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Perfect. This is the perfect young adult, coming of age book. The balance between funny, sweet and sexy, touching and heartrending is one of the best I’ve read. It’s Doogie Houser M.D. meets Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory meets E.R. all rolled up in the female form of Isabel Jenkins.
Third Degree grabbed me from the first word, the first character actually, and never let go. Julie Cross’ writing style had me laughing in my ass off, feeling so much for Izzy and Marsh, I was hot and bothered, swooning and crying. Their story kept me up at the wee hours of the night.
At the tender age of eighteen, her extraordinary mind granted her a license to practice medicine. Her lack of emotional and social development put her career on hold. She hashes a “weird plan to be normal.” Deciding to have a regular college experience under the pretense of being Izzy Jenkins, normal eighteen year old she meets perfect looking and charming Marshall Collins. Their instant chemistry and banter had me smiling.
“Let’s get you moved in, Isabel.”
“Izzy,” I correct him… “thanks for helping, Marshall.”
He stares at my hand before deciding to shake it. “Marsh.”
“You name tag says Marshall.”
“And your registration says Isabel.”
I fell in like with both of them immediately. Her completely inadequate actions and comments delivered in a factual, non emotional monotone at the very worst possible moments had me in hysterics. But I also felt her misery and sorrow, because despite her astonishing intellect she knew she was lacking and wasn’t confident she could fix it.
Marshall is magnetic. His endearing personality shone through with an easy going nature and thoughtfulness. He knew Izzy’s secret and plan and actively sought to help her. Case in point: “Izzy’s educational to do list,” made up by him with the help of his younger sisters, awww right? We get to meet them later on, together with his parents and older brother and witness the great relationship with his very supportive family. But he’s hiding something from Izzy. Something that could potentially shatter the emotional connections they’ve made or bring them closer together.
Even though there was an on the spot attraction, their relationship isn’t rushed. I enjoyed them getting to know each other and slowing finding out that they were good for one another. Especially when their back and forth got cute, playful and even nerdy.
“Was the weak attempt at hitting me with a shoe a movement or responsiveness? With many species, the mating process starts with a little squabble. Are you trying to create offspring with me Izzy?”
Besides the book’s wonderful pace, plot and character development, the debunking of medical myths via Twitter by Izzy was great entertainment hilarious.
There was a moment when Izzy felt empty and lonely. At the end of the book I felt the complete opposite, filled with the warm fuzzies and close with two new book friends. This book definitely goes to my favorites and must read young adult.
5 HUGE stars
Note: I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review from Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy.