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Publisher's Summary

From the USA Today best-selling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women - under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Dazzle (n): Brightness that blinds someone temporarily. 

Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus - but we aren’t picky. 

An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears. 

Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parlonis' beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious - and that’s what she does best. Until, one day, someone dazzling blows in to town. 

Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages - right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie - but only if he works there and starts to grow up. 

Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep - and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant....

©2020 Sally Thorne (P)2020 HarperAudio

Editor's Pick

Cute-couple overload
Who would have thought that a retirement home, an endangered tortoise rescue program, a tattooed boy, and a cardigan-wearing girl would make such a delightfully romantic combination? The writer of The Hating Game returns with her third novel, this time about the quirkiest couple you’ll ever met. We have Ruthie Midona, a 25-year-old retirement home manager who loves her job and wants nothing to change. And then we have loose cannon Teddy Prescott, who could not be more opposite from Ruthie: flamboyant, nomadic, covered in tattoos, and with absolutely no verbal filter. It’s a dynamic that sets the action going, driven by Jennifer Jill Araya’s bouncy, cheerful narration. I was slowly charmed by both Teddy’s messiness and Ruthie’s tidiness, and touched by the way they supported each other. Plus, the surrounding cast is so lovable. Shout-out to my girl Melanie Sasaki and The Sasaki Method. You rock! —Melissa B., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Second First Impressions

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So Problematic and Disappointing

This book did not work for me for many reasons. But the biggest one is that it perpetuates the problematic, and dangerous, archetype of a creepy, overbearing, jealous, and possessive guy whose red-flag behavior is passed off as "sweet" and "romantic." Literally the first day he meets the main character, Ruthie, Teddy demands her phone number, and acts possessive and jealous when he thinks another man is interested in her--"thinks" being the operative word because there's no concrete proof of it. And throughout the book Teddy continues to undermine Ruthie's agency--he follows her into her apartment after she closes the door; he sits down on her couch and reads her magazines when she asks him to leave; he doesn't understand that no means no. And what's even more disappointing about this is that the author seems to find this endearing. Teddy's refusal to listen to Ruthie asking him to stop is "cute" because Ruthie doesn't REALLY want him to stop, she's just shy. And Teddy's intrusion on her freewill is passed off as him "really knowing her" and is therefore romantic.

This is exactly the kind of romance novel that I worry about women reading. I used to idolize characters like Teddy--the misunderstood bad boy who just needed a good girl to fix him. But when I fell for men like this in real life, their possessive behavior was anything but romantic. It was dangerous and abusive, and their lack of respect for my agency led me to doubt myself instead of revering how "well they knew me." This book also perpetuates the problematic stereotype that all it takes to "fix a guy" is meeting the right person. Teddy is a mess before he meets Ruthie, and then the second they meet he's magically better. And he tells her that SHE'S the reason he's better. This is another takeaway that, in reality, would form a toxic foundation for any relationship. If you fall for someone who tells you YOU'RE the reason he's better, it means he's not willing to put in the work to get better on his own. It also puts the onus on YOU to keep him "better," and it's likely that you will be blamed if / when your partner starts to backslide.

If you're reading this for fluffy escapism, it holds up. But PLEASE don't read this looking for a roadmap for romantic relationships. Take it from someone who knows how badly these men will treat you when you meet them in real life.

11 people found this helpful

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Just Not Good...

I eagerly awaited this book. I loved The Hating Game. This was a boring slog through a boring story with a boring narrator. Now that it’s over, can’t remember a single thing I liked about it. I am honestly baffled to find that anyone enjoyed this book. The story was predictable, the characters were barely likable, and the pace was so painfully and needlessly slow.

3 people found this helpful

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Sweet New Adult Mood

I had to submit my own review because the top review that shows up for Audible was written in a way that I wonder if we read the same book. Teddy wasn’t a controlling alpha male at all, he actually is more like a teddy bear who is charming and humble enough to let two 90 year old ladies make him do strange menial tasks. He earned their affection with his cheerful attitude. He asked Ruthie for her number simply because he was drawn to her, not because he was stalking her. From reading Ruthie’s POV you can tell wasn’t scared of him at all, just shy because he was so good looking and charming.

My second first impression of this book is that it’s a new adult book. If you read it as such then you’ll have the proper expectations. As a pastor’s daughter, Ruthie has little life experience but she is shaped by her father’s neglect. Teddy is trying to get his act together, and he was also shaped by his parents’ neglect. They ended being safe spaces for each other. As a romance it’s sweet, the more Teddy knows her the more he admires her exactly the way. He expressed his interest but wasn’t confident that he could be what she needed. I could relate to Ruthie as a former churchy girl, it was lovely to see Ruthie blossom. The secondary characters like Melanie, Renata and Agatha are a riot and help the main characters grow. The pacing was a bit slow in the middle and I wished she had proper on the page closure with some characters who had mistreated her, but if you’re reading as a romance this should hit the spot. I consumed this through audible and I don’t think the narrator is a good fit, perhaps the comedic timing needed help as narrated. A little disappointed because I had pre-ordered this audible 2 years ago and patiently waited through several rescheduled releases. It was funnier when I read the book directly in my kindle.

2 people found this helpful

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So sweet

I loved this book. It’s not the most original story line but it’s a sweet one. Ruthie is shy and conservative and Teddy is confident and out going. I was sad when the story was over.

2 people found this helpful

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Like curling up on a warm blanket on a cold day.

Sally Thorne writes the quirkiest characters and her stories are so complex with such depth. In this story I grew to love all of the main characters, even if they didn't really seem likable in the beginning. If you don't fall in love with Teddy, I wonder if you have a beating heart. I had such empathy for Teddy and Ruthie. I could relate to their fears and longings. And I loved the endangered tortoise storyline. When it was completed, I was sad it was over but had that contented, wonderful feeling one gets after finishing a really good book. I will definitely listen to this book again and again. I liked so much I purchased an actual book too. I only do this with my favorite books.

2 people found this helpful

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Inches Along Like a Golden Bonnet Tortoise

I’m a huge fan of The Hating Game and I enjoyed Sally Thorne’s second book as well. This one was good in many ways: her supporting cast are amazing and I love the h & H. But in some ways the story inches along like the Golden Bonnet Tortoise. Maybe because of Sally’s first person style it feels like excruciatingly slow character growth in Ruthie. She goes around and around the same perspective over and over. When I glanced at my phone and saw that I was 3/4 of the way through the story with little to no movement in the love story I was like, “well, guess it’s gonna be a big finish”. And the last chapter was great! Epilogue, so-so. I like a slam bang finish when I endure an uphill climb.
On a personal note, as a very churchy girl myself it does make me sad that the book addresses virtually every wound the heroine received in style except the loss of faith in God. Ruthie somehow equates people, especially her pastor father with God Himself, so when dad lets her down she basically gives up on God and that didn’t sit too well with me. I guess that’s what she’s going to therapy for (no shame in that, I had clinical depression for 4 years and still struggle with anxiety) but the whole God thing could’ve been left out without really altering the story too much. I didn’t dock any stars for it but it kind of left me meh.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it from start to finish!

I can't stress enough how good this story is and how deep the message in the story gets under your skin and just makes you keep listening. It is extremely engulfing, very well paced and laid out, the chemistry build-up is outstanding and the character development on each and every single one just elevated the story making it seem real and authentic. The narration is spectacular! It is performed with a lever of precision and gusto that you don't see in many audios where the cast is basically 10 characters and the narrator manages to give each one depth, personality, charm and a unique sense of identity. A top audio for me this year so far. All the love and all the stars!

1 person found this helpful

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A M A Z I N G BOOK!!!!

I soooooooo loved this story. At the beginning I was a little skeptical, BUT THEN..... it hooked me!!!! I love the way this author writes. I could “feel” and imagine every feeling and touch in this book. I found myself listening for hours because I wanted to know what was next. This is an amazing story about real people!! Highly recommend!!! I finished it in 3 days...... now what!!??

1 person found this helpful

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Really cute story!

I loved this book, related pretty hard in some ways to the heroine. This story seems familiar: restrained and repressed girl meets goofball guy who pulls her out into the great wide world. But Sally Thorne’s writing makes this book. I love how the heroine goes into the JD (from scrubs)-like trances where she goes off into her imagination and it’s so vivid and clear yet momentary and doesn’t take you out of the story but pulls you into it. Teddy was so darn cute, I wanted to hug him even though I kinda hated him and his easy charm at first. He’s so bashful about himself and his talents that you can’t help falling for him. The tortoise backdrop was darling and the nursing home setting was perfect (as was Aggie and Renata’s side story). It made me tear up and laugh and then just sigh in happiness. Lovely story! 👏 👏 👏

1 person found this helpful

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Still a fan, but not of this

I got this based on my love of both The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine, but was really disappointed.

The dialogue is weird with “hip” sayings that no one says. The euphemisms are cringe. The conflict is contrived. There was something about the first-person, present-tense that made everything I didn’t like 100 times worse for some reason.

There were some characterizations that were ok, but after the magic of her other two books, this one was a huge let down. Also, based on descriptions and behaviors, I am only 50% sure the author has met an actual tattooed person in real life, and 0% sure she’s ever met a tattoo artist.

Hopefully this was a one-time miss from an otherwise good author.

1 person found this helpful