Title: Taking Him On (Checking Him Out #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Debbie McGowan (Beaten Track)
Publication Date & Length: September 9th, 2015 — 250
It’s almost a year since Noah told Matty they needed to cool it, believing it was the sensible thing to do. After all, they were too intense, and they were both failing uni.
Now, with Matty just weeks away from taking up his place at a prestigious London dance academy, Noah is desperate to make the most of the little time they have left. It’s only a temporary separation, and they are forever. Or so he’d thought.
There’s not a lot of dense plot, nor does it read like a traditional romance. Noah and Matty are an established couple, and the emphasis is on their development as characters and within their relationship. Even though this is part of a series, it can be read pretty well as a stand-alone.
I struggled a lot to like Noah, even though the story is in his (first-person) point of view. He seemed incredibly immature to me, and I kept thinking that if he couldn’t be realistic about the kind of relationship he was in, he probably wasn’t ready for it–and certainly not as a “forever love” thing. He kept talking about having “real” sex with Matty (and referring to everything else as “fooling around”). Plus, he wasn’t really able to let Matty lean on him in a grown-up, mature way because Matty’s issues were too intense for him to deal with. It was incredibly frustrating.
That said, I felt like Noah experienced a lot of growth. His unlikeablility was not a deterrent from enjoying the story–instead, it made me even more invested. I wanted to see if he developed into a healthier version of himself, and I wasn’t disappointed. By the end of the book, I felt like he’d changed for the better, and I really liked the way the whole thing wrapped up.
If you like a book to be heavy on character development with less emphasis on action or romance, this is a good choice.