Book Review: Make It Count by Megan Erickson

Bowler University, #1
Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.

The story starts out simply enough. Kat Caruso needs to pass her statistics class if she wants to avoid academic probation, but she can't seem to get a single tutor to stick around for very long. Nerdy yet handsome Alec Stone is her last chance...He also happens to be her current boyfriend's best friend and roommate. It shouldn't be hard to keep things platonic, right? She's in a relationship? Well, this is when things start to change for Kat...*insert suggestive eyebrow waggle here*

Alec is not only smart, but he's patient and attentive as well. He's truly interested in helping Kat raise her grade and pass her class. And as they spend more time together, their conversations become filled with funny, playful banter.
She held out her hand, little finger extended.
"Come on, don't be too cool to pinky swear."
"I'm twenty-one years old. I'm not going to pinky swear."
They're clearly physically attracted to each other, too...*dramatic pause*...So, I'll come right out and say it: I was excited to read this book, but the cheating potential/best friend-best friend's girlfriend triangle still made me worry a little bit. (I can get somewhat picky/overly critical about this particular subject.) At times, I didn't know if I wanted to giggle at their chemistry or protest it. I definitely squirmed and let out a few angsty squees!
Red flags flashed in front of his eyes but he decided at that moment to be color-blind.
"We crossed the line five minutes ago, didn't we?" he whispered.
"I think so, because I can't see it anymore," she whispered back.
I think, though, that it ultimately played out and was done in a way that didn't distract from the rest of the story or sink it altogether. Author Megan Erickson let me feel the thrill of lusting after someone you shouldn't want, but she also made me feel the guilt and the turmoil.
Alec's movements stopped behind her and then his lips returned to her ear, and he whispered in a low, raspy voice, "Kat, we need to stop."
These are characters that just hit their twenties and are still figuring life out. If there's one thing I've learned about New Adult, it's that this phase is rarely easy and always has the potential to get a little (or a lot) messy. It's how these people grow and learn that matters. That is the part that I always love to see, and I definitely got it with Make It Count.

Kat's breakthrough stood out the most. Beyond boyfriend struggles, this girl had struggled in school her whole life, but never understood why it was difficult for her. Why was she so different? Alec ended up being the catalyst that she needed in order to overcome her fears and insecurities. I loved following along as she tried to stand on her own two feet, to realize what she's been missing!
...she had to stay focused on forgiving herself. On seeing herself. On loving herself.
Alec had issues of his own to deal with, as well. Tragedy and betrayal were two things from his past that still affected him, and Alec was more open about them with Kat than he had been with anyone else. In a way, she was his catalyst. I was definitely rooting for Alec to find some peace and happiness.
He grasped her hand and brought it to rest on his chest, over his heart. "Don't you feel it? All that negative crap I'd been holding inside is gone because of you. And the good I'm filling it with? That's you."
Through the mishaps, I adored the support system of relationships that Kat and Alec each had along the way. Megan Erickson created such a unique, unconventional cast of characters. Flaws. Quirks. Every eccentricity made them so refreshing to read. I wanted to slap big, star-shaped I Appreciate You stickers on all of them! I enjoyed it the most when Kat and Alec went home to their respective families! Those were some truly heartwarming scenes, and I admired the family dynamic on both sides, especially Alec with his mom (*cue the Awww track*) and Kat with her older brother Marcelo (*heartmelt*).

This was a fun, yet touching, New Adult read. Make It Count had drama and heartbreak, made me laugh and silly-grin, and even had some hot, in-the-moment steamy scenes! Emotions ran high and all over the place, but the craziness was worth it in the end. Just how college should be! ;) I can't wait to know more about the other students at Bowler University! Max and Lea are up next, and that should be another fun trouble-storm! :)


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***ARC provided by author in exchange for honest review***