Book Review: The Secrets of Attraction

The Secrets of Attraction
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary 

After reading several books that dealt with some rough issues, I was excited to lose myself in Robin Constantine's newest novel, The Secrets of Attraction. Her debut novel, The Promise of Amazing, was a great read. While this is not a direct sequel, Wren and Grayson are integral to the plot. It was like seeing old friends once again. I won't comment too much on them as I don't want to spoil the first book for those who haven't read it, but I love me some Wren and Grayson.

This novel focuses on Madison and Jesse. Like with The Promise of Amazing, the story is told from the viewpoint of both characters. I find with Constantine's novels I love the dual narration structure. It allows me to truly understand both characters and their motivations as they navigate the current of their relationships - plutonic, familial, romantic, or otherwise. I felt instantly at ease with both Madison and Jesse.

Madison is one of Wren's best friends. It was nice to see a female relationship that was supportive and warm. The girls are the sorts of friends everyone should strive to be. There is no petty arguing or back stabbing in this group. I love seeing strong female friendships that lack drama in YA literature. Madison is also dealing with some intense family issues throughout the course of the novel; this makes it more difficult for her to open up to people outside of her inner circle. Love is certainly not something on her agenda, but like with most things in life, we can't always plan for our heart. Sometimes it just leads us in directions we never thought possible.

Jesse is a local barista who makes a mean chai latte. His initial interaction with Madison comes from behind the counter of the local coffee shop. Madison and Wren stop by every Thursday after yoga class for a drink and Jesse finds that there is something about Madison that intrigues him. Jesse isn't looking for romance - especially after his last girlfriend, Hannah, stomped all over his heart - but he can't resist Madison's appeal. The two of them strike up a friendship that could blossom into something more.

I liked that Madison and Jesse are friends first. They are attracted to one another almost from the first moment, but they hold back and allow themselves time to get to know one another. This is crucial for lasting relationships.

While I enjoyed watching the relationship between Madison and Jesse develop, I did find that this one largely lacked a sense of tension for me. I knew how things would end up and predicted the little snags along the way. Don't get me wrong, there is something to be said for a sweet romance that doesn't have me biting my fingernails, but it also made the story lack forward momentum from time to time. I also found myself frustrated by Madison on more than one occasion. 

Overall, The Secrets of Attraction is a cute, cozy read. It's like those flannel pj pants that you love to curl up in on a rainy day - cute, familiar, and warm. There is something comforting about reading a story like this one. I certainly have to be in the mood for such a read, but there are times when I don't want super heavy reading material. The Secrets of Attraction is like one of those Hallmark movies; it left me feeling happy and entertained. I can only hope that Jazz will get her own book next.

One Last Gripe: I didn't like that Jesse and Duncan didn't truly resolve their issues.

Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the part of the story about Madison's birthday.

First Sentence: "Breathe," Leif commanded.

Favorite Character: Jesse

Least Favorite Character: Hannah

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and (of course) romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine’s debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love.

Madison Parker is on fast-forward. Working toward a scholarship for a summer art program, she already has her future figured out. But when a visit from a family friend turns her life upside down, everything she thought she knew becomes blurred. All she wants is to stand still for a moment.

Jesse McMann is stuck on repeat. Reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band, Jesse divides his time between working as a barista and trying to find the inspiration to write music again. All he wants to do is move forward.

The night Maddie strolls into Jesse’s coffee shop after yoga class, the last thing on his mind is hooking up, but her smile and witty comebacks are hard to ignore. The spark between them is undeniable, but once-a-week flirting is hardly the stuff of epic romance.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett. When Jesse discovers that Gray’s girlfriend is also Maddie’s best friend, he invites Gray to join his band as their new drummer, hoping this connection will give him more time around Maddie. Slowly but surely, Jesse and Maddie forge a friendship, but do they have what it takes to make their relationship truly sync?