As some of you may know, I’m a pretty big Jill Shalvis fan. Her publisher decided to rerelease this book that was no longer on the shelves for readers to have and devour. Of course when I learned it was about a firefighter, I jumped at it like a rabid dog.
SEEING RED has all the sparks that makes Shalvis’s writing shine, but for me it lacked that finishing touch that I think years of experience with writing can bring to a book. This is one of Shalvis’s earlier works and you can definitely see her talents there on the page. But I don’t think it’s up to par with her latest works.
The book starts off with Joe and Summer together as best friends. Joe is a little on the chubby side and he often gets bullied because of that. Summer, on the other hand, is fresh as a daisy and many of the teenage boys are looking to pick her up. Unfortunately, those young memories leaves a bitter taste in Joe’s mouth and results in a tragic event that scars both of them in their adult lives.
As we fast forward years later, Joe has changed drastically and has made himself a fire marshal. But seeing Summer again only reminds him of his troubles with his weight as a younger kid. With that, more insecurities follow and the tension between them doesn’t necessarily equate to the sexual kind.
To be honest, I had a hard time liking Summer’s character. I found myself immediately becoming protective of Joe and felt that her returned presence wasn’t a good thing for him at first. She left him high and dry once and I feared that history would repeat itself even though Summer was trying so hard to fit in again in her older life. I don’t know what it was about Summer’s character that irked me so much. I just had a hard time accepting her at first. In a way, I don’t think I saw her as worthy to be with Joe, especially after she broke his heart as a kid.
So even though I didn’t really like Summer’s character and thought the writing wasn’t as polished as her newer works, I do think it’s worth the read. It’s a great little summer book that will tide you over for the next anxiously awaited Shalvis book!
*ARC provided by Netgalley