When Joss Met Matt
by Ellie Cahill
Expected Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Obtained Via: Advanced Reader’s copy given by the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
View at the Traffic light:
Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.
When Joss Met Matt is the first New Adult book that felt like what I *thought* NA would be. NA, for the most part, has become something very different than what I hoped for–and that’s okay, it’s not up to me to define a genre or category–but When Joss Met Matt is the first book I’ve read that is clearly something different than young adult or an adult romance. It’s in a category all its own, as it should be. For that reason alone, I have a lot of love for this book.
I picked up this book because I loved Liz Czukas’ YA and I knew she could write a couple that I would love. I was still hesitant about When Joss Met Matt because the idea of reading about a string of hook-ups interspersed with bad dating stories is not really my thing. I’m open about the fact I’m only like, maybe 25% interested in REAL LIFE romance at most so I tend to not have time for book characters who can’t get their romantic entanglements together. I was so surprised, however, and if you’re iffy for the same reasons, I definitely recommend giving this one a try. It was much less explicit than I thought it would be(I’ve read much more graphic sex in books that are totally YA), so it’s definitely worth considering if you’re considering skipping for those reasons.
When Joss Met Matt spans a period of seven years, starting with Joss and Matt in their first semester of college and going all the way to a few years post-college. It was so great seeing these characters change and grow. Seven years is a lot longer than I’m accustomed to reading, and I really enjoyed watching these characters grow up. They struggled with the new adult things I always want NA to address. There’s a sense of not knowing what your purpose is, reconsidering decisions you once thought were great, and figuring out what you want from life. There’s also this sense of having to adjust to life as an adult and how time keeps moving, even when maybe YOU don’t know what you want from life yet. Seeing these characters struggle with things like losing parents, trying to find jobs they loved, etc. was extremely satisfying.
There’s also this sense of unique loneliness of being a twenty-something that comes up from time to time and what it means to figure it out. Joss goes from not knowing what she wants to major in to having a job she loves by the time the book ends, but that doesn’t mean the rest of her life is perfectly in place either.
Even with all these great themes, the highlight of When Joss Met Matt is the romance between Joss and Matt, and OH how I loved it so. I liked Matt from his very first scene and that feeling never left. There was so much about the way their relationship developed that I loved. In many ways, I felt like When Joss Met Matt is the story for all the romances that never get told. There’s no sweep of passion, no romancing-the-girl-off-her-feet, but the romance is still so visceral all the same.
From the beginning, Joss thinks Matt is a great guy but never considers him a true romantic prospect because she doesn’t think he’s her type. She wants a romance that’s epic and sweeping, but the considerate yet fun relationship that blooms between her and Matt over the course of seven years is so much sweeter than anything whirlwind would be. They banter and have fun with each other but also show their love in understated, realistic ways. It’s a romance that feels realistic and swoony all at the same time.
Basically: this NA is a complete win and I loved it. If you love NA, pick it up. If you have your issues with NA(like I do), this one might be for you. If you’re iffy about the book based on the summary(as I was), I’d still recommend picking this one up. I loved Joss and Matt, and I LOVED When Joss Met Matt.
When Joss Met Matt is my first win in reading NA, and I have a lot of love for this book. It’s sweet and often funny and just so PERFECT for what being a new adult is. 5/5 cupcakes.