Title: The Secrets of Attraction
Author: Robin Constantine
Series: No series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: April 28, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)
The summary of The Secrets of Attraction from Goodreads:
Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and (of course) romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine’s debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love.
Madison Parker is on fast-forward. Working toward a scholarship for a summer art program, she already has her future figured out. But when a visit from a family friend turns her life upside down, everything she thought she knew becomes blurred. All she wants is to stand still for a moment.
Jesse McMann is stuck on repeat. Reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band, Jesse divides his time between working as a barista and trying to find the inspiration to write music again. All he wants to do is move forward.
The night Maddie strolls into Jesse’s coffee shop after yoga class, the last thing on his mind is hooking up, but her smile and witty comebacks are hard to ignore. The spark between them is undeniable, but once-a-week flirting is hardly the stuff of epic romance.
Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett. When Jesse discovers that Gray’s girlfriend is also Maddie’s best friend, he invites Gray to join his band as their new drummer, hoping this connection will give him more time around Maddie. Slowly but surely, Jesse and Maddie forge a friendship, but do they have what it takes to make their relationship truly sync?
Even though I didn’t enjoy The Promise of Amazing as much as I wanted, I wanted to give Constantine another chance. The plot of The Secrets of Attraction is different, and it sounded like it might be something I’d like. I’m glad I read Secrets because it showed how well Constantine could write, and the characters and plot felt more authentic.
Maddie was introduced in the first novel, but this is really her story. It’s her turn to fall in love. What I liked most about Maddie was her character development. She’s the carefree girl, the one that takes each day as it comes. Yet, she’s determined to achieve her dreams of art school, knowing that it’s the path she needs to take to get where she wants in life. When her mother tells her information that has her questioning her entire life, her ability to live in the moment while aiming for the future falters. She has to deal with the knowledge that a large part of her and her mother’s lives as a lie and needs to learn why she’s so against commitment.
Jesse is coming to terms with the end of two relationships. He’s lost his girlfriend and his band looks like it’s fallen apart, too. He’s not sure how to move forward when those two relationships made up a large part of his life. Without them, he’s not entirely sure of his identity or his future.
I think my favorite thing about this novel was the slow build. Where The Promise of Amazing was instant love that felt a little rushed, The Secrets of Attraction went the opposite direction. I loved that Maddie and Jesse start as friends. They actually get to know each other and set a good foundation. There’s an attraction, but they know that’s all it is.
And once again, the friendship between the girls is fantastic. And Secrets shows healthy male friendships better than Amazing. Jesse, Tanner, and Grayson show what good friends do. Where Promise showed the damaging effect of friends, Secrets shows how friends should make you a better person.
Nothing too bad, it just got a little cheesy for me. I wasn’t nearly as annoyed with this book as I was Promise, but there was still some eye rolling for me. Not a ton, but enough that I couldn’t rate the book as perfect.
If you liked The Promise of Amazing, you should read The Secrets of Attraction. If you didn’t like Promise, still give this one a try. It’s the better of the two, in my opinion. It’s short, sweet, and swoon-worthy.
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Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.