Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross


Title: Third Degree

Author: Julie Cross

Publication date: March 25th, 2014

ISBN: n/a

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Fans of Monica Murphy and Tammara Webber will savor this novel about coming of age in the heat of the moment from Julie Cross, the internationally bestselling author of the Tempest trilogy.

I used to be "Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy." As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I'm not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life--the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program--and it turned out my parents can't stand each other. Now I'm trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I'm not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we're hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can't teach me: love. Because I'm going to be alone forever if I don't learn fast.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One evening, I found myself in a sour place with a series I was reading (not for review, simply for pleasure). I was tired of the cliffhangers. I was tired of wondering how my characters faired and having to only get little snippets of their lives after I finished their installment to find out more about them. I was in need of a book that gave me all I needed in one single book. I needed a stand-alone. When scouring my options among my review books, this one jumped out at me. Hmm. Author I had not heard good or bad things about to which I could go into the reading experience completely blind with absolutely no expectations. Perfect. I dove in.

The story starts with our protagonist, a teenage doctor very reminiscent of Doogie Howser but more experienced with the opposite sex. Isabel is the best at what she does. She can diagnose a problem in a patient faster than anyone else and is almost never wrong. The problem is she has a hard time relating to her patients. Her bedside manner is appalling and she has just learned that she failed her emotional readiness exam that would place her in her dream position at Johns Hopkins. Left with no other choice but to wait to take the exam again, she enrolls in a university determined to go through some of the normal teenager milestones her employers believe she is lacking. It is there that she meets Marshall.

Marshall has his own issues but for some reason he can understand Isabel better than anyone else around her. He takes her under his wing and starts to show her the ropes. He guides her on how to handle social situations that cause her such distress. Along the way, as Marshall moves from helpful RA to something more, Isabel starts to consider him more than a friend and more than a possible one night stand. Marshall pushes past her defenses and causes her to feel things she had never felt before. But could her sudden emotional awakening become more of a hindrance than a help?

Isabel was hard to like, but I think she was meant to be that way. It is later revealed why she is the way she is, but until that moment I wanted to smack her one a few times. Marshall, to me, had the patiences of a saint. He more than made up for Isabel's abrasive characteristics. As much as I liked the characters and found the revelation at the end interesting, I had a hard time really deciding whether I was for this book or against it. The background (Isabel being a genius doctor but socially inept) was a little hard to swallow. I like stories that I can actually place myself in the role of the female protagonist and feel connections to the other characters. This one... I just couldn't. It left me a little lacking in my reading experience.

That by no means makes the story not worth reading. I do believe that the heart and soul was there within the pages, the bones of the story were just a little brittle.

Third Degree is story of how one can be the epitome of academia but still be naive to the world around them. Even geniuses don't always have all the answers... especially where love is concerned.


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