Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid
Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City)
There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she's unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.
I really want to like this book. I wanted to love it as much as Neanderthal Seeks Human (which I loved). I loved Janie and Quinn and everything about NSH. It was amazing. Elizabeth was in it and well I thought she seemed like a great friend to Janie and I was excited to read her story. I knew she thought that people only get one love in a life, and since hers died when they were teenagers she would never be in love again. I was curious to see how this would play out and how she changes her mind. Well I started reading and....I hated Elizabeth. Hated her so much I wasn't sure if I could finish the book. She was...man I hated her. I couldn't stand her at all for at least half of the book. She was immature and whiny and so annoying! It started and I thought oh she slept with Nico then he left her and she was heartbroken...oh wait she left him and never spoke to him again? Interesting let's see how this plays out. Well it plays out that she just is so poor me I am a horrible person because of the way I am and I wish I were a better person so I could be with Nico since he thinks he loves me. Poor me. My life is so hard. Okay well do something about it! Don't like how you are? Try and change it. It might not be easy, it might take time, but if you really want to change then for the love of all things try and change! Don't just whiny and complain and be all wah poor me. I hate that. I can't stand that kind of attitude. So I was really sad because I really wanted to love this book right from the start. I loved the first book, I loved Janie so much I wish we were bff, but Elizabeth...there is no way I could be actual friends with her without going off on her. It just wouldn't work. So sad, but the way it is.
Now about 45% of the way through she started to get not so stupid and annoying and I started to slightly like her a little more. Then she decided to set up some time to sleep with Dr. Ken Miles even though she really wants Nico and I just wanted to bang my head against the wall. She kept making me want to just shake her and say what is wrong with you?!?! Seriously she frustrated me to no end. Finally by the end she worked things out and I was happy with how everything ended up, but man. It started off pretty rough. Though I am still a little disappointed since I loved the first book so much.
I think one of the reasons why I hated Elizabeth so much was that she wasn't messed up enough (if that makes sense). Like we were told all of this bad stuff had happened to her, like her mom dying and her boyfriend in high school and what not, but she didn't really seem like she was really messed up by it. Like if she were worse, if she were really self destructive and horrible I would actually like her more. Then at least I could understand why she was so annoying. Really then I wouldn't find her as annoying because I would understand the reasoning. But she was just kind of in the middle, not really messed up enough, and not really perfectly fine either. I didn't really get why she thought she was a horrible person. She just kept saying she was, but I didn't get it.
Elizabeth did get better as the book progressed. She did start to grow on me more, but I never really loved her. By the end I was happy,
Nico was also just okay. I didn't fall in love with him like I did with Quinn. I didn't connect with him that much. I didn't hate him or anything, but he was just okay. He kept telling Elizabeth how much he cared about her, and they definitely had chemistry and it was hot, but I don't know. He just didn't do it for me. Oh and there is a chapter where there are two different versions of the same scene, one closed door one open door. Well leading up I was just like reading quickly to see what would happen and I was so into it then like a splash of cold water I was taken out of the story to get an explanation of how there will be two versions of the following scene blah blah blah. I wish the closed door version would have just been there, then after all the hot and heavy and explanation of here is another version if you want more. Then it wouldn't have pulled me out of the moment so much. Just switching the point where it is explained would have been great.
This book still had a lot of great references to geeky things and fun conversations about the merits of boy bands and such which I did enjoy. Elizabeth did get better as the book progressed. She did start to grow on me more, but I never really loved her. By the end I was happy, but it is hard for me to get over the first half super annoyances. I don't know that this is a book I will go back and re-read, not like Neanderthal Seeks Human (which really is one of my favorite romances). Oh well, you can't like all characters in all books. I just wish I loved this book more as I love Penny Reid and think she is pretty hilarious. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I am still and eagerly awaiting the next book though, even though it will be a while.
Rating: ★ ★1/2