Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: ARC for Tour
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N
Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.
She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.
But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.
When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her. And Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.
Fun fact: for reasons that Caroline and Izzy, and even I a lot of the time, can't understand, I'm actually an engineering major. Specifically bioengineering, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, I read the synopsis for Tell Me When and one thing popped out at me: sexy engineering student with a jaded past who's a player but will inevitably fall in love and be wonderful.
After that, I needed no more convincing. And while I marvel at the portrayal of the amount of free time Marcus seems to have (seriously, am I doing something really wrong, here?) it was a fun element that I certainly haven't found to be common in books I've read, and allowed me to geek out a bit. Now, if only my program had a Marcus....
But before we really get to Marcus, let's talk about our leading lady for a little bit. Amber had one of the scariest and most heartbreaking back stories I've read in a contemporary novel, and that's saying something because there's usually a doozy. It made her an incredibly strong and admirable character when considering how well she managed to cope overall. That's not to say she was perfect by any means. Her refusal to accept help and tendency to blame herself, while understandable, was frustrating at times. With that said, it was nothing that wouldn't be expected from a typical girl of her age dealing with major flux in her life on top of everything she'd already been through. It made her real and relateable, even if I wanted to shake her every once in a while.
And then there's Marcus. I liked him. Kind of a lot. His back story just made me want to hug him and the glimpses we got of his protective side were enough to make me all gooey inside. On top of that he's smart and driven, both admirable qualities, and, at least to me, seemed to have a lot more respect for women from the get-go than your average reformed-player protag. Others may disagree, but it felt that way to me. He was a wonderful swoony love-interest throughout.
While I generally enjoyed the progression of Amber and Marcus' relationship, there were definitely some points where it felt rushed and feeling seemed to escalate out of the blue. But for me, the deliciousness of the tension between them at other points made up for it. I especially liked the development of the trust between them that seemed to happen largely independent of the romance, which made the foundations of it seem much more solid.
The only thing that still bothers me is part of the ending. Fair warning, this will be incredibly vague to avoid spoilers. But when its discovered who was taunting Amber, that is not something that should just be let go. Seriously. It irks me to no end that that is essentially what happened. Not. Okay. Ever. Jeez.
Regardless, I definitely enjoyed the story overall and would recommend it to any NA contemporary fans out there. Tell Me When is a staple for the genre: a beautiful story about accepting and overcoming our pasts to let love in. Basically, all things good and yummy. :)
Born in England, Stina loves to travel, and has lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. She spent a semester in graduate school living in central Finland, and a summer during her undergrad degree working in Helsinki. She has a Master’s of Science degree in exercise physiology and has worked with elite athletes. In her free time, Stina is a photographer, mother of three adorable kids, and devoted wife. She currently lives in Calgary, Canada.