Cover Image: The Bounce Back

The Bounce Back

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Member Reviews

Thanks Netgalley for a arc copy of this book for a honest review.. 

I was disappointed I thought I thought i was going to read a rom com that's what it was marked as and it was not  

The Bounce Back is a women's fiction. The story was just okay  I'm giving it 3 stars 🌟🌟🌟

Happy Reading 📚

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All of Neale's family seem to be successful in what they, but she is failing at her art and is then dumped.
She ends up taking a regular job at a greetings card company where she meets Anthony - she didn't expect to like either but she does.
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Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the ARC.

Aspiring artist Neale Delacroix should be on top of the world. She’s landed a spot in an exclusive art program that’s sure to be her ticket to success, but then her best shot at stardom goes up in flames—literally. When her relationship follows suit, Neale finds herself a stone’s throw from rock bottom.
Convinced that she breaks everything she touches, Neale’s sworn off art and men. Yet her creative spirit still beckons, and she can’t get Anthony out of her head. She’s caught in that familiar space between daydreams and responsibilities, desperate to find a new way forward

A delightful & Uplifting romcom that I thoroughly enjoyed.
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Although this is being marketed as a rom-com, it is definitely not. It’s just straight-up Fiction, possibly Women’s Fiction. Once you get over that misinformation, you can enjoy the book for what it is. The story is told from Neale’s point of view and focuses on her growth from someone who is kind of failing in a career as an artist and living with her parents, to someone who has a job and is willing to be more brave and open with her art and with her life.

I found this book tough to get through because Neale reads like a teenager. I get the sense that that’s what the author intended, but it didn’t work for me. I also never got the sense that she was all that into the idea of being an artist and for half the book I was expecting her to realize that she was only on that path because of her parents and sister. I found the second half of the book more satisfying because she began to “grow up” but even then it felt like a lot of telling and very little showing. 

Probably the most frustrating thing was that she starts her first “real” job, at the age of 28, and she somehow manages to completely revolutionize the company after having worked there for one month and not having any prior experience in the sector or in any business environment. It was weird to have the book start off by saying she’s not very competent only to turn around and have her be more competent than those around her (who have been successfully doing these jobs for years) without any actual on-page growth occurring. It made it hard for me to connect with her.

The very big pro for this story is that it is incredibly inclusive in terms of race, gender identity, and sexuality, which is so refreshing and lovely to read. The second half also picked up in terms of pacing which made it a breeze to finish.
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Let me start off by saying that I was not all in on THE CHECKLIST - the first book in this series by Addie Woolridge. I didn't connect with Dylan as a character and I wished there had been a bigger deep dive into WHY she is the way she is.

Now, let me say that is the OPPOSITE of how I feel about Neale & THE BOUNCE BACK. I absolutely loved Neale as a character & the MANY insights we got into her mind. We saw her inner turmoil as she tried to figure out what her passion is & why everything she had tried in the past just wasn't working out. And, as I write that, I wonder if maybe I loved Neale & reading her story (as well as her blossoming connection with Anthony) because I relate to her in a way. 

Finding your passion is hard.

Finding your path is even harder. 

After literally crashing & burning at an art show, Neale decides that she has GIVEN up on art & is going to find a real job in the real world. She's going to do what everyone keeps telling her to do & move out of her parents house and try to support herself. She finds a job kind of - oddly - in a peripheral field to performing arts at a greeting card company who seems to work as a middle man for other companies who need music for their cards. There she starts to find a place among her coworkers & immediately develops a connection with the on-staff artist, Anthony. 

The slow burn (pun intended) of Neale & Anthony was satisfying in a complete way. A lot of romance books really rely on avoiding the fade to black scenes when the heat is turned on, but I appreciated that Woolridge allowed you to see the foreplay and then shut the curtains. It left Neale & Anthony a little bit more innocent (even if what they were doing was far from). 

In summary, I love Neale & I would read another book all about her self-discovery and watching her commit to challenge after challenge. 

10/10 would recommend.

Favorite quotes:
- "...especially since she had been invited to the workout and declined because only monsters chose spin over sleep."
- "You don't want the pain that comes with pursuing what you love, so you only put half of yourself into something That way, if you fail, you can walk away and say you never really tried. You are half-in, half-out."
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Thank you NetGalley and Montlake Publishers for the chance to read and review this book. 

Almost all of Neale’s close family members are artists apart from her older sister. 

Neale is putting on performance art using fire one evening but the audience is not getting her and then her coat catches alight. 

She is asked to leave the art Collective and the whole episode is recorded and goes viral. Then her boyfriend breaks up with her and her parents ask her to grow up and leave home. 

She finds an office job working at a card company, and meets kind and thoughtful co-worker Anthony, who also happens to have a hot body and great looks. 

This is a cute story about being honest with your loved ones and putting effort into the things that are important to you. There is a lot of finding-yourself-angst though that ran on a bit longer than was maybe necessary.
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Public humiliation and disaster strikes Neale Delacroix as she accidentally sets fire to herself during her multimedia performance in an art show. The sprinklers ruin the other artists' work. She gets exiled from the artist group in front of her family. And if that isn't bad enough, the video of her performance goes viral. Her parents are desperate for her to gain some independence, and she is ready to become the New Neale that doesn't make bad decisions, works a regular day job, and most importantly can stand on her own two feet. 

I have not read The Checklist, which follows Neale's sister Dylan, so I do not know how Neale was portrayed as a side character in other books. I cannot say I particularly enjoyed her as a main character. 

The writing itself is good. It is an easy read with a good pace. It's lighthearted and full of humour. I think the reason I feel so dissatisfied is the character development arc of Neale. 

The growth of Neale seems a bit stunted. Without giving too much away, the entire plot is based on her family and friends believing she is incapable of fully committing to her art, hard work, and relationships. By the end of the book, I still wasn't convinced she had grown all that much. It is hard to provide reasons why without giving spoilers so I'm afraid I will have to leave that comment there.

I liked Anthony, her love interest and coworker, he seemed like such a no-nonsense character in the sense that he didn't play games with Neale; he was always pretty clear with his intentions. I hated how she messed him around so much but realise it was so they could have their romantic climactic moment. I suppose it was hard for me to see why he stuck around when she didn't treat him all that well. Saying that, I found their interactions funny and enjoyed them as a couple, I simply liked Anthony more than I liked Neale. 

Also, I feel strongly that there should have been a better karmic moment for Darin and Jenna for being less-than decent people.

What I will say for the author is wow, Woolridge is inclusive. This was the first book I have read where there are non-binary characters (Morrigan and Callen), which was honestly a joy to behold. There was a sapphic roommate, and Neale and Anthony, the heroine and hero of the novel, were black. Genuinely the most inclusive novel I have read so far.
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Super cute! It was nice to read a romance for once that wasn’t filled with overt angst and a controlling alpha make. Sometimes sweet guys are just really sexy!
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* aspiring artist
* f/m coworkers romance 
* black heroine x black hero
* Asian side character
* non binary side character
* sapphic side character

Neale is a twenty eight years old artist. After burning down her and her friends show, she was not only compared to her successful family but also told that her carrier is over. Not wanting to disappoint her parents, who find her irresponsible and dependent on them, Neale finds a job and moves into her boyfriend's house. Well, expect she's not, because her boyfriend broke up with her and she lied about the job. The only solution is to find a new place to live, find a job (a real one this time), and give up men altogether. 

So, this is how Neale ends up with weird roommate, boring nine-to-five job and cute coworker. She tries to fits into real, adult world. 

At first, I thought it would be JUST a rom com but it's so much more than that. Even though, the romance is a part of this story, this book is about 
a journey of self-discovery and getting out of a comfort zone. Neale is a messy and chaotic character. Wherever she moves there is a fire (sometimes literally). 

I think Sarah's and Neale's "conflict" was unnecessary. I don't like when women are presented as mean just to make other women feel insecure. Especially if it was never mentioned ever again. 

On the one hand, I didn't like how Neale treated Anthony. He was the most considerate man and I wish she wouldn't deceive him. I understand she wasn't in the right place but she kept changing her mind about their relationship, and no wonder it could have confused him. But, on the other hand, it has so much to do with her character development. It was amazing to see her fighting for her dreams, pride, herself and relationship. 

Thank you NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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This was a follow-up or deep dive on one of the minor characters in The Checklist.   The Checklist was a great book. I found the characters in that book enjoyable.  However, the characters in The Bounce Back were less enjoyable.  I loved Dylan in The Checklist.  However in this book, she was a busybody.  The main character, Dylan, was okay. Nothing was developed as far as why she acted the way she did. Was she changed at the end of the story or was she just doing what was easier since she didn’t like her job? What was Billie’s real reason for coming back to town?  The sisters seemed to look down on Billie.  Overall, the book was good. I’m hoping the next book about Billie returning to town dives deep into why she returned to town.  I feel their could be a great story full of detail  and more information about how she grew closer to Dylan as an adult since she was closer to Billie growing up.  Thanks for the ARC.
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This was a very cute romcom- type book. I would say it is pretty typical of a romcom book with free surprises - but isn’t that what we love about them? I loved Neale and Anthony and appreciate the character development that occurs. This is a great summer read for 2021!
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