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Courting Greta

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  742 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Samuel Cooke knows most women wouldn't give him a second glance even if he were the last man on earth. He's the cripple with the crutches, the nerdy computer genius every female past puberty feels compelled to mother. So when he leaves his lucrative career to teach programming to high schoolers, romance definitely isn't on his radar.

Perhaps that's why Greta Cassamajor cat
Paperback, 374 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  742 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Jessica Woodbury
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm really happy that COURTING GRETA has been published. Because it's a novel that breaks so many of the rules of publishing these days. There's no catchy hook, there's not a popular genre. No vampires. No murders. Just a small story of two people.

It's a love story in the best sense. Two people who not only fall in love but learn what love means and how it works for themselves and for each other. I was utterly charmed by this book. I loved the characters and I loved watching them navigate their
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sofia by: Ije the Devourer of Books
Shelves: 2017, eagerly-read

Being special, being different, being loved is an intimate human need. A need Hootman delves into so well.

She gives us an epic love smack down in the middle of the real world complete with the petty everyday niggles, the heavy lifetime burdens and the flowers in the garden.

Claude Monet - Irises In Monets Garden

And like the flowers in the garden which is where we touch beauty and smile and reach out, this book just does that. Little by little I got Samuel and slowly but beautifuly I got
Ije the Devourer of Books

This is exactly what I want my romances to be.

Real issues, real people, real romance.

I started by reading the second book in this series 'Surviving Cyril' and I was blown away by the characters. This is actually the first book in the series although both stories can be read as stand alones.

Samuel Cooke has Spina Bifida. He can walk with crutches and prefers to struggle along instead of using a wheelchair. He has a complex relationship with his brother, a difficult relationship with hi
High Plains Library District
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, meagan
This book is kind of a hard sell, but I think it’s worth it. So here goes…

Courting Greta is a love story between two of the most unconventional, prickly characters I’ve ever read. These aren’t the characters you’ll find in Hollywood rom-coms. You don’t even find them much in books. Neither one of them is good-looking in any kind of conventional sense. And neither one of them is really even all that nice. Which is what makes this a hard sell… but trust me. It’s worth it.

Samuel, our lead character
Lisa Brackmann
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
COURTING GRETA is hard to pigeonhole. It doesn't fit neatly into a genre box. It spills messily over those defined edges. If you want a predictable romance between beautiful people, this is not the book for you. Hootman's book presents two flawed individuals as they are, without judgment or apology. It doesn't offer a happy ever after. Instead, COURTING GRETA suggests that, in spite of our flaws, regardless of where we are in our lives, we all have the capacity to grow, to burst through our hard ...more
Jamie Collins
May 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Ordinarily I wouldn’t have much to say about a bad romance novel, because I would have abandoned it at chapter two. This one, however, isn’t bad in the ordinary way of weak writing and clichéd characters. It’s well written, especially for a first novel; and the characters are quite unusual for a romance novel, which is what attracted my attention to it. Our heroes are Greta, a tough-as-nails “bulky” basketball coach, and Samuel, a frail, physically handicapped computer teacher.

The author doesn’t
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, romance
Just a moment ago, I chose my star rating for this book. And I did this thing that I sometimes do, where I try to convince myself to step back from my reading experience and pick a rating that the book truly "deserves." I don't know why I do that. I try to convince myself to be less enthusiastic about a really great book. I work off of the assumption that if I truly love it, it can't actually be great. So I'm not doing it. Five stars.

This book is unlike anything else I have ever read. For me, it
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I got about halfway through this, when the time came to put it down for a few days to read "The Color Purple", which I had made an agreement to read simultaneously with a friend.

What a contrast. As I waded through my interruption, I found that I was looking forward to completing it so I could get back to "Courting Greta". It took 40 pages or so for "Greta" to strongly capture my attention, but once it had, I was anxious to keep reading. Time off for another book was unwelcome.

Caring about the ce
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
At the outset, this book gripped me in a way very few have recently. I was immediately drawn into Samuel's struggles as he settles into his new job and new home. He is a complex character--proud a yet insecure, shy and yet brave enough to ask the most intimidating woman in the school for a date. I thought his disability was portrayed sensitively and honestly; he is neither helpless nor heroic. The beginning stages of his romance with Greta are sweet and slightly painful. The story is rounded out ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. This is not a traditional love story - it is a story of two (very) flawed individuals who fall in love (?). Well, they learn what love means and how to make it work for them. Unfortunately, for me, they had no chemistry.

I can't say that I liked these characters - neither one of them was particularly nice. In fact, they were both kind of mean. It definitely made this hard to read at times. But, I stayed with it and the last few pages when we find out about Greta's "secret indulgence" p
Mar 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
So lately, when I'm at the library and considering which book to read next, I pull up Goodreads on my phone and check the average rating on a book before choosing it. If the book doesn't have a rating of at least 3.75, the book goes back on the shelf. And for the most part this has worked well for me, as my tastes seem to run similarly to the aggregate membership of GR.

I think this book may have convinced me this system doesn't work so well after all (the rating was 3.84 at the time I read this
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: rom, otro
Way in the beginning of the book, Samuel meets Greta at a basketball game she's coaching. He tries talking to her and is rebuffed:

Samuel wondered what he'd done to offend her, then realized she probably wasn't irritated at him so much as the outcome of the game.

I want to know where this empathetic Samuel goes, because a good part of the book felt like what you'd get if James Tiptree Jr decided to write romance. I became less and less sympathetic toward Samuel as the book went on, because each ne
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The author described this book as an anti-romance. And it’s true that it doesn’t follow a lot of the normal romance cliches. Guy is the sole narrator; girl is bigger, butcher, less emotional than the guy; there is no romance when dating (girl seems unethusiastic, even apathetic about going out with the guy and he’s too nervous and insecure to make declarations of love or anything); etc.

More time is spent with Samuel and dealing with his issues. Which was refreshing to have disability depicted i
Mary Hawley
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
In some books the main characters' inability to connect is frustrating because it's obvious to the reader that everything will be fine if they just quit obsessing about things and go with it. This isn't one of those books. This book lays bare how hard it can be to form an intimate connection with another person, especially when the two people in question have had a lifetime of difficulties and disappointments that have all but destroyed their abilities to trust themselves or anyone else. A wonde ...more
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the offbeat relationship theme of this book, although at times I found the dialogue and storyline to be a bit juvenile and unrealistic. It was mildly entertaining but to me it seemed to lack any real substance.

Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Courting Greta: where to start!
For one, post – read, I am certainly glad that I did not read any of the reviews pre – read. If, after reading the blurb, you’re expecting a romance between a nerdy ‘cripple with crutches’ beta male and a ‘Rubenesque, Amazonian’ gym teacher; or a hardened by circumstances hero waiting for salvation, in the form of the heroine, forget it. Move along, you’re not going to get that here. This story is so much more. Samuel is not Aristotle’s Tragic Hero, frankly, in pl
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting tale, very romantic like even if this isn't a conventional romance.
I liked many of the more dramatic situations and how the author chose to be subtle about how the reader knows about them. This is a very close to perfection book for me, only that some sequence of scenes wasn't as well done, in my opinion.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
The people that gave this book four stars are clearly better people than me. While there were all sorts of nuggets to make this a great little contemporary love story, the douchebag nature of the male character (Samuel) and the tone-deafness of the female character (Greta) just made it hard to connect with them or root for them. This is the first time in a long time where I felt like it was a fight to stay interested enough to finish reading this book.

Courting Greta is about a snarky computer pr
This book was just so awfully boring that I couldn't finish it. The blurb was really interesting - two characters that were very unlike the type we normally see. Unfortunately that was all I liked about the book. The story was told from the heroes point of view and read like the autobiography of a man who one day decided to be a teacher and immediately falls in love with another teacher.

Not content with making the hero disabled the author also had to make him a (view spoiler)
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Meghan by: Robin
Shelves: romance
The most deliciously unconventional, clever, and emotional romance, this is a story about two real characters with some real baggage. I was hooked from the first scene. Samuel is starting a new job teaching computers at a high school, after leaving his software development position. His brother is dropping him off, and then he has to hike half a mile from the parking lot to the school using his crutches. Samuel has a disability and uses crutches or a wheelchair. He is only five feet tall, skinny ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was a nice surprise after I was about to swear off fiction for a while given the dullness of what I'd been reading lately. Another surprise was that, what I initially thought would be a fun, lighthearted story about a couple of quirky, unconventional characters, turned out to be so much more.

Despite Samuel's physical disabilities and Greta's somewhat masculine appearance, it's really the emotional baggage that each of them carries that fuels their respective social awkwardness and relation
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Meh. I wanted to like this a whole lot more than ultimately I did. The narrator really was all "me me me" even after being called on it (though true, he had good reason to be in general) and I didn't really feel like anyone's motivations were all that clear/realistic (except maybe Greg Moore).

Also, I am peeved that "the librarian" was never called anything other than "the librarian." ;)

Joanie Driemeyer
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I cheered for this atypical hero and the even more atypical love interest. My favorite books are when the characters are as flawed as real people are. I loved entering the world of these NON mainstream people. Yes!! Love exists for EVERYONE. And you can screw up once or twice and keep trying.
lulu carmen
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-ebooks
I absolutely loved Courting Greta! its a love story unlike any other. it breaks any notion about what you may think love is or ought to be. it blew me away.
Leah Bohr
A bit redundant

I couldn't relate. It was a unique perspective but hard to picture. Good people though. Read it to finish not because I loved it.
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It’s hard out here for a lover of contemporary romance who isn’t a fan of the usual alpha male hero. For those of you like me, this novel will be a breath of fresh air. I purchased this unusual romance (between a brittle middle aged gym teacher and her wheelchair bound thirty something co-worker) because I was looking for something new, and Ramsey Hootman shows us in COURTING GRETA that there are still fresh romantic stories to be told. This novel is heartbreaking, uplifting, warm frustrating an ...more
Delaina Malloy
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Drop whatever you’re doing and go read this book. I literally did not want to put this book down. The love story of Greta and Samuel is so much different than the typical love story, which makes it that much better. There are so many ups and downs and I found myself emotionally invested in this book. Definitely a great read!
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a delightful read! In the same vein as Elinore Oliphant is Completely Fine, the characters are what makes this story so great! Quirky, off-beat and relatable/believable, Sam and Greta were in turn both infuriating and loveable. Loved the story the writing and would love a sequal! (Which may be happening sometime this year)
Jared Millet
So I haven’t read nearly enough romance novels to be an expert on the genre, but it’s clear even from the back-cover copy that this book is here to buck some trends. First, the point-of-view character is male – something I’ve seen in romantic film, but not so far in genre lit. Second, this guy would only look like Fabio if he was sitting next to Stephen Hawking. The male leads in the other romance novels I’ve read were all nigh-demigods and only the heroines in those books were allowed to have i ...more
Oct 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Cute idea (nerdy tech guy becomes HS teacher, falls for an older gym teacher who is literally twice his size/weight). And it was sufficiently entertaining. But all of his neuroses were painful to witness. Did I miss something, or were there at least two really big loose ends left dangling. Was Irving one of the boys Greta was involved with in high school or not? and does Samuel avenge her or not? who made the caricatures and left the ugly notes in Samuel's desk drawer?

UPDATE: I re-read this book
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Ramsey Hootman lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves hearing from readers via email ( and is almost guaranteed to say "yes" if you ask her to do a Skype session with your library or book club.

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