Book Review: The Real Thing - Cassie Mae

Author: Cassie Mae
Genre: New Adult

**This book was an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley.com; other than the joy of reading - I was granted no compensation to review this book.**

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world. 

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

My Review: I try very, very hard not to read other people's reviews before I write a review myself, because I find my opinion is influencible; I find that I can see the other persons perspective on a book, and then....well, it becomes difficult to not have that same perspective. Not to say that when others hate a book, I immediately do too or anything like that, it's just that when I read the book, or think back on it - I start seeing where they are coming from and well...that's frustrating to me because then I'm left wondering (if I read the review before I read the book) if I would have felt that way anyways, or if I would have seen it myself. I'm like that with pretty much everything though, my friends know that I will be pretty upset, and have even NOT seen a movie or read a book based on someone spoiling it for me. This is ironic considering I'm sitting here typing up a review so that others can gadge whether they want to read a book or not, isn't it?

Okay, now that I've said all that, it sounds like I've got a bad review coming up, doesn't it?  Not true. But I am going to say that having Cassie Mae as a friend on Facebook makes avoiding others' reviews difficult.  The one little bit of a review I did see mentioned the lack of males who aren't naturally confident, in books; and the thing is, I agree.  Even Cassie Mae's own 'nerd males' have a certain amount of self confidence that makes them very nearly alpha in their own right. Eric, however, is suffering from a severe anxiety disorder, which sort of completely knocks him out of the over-confident category right off. Add in a jerk and verbally-abusive ex-girlfriend and you know this guy isn't going to be your typical leading man.  It was that, and the whole 'falling for your best friend' plot that had me jumping over to NetGalley.com to see if this book was listed.  (And it was my lucky day!)

What's The Drama?  Emilia ( Em, Emmy, Mia...) is super thrilled to be spending the summer with her best friend, and long-time crush, Eric, but is finding disconnecting from her electronic world long enough to enjoy him long enough.  Eric has liked Emmy for so long, but she is his best friend.  Beside, touching her leaves him feeling breathless...literally.  She is also that girl, no way she'd ever like someone like him, right!?

What I Loved:  The characters are so real!  As mentioned above, Eric is not this perfect guy; he's dealing with anxiety issues, self-esteem issues as well as weight issues. He is the opposite of over-confident, and I think it makes the book realistic. Real people have real issues. I feel the same way about Emmy.  I can probably think of several people who have a severe electronic/social media addiction (and many more with gaming addictions). Being online and talking to people we can't see makes us brave in ways we really are not, it is so easy to hide there.  Emmy also had a loneliness problem, she found solice in the people who liked her via messages, texts, emails, etc.  The attention is addicting. I know I enjoy all of the notifications on my birthday. It really makes me smile and feel good - but really, why is that?  Half of those people I don't even have a relationship with outside of the computer. 

Emmy was also easy to relate with because we have something huge in common - um, books!  It is obvious we readers understand each other since it is so easy to write one of us into a story and into a character who is otherwise not like us in anyway at all.  I smiled at her book-love every time it came up. 

Another thing to love, Cassie Mae is witty and fun, or at least her writing reflects that she is.  I am always able to laugh out loud while reading her books.  She has become one of my go-to authors when I'm looking for something fun, and just straight up fiction/romance (no paranormal, or long plots with crazy twists).  I love that I can rely on her to give me a light read that will end in that happy *sigh* that I crave.

Not So Much:  Even I was annoyed with Emmy's inability to disconnect. I have a love/hate relationship with technology, and there were moments when I wanted to punch her in the jaw because of it.  However, this is a part of her characters, and is also listed under "what I loved," because it is realistic.  Anyhow, I also ....and YES I know this is New Adult... am not a huge fan of some of the more, hmm..I don't even know how I can say it without sounding prude, but some of the sex (not the actual scenes, but the inbetween) talk, it was a bit much for me.  And I'm not into vibrators and such.  Maybe I am a prude.  Maybe I got married at 21 and have gone 13 years of married happiness without any of that sort of thing, but...I don't know, I'm not a fan of it in books.  

Can My Kids Read This?  Did you read the above paragraph?  Then my guess is, you already know that I would not recommend this book for teenagers.  :)