I don't even know where to begin right now. This is my first book by Shae Ross, though it is actually the second book in her Pretty Smart Girls series. Fearless can be read as a standalone story though with no problems understanding anything. Unfortunately for me while I really loved some parts of the story, this book took a huge turn that I wasn't prepared for, and it wasn't a good one in my opinion. I will do my best to avoid being super spoilery, but just be warned that there might be some ahead as it is almost impossible for me to express what I had problems with if I don't go into some detail.
Devi and Ben have been more than friends since the moment they met, however they have never actually been together. So when they both move with their friends to NY, Ben is determined to finally convince her to give them a real shot. Ben has spent the last six months trying to win Devi over, but her fear of relationships has kept her from allowing them to be anything but friends. But when something unexpected comes up, Ben realizes that he might have screwed up any chance of having Devi just as she was beginning to allow him in.
I liked Ben. He was straight forward and a good guy. I liked that he was able to be upfront with his feelings and the fact that he fought for Devi. I will say that I thought that his excuse for what happened in regards to the big twist was absolute BS, and if he was fighting so hard for Devi and had such strong feelings for her that I felt he never would have done what he did. It didn't make sense, and to me it was a total mood killer when it came to his character. I liked how he handled things, but it was his fault he was in that position and it was something that I felt never should have happened. I found myself relating to Devi pretty easily. She was strong and fearless, and I loved her sass. She was always blunt and to the point, yet her weakness was her own insecurities especially when it came to her upbringing. She let her circumstances get in the way of her life and relationships, and I wish that she had been able to see herself better earlier on. I didn't like that she kept turning Ben down, forcing him to keep pursuing her, but I did understand why she did it. These two were great when they were together though, and I really enjoyed the connection they shared.
So obviously my biggest problem here as I sort of alluded to above was the huge plot twist that happened at about 40% of the way through. Up until that point, this book was honestly one I couldn't put down. I was loving the dynamics between these two, and I really enjoyed the group of friends and all their antics. The pranks and fun they had were some of the best group moments I have read in any NA story, and I was expecting a fantastic read. Then 40% through happened, and I felt absolutely betrayed. I took Ben's actions personally, because I felt like his personality wouldn't have allowed him to do what he did if he had been legit about his feelings for Devi. The next 50% was hard to get through, and I honestly thought about throwing in the towel multiple times. I really wish that the author hadn't gone there, and I am pretty gun shy now about reading more from her because of this. While I think the situation was ultimately handled well and came out okay in the end, I wasn't satisfied with this story or the ending at all. The twist is one of those things that can either go horribly wrong for me or work itself out in a way that I can get on board with, and unfortunately here it was the first. I think that this is one of those things that could be personal to me and might not affect everyone who reads this, but I also think that there are a lot of other readers out there that will feel exactly the same as I did here. I also felt like the blurb was a bit misleading as it made sure to bring up the fact that Ben was a cage fighter multiple times, yet that was such a small part of the story that it didn't even really have much to do with anything here. Those expecting a fighter book should know that that is not what this book is ahead of time, and that the blurb made it out to be something completely different.
**ARC Provided by Author**