Publication: March 24th 2014 by Entangled Publishing
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
It’s been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it’s been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.
Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.
Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.
This is one of the few New Adult novels that I found “heartwarming” or “endearingly sweet”, and that’s a good thing actually. It’s something different and refreshing. Let me start off by saying the setting was absolutely perfect. I love the idea of studying abroad and I love Europe. What I had in my mind was a picturesque image of beautiful Aberdeen. The pubs and the castle-like university Jordan studies in, all together lovely.
I really like how literature was incorporated in the storyline and how it played out for the characters. We don’t just get quotes from Shakespeare or Forster, we get reactions from the characters as well. Speaking of the characters, I find them all to be quite likeable.
Jordan Brooks is an excellent narrator. I love her sense of purpose and her determination. But she can be quite unreasonable sometimes. I love how she values her relationships especially with her best friend Sam and I love how she remembers to write entries in their little travelogue-style journal – a nice little detail by the author. She’s also very responsive, and appropriately so. Like when Noah had a panic attack, she set aside her troubling feelings for him and helped him breathe.
Noah Keating on the other hand is a handful. The majority of the novel I was lost with his actions and intentions towards Brooks. He has a lot of surprises up his sleeves. But he’s unlike any other NA male love interest I have ever read. He’s kind of like Evan Wilke from Unteachable, all charm and cautious facades.
I also really love the minor characters especially Elaina and Duncan. There were just so adorable together and I’m crossing my fingers for a novel of their own.
Onto the problems I’ve had with IF ONLY, I’m a bit sad on how Griffin’s story arc concluded. He was there for a few hundred pages and then we never heard of him again. I was really intrigued by his character – especially his No-Committment attitude – and I was hoping we’ll hear more from him.
Another problem I had is the seemingly nonexistent love triangle, if it really was the intention of the author. We all know who Jordan’s going to end up with (I’ll leave you at that), and it really was shaping up to be a good triangle until, like I mentioned above, Griffin disappeared. Was that a spoiler? I really think it could’ve been given more depth.
I would also like to commend A.J. Pine’s writing. She writes beautifully and I was savouring every paragraph. And I may have geeked out on the literary aspect of IF ONLY. I’m checking out Much Ado About Nothing and Dead Poets Society after writing this review, by the way.
Overall I really enjoyed this read and am looking forward for more of Pine’s future works.