REVIEW: Third Degree by Julie Cross

third degree graphic

Release Date: March 25, 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
This is a Stand Alone

Purchase for Kindle

Rating: 4+ stars

If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know that I am a sucker for New Adult romances. They are like my kryptonite. Give me a book in that genre that has tons of angst and I’m sold! This book is no different. Not only am I a sucker for books filled with angst, but I particularly love books that are different than everything else that is out there. I can honestly say that I haven’t read a book that had a plotline like this one. It was fascinating and I became instantly engrossed in the story.

Child prodigy goes to college…for the third time. Eighteen year old Isabel Jenkins (Izzy) has it all planned out – she knows what she wants and she knows that the probability that she will get what she wants is high. However, when her bosses at the hospital are not quite yet comfortable sending an eighteen year old into her first year of residency to operate, she is left trying to figure out what she needs to do to get back on track. So she heads to college to get “real life” experience.

“These are basically the only kinds of failures I’ve experienced in my life – getting along with others.”

Now Izzy was a character that actually took me a while to come around to. She had a very dry personality at the beginning of the book. She was very black and white and had a hard time feeling empathy for others, including her patients. She was like a robot – someone who was extremely intelligent and just called out symptoms and diagnosis like it was not big deal. She almost lacked the ability to relate to others making it a little hard at first to not be put off by her.

“And this is why I don’t have any real friends. Elevated intelligence allows me to know exactly where to hit and cause the most damage.”

However, she intrigued me. I wanted to keep reading and see if she would change. There were some things that she did that had me going HOLY CRAP I cannot believe she did that. I was embarrassed for her, but at the same time, I admired her tenacity and strength. She always knew when she over stepped so it wasn’t like she was oblivious either.

“The problem is that I know I was wrong…and I also know that I was being myself, so how can I promise her that it won’t happen again?”

Another thing I liked about Izzy was that although she may have been a child prodigy, she wasn’t naïve or innocent. She was not some doe-eyed little girl that was experiencing life for the first time. This made her much more relatable to me personally. The beauty of this book was that she did change. Marshall (Marsh) really had a huge impact on her, one that I don’t think she’d even admit.

Now Marsh is a typical college guy. He is her RA and has a thing for wearing shorts and flip flops year round, even though they live in Illinois. But from the minute he meets Izzy, it is clear that her quirks fascinate him and he is determined to help her gain a normal “real world” life experience.

The romance aspect of this story is where the angst-y New Adult genre comes into play and of course, I loved it. I loved Marsh and Izzy’s interactions and I loved the effect that they had on one another. They were fun and had some hilarious interactions like this one:

“This relationship is reaching a level of weirdness that I’m seriously not comfortable with.”
“I just want to listen to your bowel sounds.”
“I take that back. Now we’ve reached the peak level of weirdness.”

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of surprises in this book that made it unlike any other book I’ve read. Izzy is keeping her MD status a secret, while Marsh has a secret of his own. I really enjoyed this story and loved development of the romance. It was a slow burn – no instant love here – which makes sense partially because most of the time Izzy is unaware that guys even find her attractive. There is also no stupid in this book. The conflicts were surprising, yet believable and I really enjoyed this story.

The only issues I really had with this book was that some of the secondary conflicts never really got a resolution. They were minor plot points, but I feel like they were glossed over a bit. Izzy had an issue with her parents, which never really was addressed, or if it was, it was not really clear. In addition, Izzy’s past inappropriate relationship was touched upon but, other than saying it was inappropriate and her realizing that it was, that also never really was dealt with or cleared up. Rest assured, these issues were minor – I just felt like there were missing pieces to the puzzle and I like things tied up in a bow at the end so that I can put the story to rest.

If you are like me and love New Adult books set in college, then read on! This book is fun and different and I really enjoyed it!

Purchase for Kindle

✭ About Julie Cross ✭

Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and New Adult genres. She’s also a committed (but not talented) long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

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