Review: Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young

Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.

Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.

The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…

From the moment that Olivia saw Nate she was attracted to him but they soon morphed into buddies and then best friends. Nate is a player and is constantly taking women home with him but the minute he thinks they’re thinking of more than sex he takes a hike. Olivia gets completely tongue-tied around men that she’s attracted to so she can’t understand how Nate does it. When Olivia wants to start talking to a postgrad that comes into the library she works at, and admits to not being with a guy in 7 years, Nate offers to try and teach her some flirting tips.

The lessons go well until Liv realizes that even if she ends up going out with the postgrad, Ben, she’s only had sex once and it was horrible. She asks Nate to teach her in bed how to please a man and Nate agrees – on the stipulation that they remain friends and that “shit won’t get weird.”

You can guess…shit gets weird. The longer the “lessons” continue the less Liv actually wants to date Ben because she’s falling in love with Nate. He is all that is good and kind and is so hot in bed. He comes to her place constantly and their friendship remains constant so that’s a bonus. That is until Nate freaks out one night and Liv admits that she’s in love with him. This begins the decimation of their friendship and then shit gets REALLY weird.

While this wasn’t my favorite of the books that I’ve read in this series so far but it was still a good one. Nate and Liv’s friendship was really the clue that kept this one together and moving and I loved that about it.

Nate has issues that stem from losing his first love and refuses to admit that there’s more to his relationship with Liv than friendship. He’s the one making all the sweet moves but he still thinks it’s all in the name of sex lessons. Is he stubborn and pig-headed? Absolutely, but even then I could see how much he cared for Liv and just wanted him to admit his feelings. The problem that I had with the book is the lack of perspective from Nate. This book is first person POV from Liv and that really left a gap for me. I really wanted and kind of needed Nate’s thoughts but unfortunately had to guess at everything he was thinking and feeling which was a bummer.

Liv was a really great character. She was so beautiful inside and out but she just couldn’t see that. Yes, we’re all critical of ourselves in ways that others aren’t but she seemed to be lacking more in confidence than complete lack of self-esteem. Nate’s “lessons” were amazing and she loved being with him but when he stepped back and wouldn’t admit his feelings she cut him loose. It’s definitely what he needed in order to get his head on straight and I loved Liv for standing up for what she believed in.

The section of the book where Liv and Nate were apart was heart breaking but it played an important part in the overall story line and I appreciated that Young didn’t shy away from it. I very much enjoy the fact that Young takes her stories where they need to go even if the reader doesn’t always expect or like it. In the end it’s what makes for great books.

I liked this one a lot and love this series. I picked up this book and didn’t stop until I was done reading – definitely a page turner.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Samantha Young


Rowena said...

I agree. Nate and Olivia's friendship was my favorite part of this book. Seeing them morph from best friends to something more before shit got weird and then after they fixed it, at the front of my enjoyment was their friendship.

I really liked this book. Like, a lot. =)

Tracy said...

Wena - Yep - totally agree. I loved when Liv texted Nate "Did shit just get weird?" I loved that they were good enough friends that they could talk to each other like that.

Rowena said...

I know! I thought they were adorable. I'm curious about Hannah's book now...can't wait to read it!