Last Will and Testament - Review
*I received the Audio-Arc from OrangeSky Audio via Net Galley. All reviews are my own.*
What was college life like for you? I feel like I missed my chance with the real college experience. Going back to school in your late twenties with a whole bunch of fresh new adults was … different. But I can't complain because my woes had nothing on Lizzie Brandt! I had a chance to check out Dahlia Adler's 2014 novel, Last Will and Testament, which is now in audio!
"Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.
But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.
Until he does.
Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.
Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left."
I'm going to be honest; I probably wouldn't have picked this book up on its own. We already know romance isn't my most predominant genre to read, and well, the story was okay. But what made me dive into the audio was the narrator's ability to make it sound natural. I hope Samantha Summers has a long career in voice acting because she was terrific! She made me a fan, and I'll be looking for more of her work in the future. But enough of me gushing, let's get into the story.
Lizzie Brandt is a typical college student, living her best life until she gets news that her parents died in a tragic accident. Now she's a college student, fostering her two little brothers while trying to maintain her scholarship. On top of that, she starts to fall for her lackluster history TA, Connor Lawson, in a classic forbidden student-teacher relationship troupe.
First, let me say Brandt has a steel stomach throughout the entire novel. I don't know how many people would function as Brandt did after finding out she damn near lost everything. I appreciate her character development throughout the story because it shows that she tried her hardest while still slipping into the role of a teenager. She did a complete 180 on her life to ensure that her brothers were good, and I didn't expect her to stick with her resolve. As far as the romance portion with her assistant teacher goes, for me, it was touch and go. One minute they're hot and ready. The next minute it's a cold blizzard. Mixed signals were a massive play in this story. It probably hurt that the guy reminded me of Ben Stein in a "Clear Eyes" commercial.
I don't have much to say about the story. It rounded itself out beautifully. But there were two arcs I wanted more depth in: Connor's backstory and the final touches of the showdown between Brandt and her nemesis. I think we got the complete read on Brandt and her life, but they only mentioned Connor's life sparsely. Besides the obvious teacher/student relationship issue, I wanted to see the guy sweat a little in his personal life as well. They mentioned small moments about his family dynamic here and there, but it was so minor it's like the author didn't mention anything at all.
I also wanted to see how that arc ended with the beef between Brandt and whatever that girl's name is. After the shit hit the fan, we never got to see the ending reaction. You can't have a revenge plot and not have everyone's response to it!
Overall I rated this book 4-stars. Summers made this story come alive. I never sampled audio that made me immediately download right after. I enjoyed my time listening to the life of Lizzie Brandt, and I think you will too.
Last Will and Testament audio is available February 8, 2022