Advanced Physical Chemistry (Chemistry Lessons #3) - Susannah Nix
My Review - 5 Stars
I positively inhaled this story! Susannah Nix creates such relatable, interesting characters that I simply had to know what would happen to Penny and Caleb.
At the heart of Nix's novels are heroines who work in STEM fields. Penny is a patent examiner, who was good enough at her job to be allowed to work remotely in LA. After her fourth boyfriend cheats on her, Penny decides she needs to figure out why this keeps happening to her and I loved the self-reflection that occurred throughout the story.
She realizes she rearranges her life to suit men, even men she doesn't particularly care for, and that she needs to shut that behavior down. This empowers her to take chances, ask for what she needs, and reevaluate her life choices. There was some really great character growth as the story developed.
I liked that she's a plus-size character but her focus is on eating healthy and exercising. She's at a good weight for her body, even if it doesn't meet societal norms, and she's accepted this but still deals with lingering self-esteem issues. I thought this aspect was handled well.
"He looked like he should be followed around by a key light and a menagerie of cartoon animals." p. 26
Penny doesn't think she has a chance with Caleb, aka the Hottie Barista at her local coffee shop. I so understood this! Caleb is a more mysterious figure at first and getting to know him was like opening a good present that kept getting better. He was such a dream of a man. When Caleb kisses her out of nowhere, Penny has to rethink the way she views herself, as well as him. I think that's why I found their burgeoning relationship to be so delightful. Plus, that first kiss was swoon-worthy as hell.
Because there's a time limit on their fling and Penny's no longer making accommodations for men, there's potential for miscommunication and developing unrequited feelings. Sometimes this made me laugh and sometimes it made me wince or broke my heart but I was always, always with and for these characters. I especially loved seeing how Caleb felt about Penny and the ways they were good for one another. I just kept rooting for them to take a chance on one another and I loved how this ultimately played out.
I really wish Antidote was near where I live because I would frequent it all the time. I loved all the regular customers and the staff that worked there, as well as the off-menu drink Caleb only makes for Penny. I especially loved how George, this lovable curmudgeon, factored into bringing Penny and Caleb together. He was one of my favorite characters and I now wish to have a George in my life.
We also have to talk about how great Penny's friends are, especially her knitting group. I loved how they supported one another no matter what. I really appreciated the way Nix showed that it's possible for the friends to be happy for one another, while also being sad for themselves, depending on their circumstances. So true and so relatable.
This book made me so happy! The ending was completely satisfying and I can't wait to see what Nix writes next. The world needs more of her brand of smart romance.
After four lousy boyfriends in a row, chemical engineer Penny Popplestone swears off men until she can figure out why they keep cheating on her. But her no-men resolution hits a snag when the mysterious and superhumanly hot barista at her favorite coffee shop strikes up a friendship with her.
Penny strives to keep things platonic, but when Caleb gives her the kiss of her life, she realizes he wants to be more than just friends. Tired of always being “good little Penny,” she throws caution to the wind and pursues a no-strings fling with the hottie barista. It’s not like they have anything in common beyond scorching physical chemistry, so what does she have to lose?
Only her heart.
Now, this fanfic-reading, plus-size heroine faces an unsolvable problem. What do you do when being apart is unbearable…but being together is impossible?
Advanced Physical Chemistry is the third in a series of standalone rom-coms featuring geeky heroines who work in STEM fields.
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.