REVIEW: Jake Undone (Jake #1) by Penelope Ward

I wavered a lot on my rating for this book. There were many parts that I greatly enjoyed then others that reaffirm why most new adult books are so cringe-worthy sometimes.

Nina moves to NYC for nursing school and her new roommate, Jake, makes a deal to tutor her in math though every time she doesn’t get A on an exam, she has to face one of her phobias. Jake and Nina grow steadily as friends. Nina wants more and so does Jake but his secrets prevent him from taking their relationship to the next level with Nina.

Jake’s secret defines the pace of this book. I enjoyed that Jake and Nina build a solid friendship before there’s anything physical between them, but it was sooooo sloooooooowwwww.

I was very fatigued from all the push-pull to get to what Jake was hiding. I will say that I didn’t expect what Jake was hiding. I already liked Jake from how he treated Nina and helped her get over her phobias. When we finally find out what he’s been dealing with in Boston…
I appreciated that Jake’s conflict wasn’t the same old, predictable drama we see  so much of in new adult romance. It was believable and rightfully angsty. One thing I didn’t appreciate was that even once the big secret is out of the bag, Nina and Jake’s relationship is still full of, IMHO, unnecessary drama that prevents them from progressing as couple. Jake’s secret and how they deal with it would have been sufficient for me at that point. Instead there’s more and more and more drama that subtracted from the enjoyability of this story for me.

This isn’t necessarily a slam against Jake Undone per se, but why does almost every new adult couple have to experience an unplanned pregnancy? I’ll concede, sometimes it works. Here, it didn’t add anything to Jake and Nina’s journey, except add more drama for them to contend with after they had already been through so much. Personally, I could have done without it.

Overall, Jake Undone was an enjoyable tale with very likable (well, most of them) and well-developed characters. A few things that didn’t work for me, but not enough to prevent me from reading more by Ms. Ward as I plan to check out the supporting cast’s books such as, Gemini, which I didn’t know in advance, came before Jake Undone and My Skylar.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

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