by Courtney Milan
Series: Cyclone #1
Published by the Author (Self-Published) on November 18, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, New Adult
Source: Audible Romance Package
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.
To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.
But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.
I wanted to love Trade Me so much but it just did not work for me. 😖 The writing itself is fine, but I found the story boring and struggled to pay attention throughout the book.
Long story short: Blake is rich (son of a tech mogul), Tina is poor, they know each other from college, and agree to trade lives temporarily to see how the other half lives. Along the way, they learn some things and fall in love. Fin.
I didn’t care much about any of the characters, even when perilous things happen to some of them. There’s a big reveal toward the end that felt totally out of left field to me and I sort of shrugged it off as if to say, sure, why not.
There are moments of angst, which seem in line with a new adult book. However, a huge plot point is very much glossed over, as if it’s sort of an afterthought. View Spoiler »Blake’s eating disorder is mentioned a few times but never really dealt with properly, in my opinion. Therapy is offhandedly mentioned at the end, but I don’t think there’s enough realistic exploration of what caused the disorder to begin with—namely, his strained relationship with his dad, increasing pressure/obligations at Cyclone—and how these are the real root of his problems that are manifesting into disordered eating. « Hide Spoiler
Additionally, I had trouble with the premise that a tech billionaire—basically the hypothetical son of Steve Jobs—would ever be able to trade lives with a poor random, even temporarily. The idea that Tina is allowed access to Cyclone’s prototypes and beta testing made no sense, non-disclosure agreements notwithstanding. I just could not imagine a scenario where Blake’s dad would actually agree to all of this.
Lastly, I even found myself checking out mentally during the sex scenes, which is really saying something because I can usually stay tuned in for those, even with books I don’t like 😝 But not in this case.
Bottom line, I had super high expectations for this book due to all the raves I see for Milan’s work and this particular book specifically. As I said, the writing is fine, but I wanted to be blown away by the story and was not. Instead, I was bored throughout and unfortunately don’t plan on reading the next book in the series.
Rating: 2 stars