Anna (_ocelott_) wrote in genrereviews,

Something About You by Julie James

Publisher: Berkley, 2010
Genre: Romance
Sub-genre: Contemporary
Rating: 4 pints of blood

Backless. Fuschia. Dress. Most of us wouldn't wear one, but it's inarguably eye-catching on this cover. The colour stands out, the bared skin stands out, we immediately recognize we're looking at a contemporary romance. And as an added bonus, that dress actually features in the book, although I'm led to believe that has more to do with the author's ingenuity than the people responsible for the cover art. Allegedly the dress in the book was originally black, and it got changed when James saw the cover. And you have to admit, that's a pretty smart move. Now the cover's more memorable and satisfying than it would have been had that just been a random backless dress.

Something About You had a lot of buzz when it came out, with rave reviews everywhere. I immediately put it on my "to read" list (which is different from the TBR pile). It only recently fell into my hands, so here we are.

When she chooses a hotel room for her solo getaway, Cameron is not too impressed to find out it's the one beside what seems to be an all-night (and very loud) sex romp. When the sex romp turns into murder, though, Cameron quickly finds herself to be the only witness. Of course, the only description of the guy she has is of his back in a hoodie, but it's enough to tell the investigating police the perpetrator wasn't the politician who's being framed.

The case is quickly turned over to the FBI, and it's Jack's turn to be less than impressed when he discovers just who his witness is. Cameron was responsible for setting his career back three years and very nearly destroyed it entirely. He can be professional, though, and set aside his personal feelings to work on the case, as long as he can throw the occasional snide remark in her direction. Of course, those feelings of hostility would be easier for him to hold onto if everything about her didn't remind him of how attracted he'd once been to her. The closer they work together, the more the sparks start to fly, but is it enough to get them past the bad history between them?

One of the things that makes this different from other romances is that the Big Misunderstanding has happened long before the book even starts. The plot basically deals with the two of them dealing with and getting past the Big Misunderstanding, rather than bringing it in as a bit of extra conflict 3/4 of the way through the book.

There's no secret as to who the killer is, since he narrates a few passages, trying to cover his tracks. This can backfire on an author but James does it well, making it fit the tone and style of the book and letting those sections add to the tension and the reader's understanding of the plot instead of trying to cover it in mystery. That being said, this is not really a romantic suspense. It's contemporary romance played fairly straight, albeit self-aware (the detectives assigned to guard Cameron have a discussion about "meet cute" at one point).

I really enjoyed the characters in Something About You. The story starts off on the slow side, but I didn't care because I had so many fun people to hang out with. Jack and Cameron are both primarily reasonable people who make reasonable decisions based on the information they're given. Jack's partner Wilkins was a nice and sunny foil to Jack's "scowliness" and Cameron's friends Amy and Collin (the requisite gay best friend) are charming. Actually, I kind of wanted Wilkins to get his own book, but no word on that yet.

Something About You is exactly the kind of book I can see being made into a "chick lit" movie. It's got the cute banter, the quirky side characters, the reluctant but undeniable attraction between hero and heroine... Formulaic? Sure, but it's done well enough that it remains enjoyable and even re-readable.

Something About You is available in mass market paperback.
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Tags: 4 pints of blood, contemporary, genre: romance

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