Zoey and the Nice Guy is the first book in the Big Girl Panties series by Carter Ashby. This first book focuses on Zoey Odell and Kellen Bradley, two opposites who everyone says should stay as far apart from each other as they can. Zoey can't stand Kellen for the strangest of reasons--he's too nice of a guy--while Kellen is drawn to Zoey like a fly to a spider's web. What ensues is a series of awkwardly humorous moments between the two while dealing with the angst-filled family drama they find themselves in.
Zoey Odell has always been independent and she makes no apologies for speaking her mind, no matter how hurtful the words that come out of her mouth like verbal diarrhea. She has a bad tendency of not doing too much thinking before saying and doing what she wants, when she wants simply because she thinks she can and because there aren't too many willing to call her on her bad behavior and her BS. The one thing you can't fault her for is her love and loyalty to her best friends, Maya and Addy.
Kellen Bradley is the epitome of the all-around nice guy. He's a perfect gentleman to his dates and to all members of the opposite sex. He's a good soon and great friend and you can count on him for almost anything. Unfortunately, he's beginning to wonder if there's such a thing as being too nice since it hasn't really gotten him any farther in his search for a girl to be with and it blinded him to the harsh reality that his brother is an abusive jerk who physically hurts his wife Maya and their children.
When Maya Bradley decides to leave her husband Damon after too many years of abuse, her best friend Zoey takes her and her children in. Kellen is there to offer his sister-in-law, niece, and nephew all the support they need and is devastated that he had no idea they were suffering at the hands of his own brother. Zoey doesn't like having Kellen around and pushes him simply because she thinks he's too nice to retaliate...until he finally speaks up and gets Zoey's attention in a way she never expected.
Okay, I'm going to go ahead and say it--I didn't really like Zoey very much. It felt more like a love-hate thing I had with regards to my feelings for this female lead character. Yes, I liked that she spoke her mind and that she was protective of those she cared about the most. But, goodness, there was just filter and, more often than not, she was a jerk, even to those she was closest to. Her dysfunctional relationship with her mother made very little sense to me, though she obviously had no parent to look up to as a child.
Kellen was a great male lead character and I was glad when he finally grew a pair and spoke up when he needed to. Still, there were moments that he would just laugh off Zoey's bullying and rude behavior and that simply made him an enabler for longer than he should have allowed it. I felt he deserved to be with someone better but the guy was set on Zoey and maybe it was because they did balance each other out and when times were good, they were really good. It was when Zoey went all psycho that things would go nuts.
There were some moments in the book that had me smiling and laughing, especially the ones that seemed so absurdly uncomfortable. The issue regarding spousal abuse could have been tackled more, especially since it was obvious that Maya needed professional help. Of course, I'm going to assume that her issues will be tackled in the next book, which I'll be reading and reviewing next. All things considered, Zoey and the Nice Guy was a nice enough read and one I finished quickly that I'll give it 3.5 stars. ♥
Date read: 19 January 2015
Learn more about author Carter Ashby here.