If you’ve been following me since at least last summer then you know I’m a big Elle Kennedy fan after binge reading her Off-Campus series while on vacation last year. I’ve read her whole Off-Campus series and Briar U series so with the third book in her Avalon Bay series coming out soon I wanted to start that one. The first book in the series is Good Girl Complex and to no one’s surprise, I loved it.
The book is a dual POV and follows Mackenzie Cabot and Cooper Hartley. Mackenzie or Mac, is from a wealthy family – her dad is a wealthy businessman turned politician and her mother is a woman who lunches and is on the board of many charities. Mac has lived a privileged life, but for the most part has felt pretty unloved/neglected by her parents. She has no desire to go to college having founded a popular website that has made her a lot of money, but she promised her parents that after a gap year she would attend Garnet College, a posh university in a coastal town in the Carolinas.
Avalon Bay is a small coastal town and the hometown of Cooper, his twin brother Evan, and their best friends. The locals or townies are mostly working class people who don’t have a ton of money, but look out for each other. When school is in session at Garnet, the wealthy kids are all around and most of them make the townies’ lives hell.
One night when Cooper is working his part-time job as a bartender at a local bar, a rowdy group of rich kids get out of control. One of the guys gets a little too handsy with Cooper’s friend and fellow bartender and it turns into a fight, which gets Cooper fired. Tired of letting the rich Garnet kids mess with their lives, Cooper, with the encouragement of his brother and friends, devise a revenge plot on the guy who got him fired. The guy, Preston, is seen hooking up with different girls all the time and after some social media stalking they find out he has a girlfriend. Their plan is for Cooper to steal the girlfriend away from Preston and humiliate him and then dump the girl. The girl is Mac.
When Cooper gets to know Mac, he realizes she’s not like the other “clones” as they call the rich Garnet kids and is actually really cool, doesn’t flaunt her wealth, and they actually have a lot in common (especially with the neglectful parents with Cooper’s tumultuous family life). When things move beyond flirting after Mac and Preston break up, Cooper begins to fall for Mac very quickly and vice versa. But can he keep the origins of their relationship a secret? Will Mac find out and feel betrayed and lied to?
When I started reading the book I was a little unsure if I was going to end up loving it because the revenge plan they had for Mac was so mean and cruel, but after I got to know Cooper more I began to love his character and it made up for my hesitation at the beginning. I love Mac and her and Cooper together were the perfect opposites attract romance. Mac is classically beautiful with a fun and fiery spirit that she has kept hidden to portray that perfect country club persona she’s expected to have with her family. Cooper is the tattooed bad boy who actually has a heart of gold.
The side characters were okay, I didn’t love them, but didn’t hate them either. But, I did really like Cooper’s twin brother, Evan, once he stopped being a jerk, so I’m excited to read his book which is the second book in the series. It’s not like with the Off-Campus series where I absolutely loved all the side characters. Regardless, I did love Mac and Cooper!
Read this if you want spicy, small town romance with the opposites attract trope.
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