I’m not entirely sure how to start out this review. Unsticky by Sarra Manning was really, really great, but not for the reasons that I anticipated.
Money makes the world go round – that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart… So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm candy? Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash. Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money?
And, more importantly: whatever happened to love?
Manning’s story about a lost, young girl colliding with the world of a rich, older man is an overused trope, but this story was so intriguing and cryptic that it worked. Grace was an unbelievably realistic heroine. She had her faults (falling for the wrong guys) was immature and misled but she still had a sense of self and possessed a conscience. She reacted to Vaughn’s proposal just like anyone else would and she ultimately relented for very logical reasons (which most could probably admit they would do too). I loved that about her. Vaughn was such an intriguing male lead. He wasn’t exactly an alpha male but he had the damaged thing going for him. He was pushy and expectant but had a softer side that came out rarely. As Grace and Vaughn’s relationship (or lack thereof) develops, it was easy to see how they were perfect for each other and how Grace could fall for the asshole older guy.
The best part of this book was the pace of the writing and slow plot development. I was on the edge of my seat but it was like watching an explosion in veeeerrry slooooww motion. This book is huge, over 500 pages, and I was initially concerned at the length but it was perfect. The one distraction was the use of British terminology; I’m an American and it took me a while to adjust to the vocabulary. However, I got used to it by the end.
The book stayed true to its characters to the very end. I kept waiting (and secretly hoping) that there would be this dramatic I’m-in-love-with-you moment and there wasn’t because it didn’t fit the characters personality. (Granted, that’s not to say there isn’t something similar that happens.) As I finished the novel, I was initially disappointed, but the more I thought about it, it was perfect — genius, even.
To be honest, I’m still mulling over this story in my head. I enjoyed it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters when I wasn’t reading and I was so intrigued by how realistic it was. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a contemporary romance with ups and downs but stays in touch with reality.
STARS: 4.5 out of 5