Well, I think that pretty much clinches it. I am a fan. Alice Clayton, you are a romantic comedy genius and I’m pretty sure that I will be reading whatever you publish going forward. Promise.
Initially I had a minor complaint that by 24% Natalie and Oscar had only had one tiny passing, 3 word conversation. My complaint was not that the story was slow, because it really wasn’t. Natalie’s internal dialogue was witty, confident and full of snappy one liners. Her interactions with everyone were entertaining, because our heroine was incredibly entertaining. Natalie Grayson rocked the shit out of this book. Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. Look, I read a LOT of M/M books. One of the reasons for that, in my opinion, is because there aren’t a lot of authors who know how to write strong, proud, likable, female characters. It’s sad, really. Strong becomes overbearing, proud becomes self-centered… it happens far too frequently, I think. Not Alice Clayton. Alice Clayton writes women that you would look up to, women to emulate. Don’t get me wrong, Natalie wasn’t perfect by any means, because how annoying would that be. Sometimes she could be a little too pushy, and once or twice I think she was maybe a little mean, but everyone has their flaws. She’s described as beautiful, curvy, and powerful. She was all of those things, but she was also vulnerable inside. Protecting that vulnerability sometimes made her lash out. I really loved her. Natalie was the star of Cream of the Crop.
When Natalie does finally meet up with Oscar, for real, it made all that waiting worth it. Man, if this book wasn’t proof that anticipation makes everything worthwhile I don’t know what is. Not only did the pages burst into flames in my hands, my hands were burning while I was laughing out loud! Who would have ever thought that Oscar the Grouch was so funny, and endearing?? The whole ‘Great Big Ass’ tagline of the book was perfect, and I could imagine him saying it in his gruff, normally grumpy, voice. My ovaries may have exploded… probably they did, I’m sure.
You know what else Ms Clayton does well? The small town atmosphere. I loved Hudson Valley when I read Nuts, and I loved it even more in Cream of the Crop. This little town just comes to life and explodes right off the page. I want to go visit the Maxwell Farm. I want to learn how to make cheese. I want to go swimming at The Tube, or take Zombie Pickle classes… It was so quirky and sweet. Again I have to shout out The Chad and The Logan. Goodness gracious, Alice Clayton, when are we getting that prequel??! And we got more from Roxie, Leo and Polly. Every time he called her Sugar Snap I swooned. I have hearts in my eyes. It’s second only to Oscar calling Natalie Pinup.
Have I geeked out over this book enough, do you think? If you’re not convinced yet, I can add some more about how I really really really really loved it. This is one that I want everyone to read. We all need to talk about it, laugh about it, and love Natalie’s confident body image.
I want to be Natalie when I grow up.
Thank you to Gallery Books via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: = A+
Series Reading Order:
- Cream of the Crop
Thank you to Gallery Books, and Alice Clayton, for offering one paperback copy of Nuts, the first book in Hudson Valley, to one lucky winner.
Badass Book Reviews is not responsible for lost or stolen prizes.
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