Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross
Released: March 25th, 2014
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 turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m 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.
Third Degree is the first Julie Cross novel I've read, and I was eager to see how this YA writer would tackle the New Adult genre. I've got mixed feelings about Third Degree, though I did like it and would certainly read more by this author. I think I should really try her Tempest trilogy!
My main problem with Third Degree is the characters. Isabel Jenkins is a child prodigy, an almost-doctor by the age of eighteen but someone who possesses no social skills or experience whatsoever. She has no idea how to behave in a college environment surrounded by people her own age, and instead has to analyse and test everything she comes across. After failing an important medical exam, she's sent to therapy and deemed too young to be a surgeon, so she's sent back to college to change her ways and learn a little about life. What a great premise, right? It is, but Isabel as a person infuriated me. She's so oblivious to what's around her and, unless it's related to medical diagnoses or procedures, has no common sense or intelligence when it comes to normal, everyday occurrences. I know that's the whole point of the story, but still. It irked me.
Before reading this book I knew it had a medical setting in some capacity, but for me there was a bit too much. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac (yay, what fun) and tend to avoid anything like this, but I carried on reading due to a need to know how the story would turn out. Marsh, Isabel's RA turned love interest, went in a completely different direction than I thought he would, and his character is also steeped in the medical world. I haven't thought much about him since I finished the book which is a shame as I thought I'd really like him. Alas, it wasn't to be.
Third Degree does have some good aspects to it, namely Isabel's realistic parent problems and Marsh's endearingly brilliant family. They were the high point of the novel for me - especially his younger, outspoken sisters - and I relished any and all page time with them. Julie Cross does a great job with her secondary characters, and in this case I preferred them to Izzy and Marsh!
Third Degree is worth a read, though it's not quite up to the standard of other NA books I've read. Personally it was too medical for me, and unfortunately I didn't gel with the main characters, which we all know can impact a book's enjoyment. Still, I'm looking forward to reading more by Julie Cross and I'll look out for more NA from her!