Having had to look after herself since she was a child, Zoey has built an impenetrable wall of hostility around her. However, when her friend Maya needs her help Zoey has to let her defences down and allow outsiders in. This includes Kellen, Maya’s brother-in-law.
Can Kellen help melt Zoey’s icy exterior?
When I first picked up this book I was seriously misled by its cover. It looked like a light hearted chick-lit; a bit of comic relief. Instantly, I was proven to be wrong. Within the first chapter you had families living in trailer parks, abandoned teenagers, school yard pregnancies, underage drinking and abusive fathers; all in the very first chapter. I started to wonder what I had let myself in for.
What I hadn’t prepared myself for – even after this initial shock – is how much I would fall for these characters. Our protagonist, Zoey, is a tough nut to crack yet she has a heart of gold and a vulnerability that is kind of heartbreaking. You cannot help but want her to have all the good things that life has to offer.
Kellen is essentially a nice guy but his niceness tends to leave him missing out. He is calm, confident and develops a new and exciting bolshie attitude that even leaves Zoey flustered. It is almost like they balance each other out. With all good love stories – and believe me, this is a damn good love story – you find yourself yelling at the book when things go awry.
Besides the cast of characters, Zoey and the Nice Guy deals with the contentious issue of domestic violence. Not a subject to be handled lightly and fair play to Ashby she doesn’t overplay it nor does she have it as a catalyst and then sweep it aside. This plot thread is consistent throughout the story and deals with not only the physical wounds but the psychological ones of the victim but also those around her. It is interesting to see how different corners of a social group would respond – hatred, shame and even denial.
It is due to these reasons that I fully recommend Zoey and the Nice Guy. I will warn you not to be fooled by the cover. Besides the darker topics mentioned above Ashby also engages in quite graphic sex scenes and also throws in the odd (or very frequent) cuss word.
Zoey and the Nice Guy by Carter Ashby is available now.
You can follow Carter Ashby on Twitter @CarterAshby