Title: Boomerang (Boomerang, #1)
Author: Noelle August
Rating: 4 Stars
If Julie James's Practice Makes Perfect had a half-child, Boomerang would be the result. And, since Practice Makes Perfect is my favorite James novel, of course I fell for Boomerang. For those of you who don't know, Practice Makes Perfect chronicles the blooming romance between two lawyers who compete for exactly one prestigious position in their firm. Boomerang, similarly, is the love story of two young, ambitious, and disastrously attractive interns competing for one job opening at Boomerang, an up-and-coming dating site.
Noelle August's debut New Adult novel--an effort co-authored by Veronica Rossi herself--doesn't break new ground in the genre yet, it's still massively entertaining. Boomerang opens with our protagonists, Mia and Ethan, waking up in bed together. Unknowingly, the two wound up celebrating their internship positions together, not knowing that they'd soon be competing for a job. Or, for that matter, that their new company would have a strict policy on inter-office dating. Both Mia and Ethan know they have chemistry--the sparks just won't stop flying!--but for Mia, Boomerang is the opportunity she needs to launch her career as a filmmaker and for Ethan, Boomerang equates to the salary he desperately needs to earn in order to pay back his student loans and afford grad school after his dreams of becoming a soccer star were shut down due to an injury. But, the real question here isn't who will land Boomerang's exclusive position--it's whether Mia and Ethan can abide by company rules and keep their hands off each other...or not?
Alternating from Mia and Ethan's perspectives, Boomerang is the type of romantic comedy that hits all the right queues: targeting the humor, hitting the laughs, and keeping the storyline short and sweet without dragging it longer than necessary. It's a self-aware novel--rare, but necessary, in this particular genre--and though there are a variety of typical tropes such as petty jealousy, they are dealt with in such an honest and forthcoming light that, as readers, we find ourselves charmed instead of irritated. What's more, the characters have valid reasons--beyond plot-spun dilemmas--to prolong their happily-ever-after. Both Mia and Ethan have been burned by their past relationships and coping with the aftermath of those tragic romances have molded these two into different, more cautious, individuals. Thus, to jump into a relationship--real life consequences and job hunt be damned--isn't quite as easy as it seems for Mia and especially for Ethan with his financial difficulties.
In the small details, Boomerang shone. Mia, the daughter of a famous photographer and a self-made father, wants nothing more than to rise to success on her own two feet. Unlike typical protagonists following this storyline, her goal isn't to escape from the shadow of her parents but rather to find her own artistic voice separate from theirs. It seems like an identical concept, but the subtle differences truly make a change. Mia's ambition, her love for film, and particularly her drive to chronicle her Alzheimer's suffering grandmother on video are all such raw, true glimpses into who she truly is, teasing at the type of naivety and emotion found only amongst the New Adult age group, that Boomerang benefits from it. Ethan, as well, struggling under the burden of not having quite enough to live by comfortably but, at the same time, not wanting to trouble his parents represents a much more relate-able lifestyle. One line, in particular, where he remarks that his parents are currently putting his younger brother through college and really can't afford to pitch in for day-to-day expenses like his rent--those thoughts felt all-too authentic. Now, heading off to college myself with a younger brother in the house, these are the tragic thoughts I know will plague me some day as well.
While Boomerang still stumbled in areas, namely the sexual tension between the love interests steaming up the page far more than the actual sex did (kind of a bummer, not going to lie...), I found this debut to be full of charm and oozing with promise. Mia thinks to herself, at one point, that being out of college and in the "real" world, sustaining a job and building a career, still feels like playing at adulthood. For me, Boomerang hit the nail with one-liners like these which mirrored my own tumultuous and confused thoughts about growing up all-too-well. (Seriously, internships feel like dress-up! I traveled to NYC for a research internship all of last summer and sitting on the train every morning with actual adults who made money and paid taxes felt far too surreal.) Needless to say, I'll be picking up the companion novel to Boomerang once it releases and I certainly hope Noelle August continue to write honest, open, and downright entertaining romances--I certainly won't be tiring of them anytime soon.