Week Nine: Rock Bottom Girl

I’ve been talking about Lucy Score to anyone who will listen to me since I fell across Riley Thorne and the Dead Guy Next Door, which is the better, less annoying version of the Stephanie Plum books.

So, I’m already on the Lucy Score bandwagon.

Most of what she writes are straight-up romance novels, but with more, um…sass. Attitude. Comedy. I mean, there’s still plenty of sex, but these are romance novels that do not take themselves too seriously.

Which brings us to Rock Bottom Girl.

Downsized, broke, and dumped, 38-year-old Marley sneaks home to her childhood bedroom in the town she couldn’t wait to escape twenty years ago. Not much has changed in Culpepper. The cool kids are still cool. Now they just own car dealerships and live in McMansions next door. Oh, and the whole town is still talking about that Homecoming she ruined her senior year.

Desperate for a new start, Marley accepts a temporary teaching position. Can the girl banned from all future Culpepper High Homecomings keep the losing-est girls soccer team in school history from killing each other and prevent carpal tunnel in a bunch of phone-clutching gym class students?

Maybe with the help of Jake Weston, high school bad boy turned sexy good guy. When the school rumor mill sends Marley to the principal’s office to sign an ethics contract, the tattooed track coach, dog dad, and teacher of the year becomes her new fake boyfriend and alibi—for a price. The Deal: He’ll teach her how to coach if she teaches him how to be in a relationship.

Who knew a fake boyfriend could deliver such real orgasms? But it’s all temporary. The guy. The job. The team. There’s too much history. Rock bottom can’t turn into a foundation for happily ever after. Can it?

So, this is every RomCom cliche you can imagine. The team hates her. Her high school nemesis teaches home ec. She gets in trouble with the principal on her first day. And the guy that ditched her at homecoming teaches history. Things could not be worse.

But the thing is that RomComs, when they are well done, can turn the cliches around, and make you root for them anyway, even though you can see the wires. And this is one of those books. I knew how it was going to end before I read it. That’s part of the contract—I read your book, you try to make it interesting and give me a happy ending. In this, the book totally delivered.

Where these sorts of comedies can succeed above your expectations is the supporting cast. Think about when Harry Met Sally, and think about Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Or Rupert Everest in My Best Friend’s Wedding. Or Rhys Ifans, Emma Chambers and Gina McKee from Notting Hill. An interesting, hilarious supporting cast keeps the romance from being saccharine.

And that is where the book shines. Marley’s parents, her sister, the aforementioned nemesis, and her erstwhile bestie are all hilarious, and keep the plot from getting bogged down in the “will they or won’t they”. And the soccer player that they recruit from, literally, the streets, adds a surprising amount of heart.

I really enjoyed it. I think at this point, I’ll follow Lucy Score anywhere.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was really, really good.
Rated NC-17 for language and strong, explicit sexual situations.

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