An addictive romance filled with deep feeling, crackling attraction and cackling laughs ... Ruthie and Teddy each have to address their demons, but these leads are refreshingly aware of their flaws and willing to do the work to overcome them. Their ragged edges and growing affection fit them together like symbiotes. The stakes of this love story aren’t sky high, but Thorne’s genius is in layering the emotions with idiosyncratic details that take your breath away ... Things might wrap up just a touch too neatly, but this compulsively readable romance will have your heart squeezing and soaring from beginning to end. As soon as you turn the last page, you’ll be fighting the urge to flip back to page one. And if you’re like this reader, you’ll lose.
A smart and funny love story between two very unlikely people ... a clever and truly hilarious novel. Readers of Sally Thorne will recognize her signature quirkiness and delightful sense of humor, but in her third novel, she has managed to write something completely different from her previous works. Ruthie is entirely her own heroine, packed with old traumas and sensitivities, but decidedly sure of herself and her work ethic at the same time ... Once you get to know the characters, their banter soars and the tension between them finally starts to emerge. The second two-thirds of the book is perfectly paced, with great dialogue, just the right amount of conflict, and the emotional punches that Thorne is so skilled at writing.
The best thing I can say about this book is that it is not for me and I’m just happy that all those readers who love a painfully sweet, twee heroine with the real world sense of Michael Scott to fall in love with a man-child who’s supposed to be charmingly asinine but is really a dullard finally have a love story they can treasure ... Thorne, whose first novel The Hating Game is one of the great contemporary romances of the past decade, seems to have lost her sense of humor, passion, pacing, and plot here ... To be fair, I didn’t finish this book and it’s possible that the last quarter is so magnificent that the first deeply disappointing 275 pages were worth it. I’ll never know.
While I can’t say Second First Impressions is a perfect book, it was perfect for the moment I was reading it in. It’s funny and might make you cry (in a cathartic way), and has a hero whose kindness I truly loved ... The theme of slowly exiting your safe space when the time was right was so timely and on point for me. It was because Teddy was so kind and gentle with Ruthie in her journey to come out of her shell, and appreciative of who she was without wanting her to change (but supporting her desire to) that this book worked. When Teddy and Ruthie begin to fall for each other, it made total sense.
A kindhearted, by-the-book heroine is drawn to a playful, charismatic tattooist ... Writing from Ruthie’s first-person perspective, Thorne manages to bring all the characters to vivid life, endearing them to the reader through the enumeration of their quirks and fleeting revelations about their pasts. Each scene between the protagonists—whose first meeting will make you laugh and wince simultaneously—is a delight, as is Ruthie’s motley found family. The turning point in Ruthie’s professional and personal arc is unsurprising, but the denouement is joyful in more ways than one. Charming, funny, and heartwarming.