Having just read two nonfiction books in a row about weightier subjects, I needed a quick, fun read. Thus, I turned to the delightful Meg Cabot.

It’s been a while, but at one point I read through Meg Cabot’s entire catalog of YA, and a bunch of her adult works as well, so I thought it might be time to check out her latest release, No Judgments. This book hit my ‘to read’ list when advance copies were bing handed out at BookCon during the Romance Candy Crush event. (We got plenty of romances at that event, so it’s likely to be mentioned again as we work through our BookCon hauls.)

No Judgments is a light romance set on an island in Florida during a CAT 5 hurricane. The MC (main character) is a ‘Fresh Water’ (new-ish to living the island life) and has never lived through a hurricane quite so bad, a fact which she’s trying, but failing, to hide from the handsome hometown boy.

Things I liked:

  • Meg Cabot = FUN: When you reach for a Meg Cabot story, you already know what you’re going to get, and that’s a good thing. Fluffy, fun, characters you can root for — this one had it all.
  • Fully-formed characters: Meg Cabot knows h0w to create characters that feel like real people. From the type of pet they prefer, to whether they have their grandmother’s sourdough starter in the fridge, even side characters ended up feeling like real, non-stereotyped people.
  • Pulse-pounding romance: I don’t need explicit scenes to enjoy a romance (in fact some romances take that type of scene so far that I just end up skipping those bits to get back to the story), but I do like the belly-swoop moment — whether it’s a glance across a room, or a first kiss, or a whispered promise. Meg Cabot does these well!

Things I could have done without:

  • Run-ons: I did not remember how many run-on sentences she uses. Or maybe that was an attempt to show how this particular character thinks? It was a little quirk, but I found it frustrating.
  • Repetition & over-explanation: Yes, lots of stories do this. They think the reader didn’t understand the first time. Or they want to be sure to refer back to a salient point so you don’t forget. Or they think they’re revealing something new each time they say the same old thing. Sometimes that bothers me and sometimes it doesn’t, but in this particular book I felt like the MC kept harping on the same ideas over and over and over, and I occasionally found myself rolling my eyes because of it. Also, we didn’t need to be told how much the neighbor boys liked 90210 — if the dogs are named after those characters, then it’s obvious they liked it.
  • Moment of weakness: This is one of those ‘I had to get away from him because who knows what I’d do if left alone with him for too long,’ heroines. Why does the woman have to be weak to want a dude? The backstory is that she’s not dating because she’s getting over something bad that happened with her ex, but the whole ‘I didn’t know if I’d be strong enough to resist my impulses’ excuse is one of my least favorite ways for people to get together in a romance.

Bottom line: Although this was not my favorite Meg Cabot book of all time, if you enjoy a contemporary adult romance that doesn’t make you think too hard but is still a fun read, No Judgments fits the bill. Also, you might consider checking out some of her other books — she has a lot of great stories out there!

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

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