Note: This ARC was provided by Carina Press in exchange for an honest review.
One of my favorite debut releases this year was from author Jen Doyle. Calling It was fresh and fun, so the bar was set high for the second in this series by the same name, and Called Up didn't just reach that bar but surpassed it. With a story that brings together two well-loved tropes--friends to lovers and falling for your best friend's sibling--in a truly seamless way, combining the sweet with the sexy and just enough drama and angst to keep things interesting. Max Deacon and Angelica Wade Hawkins, better known as Deke and Fitz, wade their way through personal issues, small town gossip and perceived prejudice, as well as group dynamics involving their respective sets of siblings and their intimate circle of friends. Fitz doesn't believe love can last and doesn't bother with it, but Deke intends to prove what they share can last.
Max Deacon loves his hometown of Inspiration, Iowa and would never choose to be anywhere else. He's part of the iconic group called The Dream, composed of his four best friends and himself, and he's happy tending their family-owned bar. However, for the past six months, something's changed. He isn't slipping into bed with his regular hook-ups nor is he looking for anyone new to spend a meaningless evening with. He's now found himself quietly distracted by none other than his only female best friend, who also happens to be his best friend's younger sister, Angelica Hawkins. Almost everyone calls her Fitz and he may have nicknamed her Angel, but what she's become is a temptation that's become increasingly difficult for Deke to resist. One kiss is all it takes for Deke to want more, but will Fitz ever be able to give him that?
Angelica Wade Hawkins has lived in Inspiration for more than half her life, but there are times that she still feels like an outsider. There are those who have never forgotten the scandal involving Fitz's father and the family he left behind and the family he created with her mother and herself. But Fitz has survived, even proudly continuing to use the nickname that started off as a taunt and a reminder her family history. She's found solace in the company of her brother Nate's band of best friends. She's closest to Deke and they've always had a comfortable friendship, but things are changing. When they share a kiss that blows all past kisses out of the water, Fitz is wary of crossing a line that they'll never be able to come back from. She doesn't want to lose her best friend, but it appears that she's already beginning to lose her heart to him...
I adored Deke and Fitz's love story, one that was both simple and complicated. They fit each other so well, but their romance surprised even them, neither one expecting to ever be attracted to one another, not counting a teenage crush Fitz harbored and was used against her by bullies. They have a special bond, one that they didn't recognize was already extraordinary compared to Fitz's other friendships with the other guys who were part of The Dream. I think my favorite thing about this story was that it was Fitz as the heroine who was far more hesitant than Deke, since it's often the other way around. Jen Doyle's storytelling continues to impress, creating a tale of love, family, and friendship and how faith in those three and in each other may be the one thing that makes you hold on and believe. Called Up gets five stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Calling It series:
Calling It (book one) - 4.5 stars - My Review
Called Up (book two) - five stars - My Review (posted above)
Date Read: 09 September 2016
Learn more about Jen Doyle.
Purchase Called Up on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.