Publication Date: August 19th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Source: Flirt, NetGalley
In this electrifying novel from New Adult sensation Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.
Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.
When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.
Its not often that you find New Adult novelsor any novels, in generalwhere the guy is the one with series body image issues. Its practically unheard of! Cassie Mae, however, delves into that topic head first and the end result was an eye-opener.
The Real Thing is another one of your best-friends-turned-lovers story. Instead of being another cliche, however, Mae takes a different approach with her characters. Eric and Mia have been into each other since high school, but neither has ever made a move. It isnt until Mia moves in with Eric for the summer, that their true feelings are revealed to each other. However, with Mias social media problem, and Erics body issues, a stable relationship becomes harder and harder for them to establish, until theyre left wondering: is it really worth it after all?
Ill be honest: I couldnt really connect with Mia too much. She spent practically the whole book obsessing over Facebook or Twitter or whichever social connection was available at the moment, and the only thing it did was annoy me. So in a way, I think Mae did a great job with that. Her problem with social media is serious and it takes a long time for her to overcome and control it. Still, I felt like perhaps it took her too long that I wasnt able to get to know the girl behind the screen. Eric, however, was a whole other matter. I really, really enjoyed getting to know Eric. He brings to the story a different type of vulnerability. Like I previously said, not many books shed light on a guys body image issues and Im glad Mae took up that topic. It takes a while for Eric to accept himself, but eventually, he comes to terms with who he is and with his past. Yet during the whole journey, the Eric we got to know was a really great guy: funny, charming, quirky, and a bit nerdy.
While Eric and Mias feelings for each other come to light early on in the novel, it takes them the duration of the book to actually develop a relationship. Each person has issues they need to deal with, and as the story progresses, we get to see how those issues are dealt with. What sets The Real Thing apart from other NA novels are the issues themselves, and getting an inside look at that was pretty interesting. Like any good book, The Real Thing has its moments, and as far as Im concerned, Eric is a definite hit.