Part One—Before: You Know I Can’t Smile Without You

We’re finally here—Perfect Fifths! It’s been three and a half years since we last saw our girl, and it’s been that long since she and Marcus have seen each other. Jessica is late late late for her flight the Virgin Islands, where she’s supposed to officiate Percy and Bridget’s wedding. Marcus and Natty are just getting back from a volunteer trip to New Orleans. And then—BAM—Jessica and Marcus collide. One of my favorite parts about this novel is that we finally get Marcus’s perspective. And he’s still got it bad for Jess.

Thank goodness for Young Natty and his unlikely friendship with Marcus. Marcus hasn’t really had any actual friends before this point. He was friends with Heath, but they were too high and Heath died too soon. Later, Marcus had Len, but Marcus was never honest with Len, particularly with the Len/Jess matchmaking gambit. Natty may be an unrepentant douchebag (or just 22 and entitled), but he’s the perfect foil to a sadder but wiser Marcus. Natty makes it impossible for Marcus to take himself to seriously.

My recommendation is based entirely on the fact that Len wrote a hit song about Jessica and Marcus. In Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, Audrey breaks up with her boyfriend Evan, because he’s a self involved jerk and she doesn’t look back as he screams, “Audrey, wait!” Then Evan writes a song about the break up, performs it with his band the same night, and the song becomes a huge hit. Being infamous makes Audrey’s life pretty complicated.

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