Review: “Then You Saw Me” by Carrie Aarons

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: August 10th, 2021

Add to Goodreads | (Available on KU)

You know what’s guaranteed to send your heart into your throat? Opening the front door of your off-campus house to find the boy you had a crush on all through high school telling you he’s the new subletter.

Of course, he barely knew I existed back then, and still doesn’t even though we attend the same university. But in a house of six college kids, it should be easy to remain invisible while carrying a torch for him. After all, I’m skilled at being overlooked and playing second fiddle.

Except Austin Van Hewitt, my hometown’s golden boy, doesn’t get the memo. After we throw our first party of the year, I’m on his radar and somehow my lips miraculously end up on his. The budding romance is one I’ve always dreamt about. As he shows more and more interest, I push aside the plaguing insecurity of never being good enough.

But then a letter shows up in our mailbox. A time capsule I wrote to myself when I was fifteen. You know, the kind where a teacher sends it to you years later? Guess who opens it by mistake and reads all about how I plan on marrying him and having his babies one day? Did I mention I signed it using his last name?

Mortifying would be an understatement. After he starts pulling away, I’m once again the girl in the background hoping that someone will understand me enough to pay me all of their attention.

The old me, the one conditioned to settle for what she’s given, would back down. This time, though, if I want everything I almost held in my hands, I’ll have to speak up. I’ll have to admit exactly how I feel, fight for the love that was blossoming. And I’m not sure what’s scarier; voicing my inner thoughts or facing his ultimate rejection.

I love that Carrie Aarons can write a wide variety of characters ranging from college students to single parents and sexy professional baseball players and keep you hooked from the first page. While not my favourite book of hers, taking a break from more adult romances to read a new adult one was definitely an interesting turn.

Taya and Austin went to high school together, where Taya spent most of her life pining over Austin and loving him from a distance. Being older and popular, Austin didn’t know Taya that well or even acknowledge her existence, because he had his own life. And then when they finish out their respective years, they both end up at the same college. Taya and her best friends share a gorgeous house where their lives are pretty great, but when one of their roommates goes off to join a reality show, his room becomes vacant and it’s sublet to none other than the boy she’s been in love with her whole life. Things are dicey at first, Taya’s feelings are confusing and she doesn’t know how to behave around Austin, but when a letter she wrote for the time capsule in high school gets delivered to the house and Austin opens it up, things start to change. After all, the letter holds Taya’s biggest secret and one that Austin wasn’t expecting.

This was a quick and fun read, with quirky characters and a great college setting. I liked the female friendship and how supportive all of them are of each other, how they step in when a relationship is going bad, how they lean on each other through all the situations in their lives. I really enjoyed watching that dynamic develop into something more. I’m truly a big fan of strong female friendships in romances and this one delivered it nicely. I was also so captivated by the side drama between some of the characters, and I loved that it didn’t take away from the main storyline.

While Taya and Austin are cute and steamy together, their relationship felt too rushed to me. Taya’s been pining over this guy her whole life, and now that Austin has seen the grown up version and read her letter, he suddenly falls for her too? While their relationship didn’t work for me, their chemistry was definitely something that set the pages on fire. They are drawn to each other in a very physical sense and that just makes everything else explode around them. I absolutely loved watching that unravel and how things fell into place together.

These characters were very interesting and they hold your focus throughout the book – their dramas, their tragedies and their pain all come across nicely. And it’s not just Taya and Austin that you fall for, you’re drawn into the lives of all their friends and you find yourself invested in what they have to offer too.

Thanks to Carrie Aarons & Grey’s Promotions for an ARC. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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