Review: Trick or Treat & On the Rebound by L.A. Cotton (Steinbeck U #0.5-#1)


Note: An advanced reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author via Candi Kane PR.

Oh my word... This story! Gah! I'm having difficulty coming up with the right words to aptly explain what I was thinking and how I was feeling while reading the prequel novella and first full-length novel in L.A. Cotton's Steinbeck U series. Trick or Treat introduces readers to Zachary Messiah and Calliope James, while On the Rebound picks up their story once Calli is enrolled in Steinbeck University, the same school that her estranged older brother, Callum, and former best friend and first love, Zach, both attend.

A word of advice: Read Trick or Treat before reading On the Rebound. The prequel lays the foundation for what comes next for the main characters, and I honestly feel that reading it benefited me in terms of having enough of an understanding as to an important part of the Calli and Zach's history as a couple. The prequel is free on e-retailers, so not only does it serve as a precursor to the full-length novel, if you're new to L.A. Cotton's writing, this gives you a preview so you can decide if you want to read more.

Going to Steinbeck University was a way for eighteen-year-old Calliope James to honor her late mother's last wishes. She knew it would mean being at the same school as her brother, Callum--the same brother she barely has a relationship with after he and their father abandoned her and their mother. What Calli didn't expect was to cross paths with the boy who broke her heart three years ago, then shattered it this past Halloween. Zachary Messiah hates her, and soon, she hates him too, but the line between love and hate is a thin one, and Calli and Zach may not be able to stop themselves from crossing it.

Trick or Treat had me buckling up for Calli and Zach's story, and On the Rebound had me on a roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions as I bore witness to everything these two went and put each other through, though more Zach than Calli on the latter. This had angst and then some, and naturally, I was all for it. My heart went out to Calli for all the heartache she endure in her eighteen years, but I loved seeing her character mature and find the strength and conviction to speak up for herself. As for Zach, well, I may have wanted to smack him upside the head a time or ten (same with Callum), but he truly did redeem himself. I'm going to need more from the Steinbeck U series and soon! Five stars.

Date Read: 16 December 2020

Learn more about L.A. Cotton.

Purchase On the Rebound on Amazon | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo.

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