case dismissed by insisting that they got together after she took his course, and they are both students and consenting adults. Roman is there and afterwards tries to win her back. He pushed her away before because he didn’t want her to sacrifice her academics. He came prepared to offer to resign if it looked like she would get expelled. But Jess doubts his love for her and runs away again.
But then. If only the book had ended then. No… then, Jess finds out that Roman rushed off to Mexico because he got a call that his grandmother was dying. She obviously goes after him. Her sister gives her a lift to the airport, where she pretty much tells her to, “go for love! I had one chance at a romance and I let it slip away, and now as a result I’m married to my job.” The feminist in me is screaming. Her sister is twenty-freaking-six. And being ambitious in your work is fine. For fuck’s sake, can we stop spreading this idea that you are incomplete without a romantic partner???? And that if you don’t marry that one true love in college you’ll end up a spinster?????
Yeah, you probably see where this is going now. Jess finds Roman at the airport and they are reunited. In Mexico, they rush to the hospital and his grandmother – who barely fucking knows Jess and had seen them like twice – is delighted to see her. Jess herself had said earlier that, “Aba would expect to see me.” FOR FUCKING WHAT REASON!?! She also muses to herself that she can’t remember the exact moment when she fell in love with Roman, but for a certainty she knew why. BUT THEN DOESN’T EXPLAIN WHY AND I WAS KIND OF HOPING SHE WOULD BECAUSE I DON’T FUCKING KNOW.
Fine, after an afternoon with grandma, they go back to the hotel where Roman tells Jess he snuck her into the hospital room by saying she was his wife (it was family only). And. Of course. This made him realize how natural it sounded. And how much he wanted it. And then he proposes. And he doesn’t even let her answer because he knows her answer. And then he says he wants to get married tomorrow. And I wish I were fucking kidding.
Jess is overjoyed
That all happened.
I’m not kidding.
I don’t like instalove. I don’t like rushing into a romance without having that foundation. There was NO foundation here, aside from the hint that Jess liked Roman in Catching Liam. I don’t like early I love yous. I don’t like lust-based relationships – at least, not when there’s never any development on top of that. I don’t like cardboard characters. I don’t like pregnancy scares. I don’t like jealous ex-boyfriends. I don’t like marriage being treated like a totally normal, accepted thing when altogether the two have been together for max 3 months. FOR. FUCK’S. SAKE.
The only thing this book even remotely had going for it was the friendship between Jess, Jillian and Cassie – but then Jillian and Cassie apparently found out about Jess’s spontaneous marriage – weren’t fucking mad about it despite Jess not telling them at all – and surprised them with a deluxe villa for their wedding night. Real friends. Would not support. Such. Fucking. Bullshit.
Screw you, book. Screw you.
Summing Up:This book is ridiculous. And stupid. And bad. And aggravating. Thoroughly undeveloped and unromantic. And Jess is supposed to be the fucking SMART one in the group. *concussion-worthy headdesk* To be clear, I still would say Catching Liam is worthy reading, but definitely skip this one. It’s not as enraging as other NA books which promote abusive relationships and possessive love interests, I guess, but it’s just so undeveloped. I’m amazed that anyone thought this was worth hitting the publish button. I mean, if the sex scenes were REALLY FUCKING HOT that would maybe be a reason, but even those weren’t that good! I’m just stunned and thoroughly disappointed.
I will, however, tentatively be checking out the next book in the series when it’s released, hoping that Albin got all of these awful tropes out of her system now, because I know she can do so much better.