Riley Walker does not make mistakes.
Riley Walker certainly doesn’t make spontaneous decisions.
But then Riley Walker gets dumped.
Spectacularly, gut-wrenching, stomp all over her heart dumped. And she is feeling more than a little angry. And a whole lot bitter. And suddenly the girl who has always done everything right feels like doing something completely wrong.
Garrett Bellows, lead guitarist for the local band, Generation Rejects, is going through life without a plan. Trying not to think past the next gig or the next party, he has worked hard to not become too attached to anyone or anything. So he is shocked to find himself drawn to the snarky girl with a chip on her shoulder. She pisses him off and puts him down. He knows she’s nothing more than a self-entitled college brat who thinks she’s better than the townie boy without a future.
Alcohol and a hefty dose of lust leads to a night both Riley and Garrett immediately regret. Her embarrassment, his pride and the weight of rumors and misconceptions convince Riley and Garrett that their one-time indiscretion will never be repeated. Particularly when their harshest critics are each other.
But how do you reconcile a head that wants to let go with a heart that keeps holding on?
And what happens when your biggest regret begins to seem almost perfect?
I have a handful of indie authors that I’ll support unconditionally, and A. Meredith Walters is one of them. Her writing style seems so effortless and is just completely emotional. Her characters always seem to exist somewhere else in full 3-D glory and somehow they’re channeled into the pages of Walters’s books for a brief period of their lives. Perfect Regret has all the elements of a great A. Meredith Walter’s book: intensity, high emotions, depth, a tough-but-scared heroine, and a hot boy with some issues.
To be totally honest, with both Bad Rep and Perfect Regret, I’ve started them out thinking – this is the same as any other New Adult book. But I keep reading because I’ve come to trust this writing. And somewhere along the way, I find I’ve been totally sucked in and a switch has flipped and I’m not in typical NA land anymore. These stories are really their own world and it was amazing to pop back in on the Bad Rep world and check in on Maysie and Jordan because they are still so dear to me.
Riley’s story was admittedly tougher for me to connect to, but once I did I was hooked. Riley’s a little bit more aggressive, misguided, and jaded when the book opens. But it really is amazing to see how she grows as her story progresses and she really softens and starts to let people in. She not only lets Garrett in, but she manages to actually let her friends in and connect to them. Her family was also an important part of this story – yeah, I sobbed when she went back home to her parents and some things went down. That was a terrifying and emotional part of the book, but it was amazing as a turning point in Riley’s life.
So on to Garrett – I have some issues with finding long hair on dudes attractive. My imagination just can’t go there for some reason. But then Riley talks about how she’s angry chick music and he’s hard rock (or something like that) and all of a sudden I’m picturing Garrett as Heath Leger from 10 Things I Hate About You and Riley as Kat. And then I totally fell for Garrett. He has some damage from his past, but he really straightened things out, too. His chemistry with Riley was just fabulous. It was actually amusing watching them dance around each other. But sometimes I wanted to smack Riley because she would say things and I’d feel completely protective of Garret. Which, now that I think about it is genius because it’s all from Riley’s point of view. I don’t know how all these emotions and connections are put into the book because they’re there and it’s awesome.
I can’t recommend the Bad Rep series, or any A. Meredith Walters book enough. While Maysie and Jordan are still my favorite, Perfect Regret is a great companion to Bad Rep. I’ve come to feel like I’m a part of their group of friends and I’m totally invested on where they go from here. If you want a great New Adult book that will go straight to your heart, frustrate you a bit, but bring all your emotions to the surface then Perfect Regret is your book.