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Taren needs a do-over. She’s decided the best way to put the high school bullies behind her is to pledge a Taylor-Swift-lip-syncing, beer-guzzling, sorority. Sisterhood helps Taren find the acceptance she’s always craved, but not the love she needs.

Alec wants freedom. To escape his father’s iron fist and unrealistic expectations, he pledges a campus acrobatics club where he finds that drugs and alcohol aren't the only ways to get high. His addiction to danger helps him gain his independence, but it comes at a heavy price.

When the two cross paths, Alec fears his undeniable attraction to the party girl just might threaten everything he's worked so hard to earn. Taren hasn’t forgotten that Alec humiliated her back in high school, but she also can't deny the chemistry they share.

Alec and Taren have nothing in common, but fate is bound and determined to bring them together. They know falling in love is a risk, and yet it’s too hard to ignore. When their worlds clash and they both end up suffering, will they fight to stay together? Or are some pledges too hard to keep?

370 pages, Paperback

First published July 24, 2015

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About the author

Laura Ward

10 books620 followers
Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not picking up toy trucks, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels. Her debut novel, NOT YET, is a Top 100 Amazon Bestseller.

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5 stars
147 (26%)
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236 (43%)
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117 (21%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 126 reviews
Profile Image for Teri Chason.
22 reviews
July 15, 2015
I was very excited to read this collaboration because it brings together two of my favorite Indie authors, Laura Ward and Christine Manzari.

The road to love for Alec and Taren is a bumpy one. From a heartless rejection in high school, to a few chance meetings at the same college, it seems these two were bound to be enemies for the long haul. But it’s funny how life changes.

Without spoiling the super-sweet ending, I cheered inside as I watched Taren grow throughout the course of the book. From a young college freshman who just wanted to be accepted, to a young woman who knows who, and what, is important.

Alec’s life at home was never easy, and when he chose to make his own way (and decisions) in college, it meant doing so without the financial support of his dad. From a following-the-crowd-jock to a focused student and gymnast, Alec’s true personality shined more with each passing chapter.

Another character ties into this story in a surprising and heartwarming way. William reminds all of us to be kind, to listen, and to know that love is the most important thing. He continually reminds everyone that he’s different, not less. His insight and conversations with Alec and Taren remain one of my favorite parts of this book!

The secondary characters were full of life and personality, and brought a huge amount of charm, wit, and humor to this book. Julie gave me many truly “LOL” moments as I read! Caz left me shaking my head and grinning most of the time.

Last but not lease, I can’t lie—the heated love scenes in The Pledge are deliciously sexy! Way to go, Ward & Manzari! Absolutely love it!

I’m very excited to see what this writing duo has in store for the future!
Profile Image for Kim.
2,435 reviews378 followers
August 1, 2015
Find this review and more at kimberlyfaye reads .

When I first heard Christine and Laura were collaborating on a new adult series, I was over the moon. Christine's Hooked is one of my favorite books of 2015 so far and I thoroughly enjoyed Laura's Past Heaven. I just knew these ladies would combine to make something special.

I was drawn to Taren and Alec immediately. (Alec probably more so because it's a little tough for me to relate to the Greek lifestyle. But I digress.) I liked that they had history, even if it wasn't necessarily pleasant history. But, I'm a sucker for a second chance story and I couldn't wait to see them get theirs. I suspected there would be some drama and controversy as they were approaching college with completely different priorities – Taren's focus being on parties and fun with her sisters and Alec's being on remaining alcohol free and finally doing something HE enjoyed instead of what was always expected of him. Despite their differences, or perhaps because of them, they fit together really well. They balanced each other out and helped each other grow. And believe me, both characters matured and really came into their own during this book.

When I started The Pledge, I didn't realize it was set at the University of Maryland. That was a surprise and I actually enjoyed the setting a lot more than I thought I would. (Sorry folks, WVU fan here. I take my rivalries seriously.) ;-) Since I live in the DC area, I've been to UMD a fair few times so it was easy to get the lay of the land, so to speak, and I find that always helps when I'm reading. (Otherwise I picture each campus looking like WVU and, well, that's just not realistic. Ha!) I also loved the idea of the Acroletes (aka Gymkhana, which I was more or less unfamiliar with before this book) and would totally drive to College Park to see them. I just might have to, as a matter of fact. So, hooray for introducing me to new things!

At the risk of getting spoilery, but not too much... I was fascinated by the red string of fate. This, too, I was unfamiliar with before reading this book. (I've done a fair few internet searches since, however.) I really enjoyed this and liked how the authors wove it seamlessly into Taren and Alec's story. There was *maybe* a bit more drama than I would've personally liked between these two characters, but it still worked for me. Sometimes it's hard for me to put myself back in the shoes of the characters I'm reading when they're that much younger than me. I often forget just how important and dramatic EVERYTHING was when I was that age, too. I just have to remember to read through that lens and not through the one of a 30+ lady who has a little more perspective now. (But just a little.) ;)

The Pledge is a great start to a new series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and literally couldn't put it down until I finished. It was totally a one-sitting read for me. I'm interested to see who gets the next book – I'm really hoping it's Alexis. She caught my attention in this book, so I'm anxious to get her story. (And, if I'm honest, I had some problems with Julie. She totally rubbed me the wrong way, but that's not to say that she can't be redeemed somehow.) I guess I'll just have to wait and see! Regardless I'll read it because I adore these ladies and their work.

I received a copy of this book from the author(s) in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Miranda.
439 reviews88 followers
October 19, 2015
This one was super enjoyable. Quick, light, just the right amount of angst, and a tad steamy. I really like when an author doesn't over sex a story, sometimes it does more harm then good but this one was handled delicately. I loved the plot and how both characters evolved. Can't wait to continue on wth this series and read about the other characters within this story.
July 25, 2015
4.5 stars!

"Second chances don't change the past. They just prove we can learn from our mistakes."

I was asked by the authors if I could made a Book Trailer for this book (Check it out HERE!), and I was one of the blogs that helped reveal the cover, so I knew about the book before they asked me lol! The authors then offered me an ARC of the book and I said yes and made it my next read! I was really intrigued by the synopsis and I love the cover! This book was awesome! It took me a few sittings to read, but it kept me interested and the characters were very well developed! The plot also developed at a really nice pace! The plot was also set in a college, and I only know the basics of an American college as I'm not from there, so I learned a lot about American college life and college fraternities and sororities from this book lol! I just loved this book! It was very beautiful and the chemistry between the two main characters was seriously hot! It really was amazing and I didn't want it to end lol! The characters were also amazing! Taren was the main female character, and she went from geek to chic in this book! I do have to admit that I preferred geeky Taren though lol! I completely understood why Taren wanted to shed her geek status though and reinvent herself! She was bullied at high school, even by her love interest, so she wanted a fresh start at college! I loved Taren! I liked her more as the book progressed, and she was actually a little vixen at times lol! I didn't expect this side to her, but it showed her character development! I didn't agree with some of her choices in this book, but I thought that she always redeemed herself! Alec was the main male character, and he was seriously hot and controlled so much by his father! This made me feel really sorry for him because he had to do what his father wanted him to do and he couldn't do what he wanted! That changed as the book progressed though, and Alec was placed in a situation where he was under a lot of pressure and he worked really hard to make sure that he could stay at college and continue his education! I respect him a lot for that! He worked his ass off! I just loved Alec! He was very protective of Taren and I could see that he had so much love for her! He was seriously hot with her too! I loved that this book was written from both Taren and Alec's point of views! I'm assuming one author wrote Taren's point of view and the other wrote Alec's! The point of views flowed so well! They didn't waver at all and they joined on perfectly! I also can't wait to read the next book in this series! I know that it's not going to continue Taren and Alec's story and that it's going to be about a secondary character from this book, but that's made me even more excited to read it! I can't wait for it to release! The cover for this book is so simple, but so pretty! It really suits the book and the writing on the front has a college vibe to it, which is really cool and suits the book! Big thank you to Laura and Christine for an ARC of The Pledge!
4 reviews
August 4, 2015
What a wonderfully satisfying collaboration of authors! Laura and Christine blend their styles of writing beautifully to produce this smart, fun, sensitive, sexy and moving story.
I enjoyed the addition of characters with disabilities because we can always continue to learn from those who have different levels of abilities if we take the time to listen.
You will enjoy every minute of this book. The story builds seamlessly and comes together with a strong, poignant ending. I am very glad that this is a series. You will be, too.
Profile Image for Jenny.
244 reviews3 followers
January 24, 2016
**4 Enjoyable Read Stars**

Sweet college romance, bit of a slow start but still very enjoyable, this book provides some laughs, some heart squeezing moments and also so 'aww so sweet' moments, loved the characters and if there's more books to come from some of the other characters in this book then i will for sure read them :-)

Arc provided for an honest review
Profile Image for Laci .
990 reviews
August 26, 2015
I finished this book within 24 hrs. I really liked the characters and was pulled in by the story.

I know there will be a second book in the series because there is a teaser at the end of this, but it's not listed on Gr so I hope I don't miss it.
Profile Image for Antonella.
3,264 reviews425 followers
September 2, 2018
I don't know how to rate this one:
- on one hand I read it, pretty fast and it kept my interest but
-on the other hand there were some cringe moments and definitely wth moments. The later could be a sign of a every new adult/ college book..stupid, annoying characters with equally idiotic drama...

which brings the question if this book has that than that makes it a good book, right?!

If you like new adult, if you like college/frat/sorority books- which are mystery to me as non American I was wondering is it true all the partying, games, grown up bullying, that Greek life?!-
than you might want to read this. Otherwise stay away because some of the reasoning why characters do stuff especially heroine will drive you crazy.

Between two and three stars.

Profile Image for Carol***BeautyandtheBeastlyBooks.
1,729 reviews150 followers
July 18, 2018
2.5 stars

I love a good NA college romance. It’s a trope I’m really into and usually it gets me out of book funks (I’m not into one at the moment though). But lately I feel like it’s really hard finding a good different one.

College Bound seemed like a good one (and I even read the blurb before starting it), but unfortunately it didn’t meet the expectations for me.

I felt no chemistry between the main characters and I couldn’t relate to any characters. It was also very hard for me to connect with the story and the dialogues.

For me the story had promise, but it didn’t quite deliver it.
July 12, 2018
This is the first book in a trilogy. Normally, I don't often read anything in the New Adult category, but this book intrigued me. It was full of angst, but it was well done. I really loved Alec and Taren. It was really gratifying to see their relationship go from enemies to lovers. I also loved their respective friends. They added a great dynamic and I can't wait to read more.

Reviewed by: Clare M.
Profile Image for Coco.V.
47.2k reviews4 followers
Want to read
March 14, 2020
🎁 Books 1 & 2 in the Series are FREE on Amazon today (3/14/2020)! 🎁
Profile Image for Grace.
1,958 reviews89 followers
July 25, 2015
The book seemed like a twist on the story of the Ugly Duckling, with an ugly (geeky) girl who later blossoms into a beautiful woman.

Taren grew up as a self described geek. Raised by her aunt, and lacking friendships, she took the kindness of one man, a guy she crushed on, and learned the harsh realities of peer pressure.

Alec grew up under heavy expectations from his father's with a life plan set out for him, which he had no interest in. He took a friendship and destroyed it because he couldn't stand up to those around him. A mistake he regretted.

Told in alternating POVs, both Taren and Alec look to college as their escape, a chance to reinvent themselves. Taren was looking for acceptance. Alec was looking to set his own life path. But can the pain of the past be forgiven?

I don't read a lot of New Adult, and that isn't intentional. Because it seems every time I read one, I'm transported back to a world that is so familiar to me. The insecurities from high school, and discovering a new identity in college. It was so easy to relate to. I can't say I've ever been bullied, but I get those insecurities and just like Taren, I reached out to a sorority to make more friends. Sororities can be judgmental of others, that's the downside. But I personally made so many friendships in that world, that I could see exactly why Taren wanted to be part of that.

Call it fate, or something less magical, but Taren and Alec end up at the same college and repeatedly cross paths, despite hanging out in separate circles. Initially, their past actions towards each other, particularly Alec's prior actions towards her, creates a lot of anger. It's not until they end up in the same class, that they put the past to rest. From there on, it is full on passion.

"Second chances don't change the past. They just prove that we can learn from our mistakes."

What I loved:
*I liked the idea behind their fate, tied to the red ribbon. Did you see the book cover? It actually holds a lot of significance.

"It's a East Asian belief that a red string connects two people who are destined to be together."

*William - this side character is a breath of fresh air. He and Taren meet as part of a sorority community project, but she immediately feels a connection to him and builds a friendship beyond the expectations of the project. I absolutely loved William (Will, Bill, Willy) and his enthusism for life. While Taren was there to help him, there relationship was reciprocal and he often served as a sounding board as she stressed about her relationship with Alec. He pretty much is the hero that saves the day, sort of. And the last chapter in his POV, so sweet!

"I met a girl who looked like sunshine, and she wanted to be my friend."

*Caz - Alec's roommate and resident troublemaker. He provides the laughs in the story and is the key reason for Alec's new direction in life.

What I didn't love:
Maybe it was due to their age difference with myself, but their lack of trust in each other was frustrating. But I will agree with Alec, that I hated when it seemed like Taren put her sorority before him. I get the importance of friendships, but given that she lived at the sorority house, I didn't see why she would choose activities with them, when it was clear Alec was making time for her.

*Amanda - this is the girl I dreaded seeing on the page. She isn't a bitch, really. But her loose morals always seemed like a red flag. I both hated and loved how she yelled at Taren for not being there for Alec when he needed her. Oddly, I wouldn't mind if she had her own story in this series.

This story was a nice escape for me, travelling down my own personal memory lane. It captured the spirit of the college experience, learning to spread one's wings and create one's own path. And had a sweet a love story, tied nicely with a red bow.
*An ARC was received for an honest review.
Profile Image for Candi-.
386 reviews2 followers
April 6, 2016
This past weekend at the #RAI2016 (Roanoke Author Invasion) I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Ward. Although I had already purchased "Not Yet" on my kindle, I had never read it!! (totally kicking myself now) At the signing she had Not Yet, The Pledge and Past Heaven sitting out on the table.....All three looked amazing but I decided to purchase Not Yet while my friend purchased Past Heaven. That evening I started Not Yet and completely devoured it!!! Could not put it down not even to sleep!! After I finished and wrote my review I decided to one click "The Pledge" since it sounded amazing as well.........Holy Moly.....how have I not read these books already?!?!?! I LOVED it!!!

What I didn't realize was that not only did Laura write it she wrote it with Christine Manzari. I have yet to read any of her books as well but now I am also equally as hooked and excited to say I have two brand new authors to add to my love list and must read books!! While trying to decide which book I wanted to buy at the #RAI2016 Christine was sitting beside Laura. She knew I was struggling to choose which one and asked me what was some of my favorite reads.......totally hard question because there are so many, but now I wish I would have known her before the event so I could have had a total fan girl moment over her as well, haha. Trust me, next year at the #RAI2017 I will be totally prepared!!!!

Ok, so what this review is suppose to really be about lol.......

From page one I was hooked....High school was never easy for Taren. She never had any friends and was bullied. The one person she fell for in high school that she thought was different was Alec....but one night and one event changes everything for them. An event that has haunted Alec since the day it happened.

College life is a way for them both to start all over....Taren starts to become more confident and begins to make friends while Alec is happy to finally be out from underneath his fathers demands and expectations. When the two bump into each other over and over again on campus will they finally learn that everything they thought was wrong? Will they be able to move on and forgive each other and will they finally realize that they were always meant to be more than friends?

I loved that with this book you get alternate POV's. I love getting into each of the characters heads and seeing where they are at and how they each feel. There is several times you want to shake them both but once they finally wake up and finally put the past behind them....boyyyy do they leave your kindle smoking!!!!!

The secondary characters in this book are equally as amazing and I hope that sometime in the future they will get a book of their own as well. Caz was a hoot!! It will def take a special lady for him (I could def see Julie being her bc she is equally as crazy) Even Jon needs his own book bc when things were really bad there for a bit the way he treated Taren had me loving him as well. William was so sweet, I kind of had a feeling he played in more than we realized and by the end your heart will be completely melted (if it isn't already) I can't wait for Alexis and Liam's story....that little snippet at the end has me already wishing it was out!!!

Amazing job Laura and Christine.....you two are brilliant and I can't wait for more. The two of you should def collaborate more in the future!!! Can't wait to see you both next year at the #RAI2017 but be prepared.....I will prob be your new stalker haha <3
Profile Image for Garden Of REden.
1,162 reviews62 followers
July 27, 2015
"Fresh start. New beginning."

That is the premise of The Pledge, co-written by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari. We meet Taren and Alec as they are both looking to start their lives over in college. Taren and Alec have history together, and it's not one with a happy ending.

The Pledge is told in alternating POVs, and this was really a great way to get into both of their heads. I think if I only had one side of the story, it wouldn't have been enough for me. Taren is using college to break out of her shell, and escape the girl everyone thought she was in high school. Alec is using it to try and break away from his horrible father, and do something that is not required and expected of him. Alec is looking to branch out and discover who he is without all of the pressure and demands.
The writing is outstanding. It flows beautifully, which is not something that you always find with co-written books. You cannot tell one authors voice from the other. The pace was steady and the secondary characters brought a lot to the story. Alec's friends were really funny and each scene with them was kicked up a notch. Taren's friend Julie drove me a bit crazy, and even though she wasn't the villain of the story, I kept yelling at Taren not to listen to her. The sex scenes were exactly what they needed to be for this story. They had the perfect balance of sweet and steamy.

This was a "read from start to finish without a break" book. When I started it, I knew I only had enough time to get a few chapters in. Well, I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. I just could not walk away without getting the whole story. Taren and Alec have a lot of issues, as do all college students. They didn't know exactly what they wanted from life, or even how to get it, but what they did know was that they wanted each other. They worked at a relationship that didn't come easy to them. It was a relationship that was filled with trust issues and misunderstandings, but what new relationship isn't? What matters is how you get to that other side, and watching Alec and Taren fight to get there was just beautiful.

"Second chances don't change the past. They just prove we can learn from our mistakes."

4.5 STARS!
Profile Image for Tiffany.
598 reviews12 followers
August 2, 2015
Reviewed on Behalf of Give Me Books

I am a huge fan of both Laura Ward and Christine Manzari so when I found out that they were doing a book together I was excited to say the least!! The two did a fantastic job! The Pledge was sooooo good! While there were definitely distinct styles from both of them, the story flowed seamlessly and I couldn’t put it down!

“I told you Taren Richards! You are hotter than Satan’s nut sack!”
“Did you really just compare me to the devil’s genitals?”

Alec and Taren are at the same college together. Having had an awful high school experience with one another, to find each other at the same college was quite awkward. However, they can’t seem to avoid each other and find an attraction growing more each time they see one another.

“The way she placed her trust in me made my wild with the urge to protect her, to keep her innocence all to myself. That need to keep her safe was in constant battle with my darker side—the side that needed to claim her.”

I absolutely loved watching the two of them figure out who they were throughout their years at college, both individually and as a couple. Watching them grow and change was amazing even if sometimes I just wanted to shake them and tell them to use their words. The friendships that Taren and Alec made while in college were some of my favorite parts of the book, especially Taren’s Good Buddy, William.

“I think it is better to be alone and listen to yourself than to be with someone you do not love, listening to them.”

If you like sweet, funny, romantic, angsty reads, this book is for you! I seriously could not get enough of this story; the ending and that very last chapter were oh so good! I cannot wait for Alexis’ story next! (4.5 stars)

Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews441 followers
July 26, 2015
I am a huge fan of both Laura Ward and Christine Manzari so when I found out that they were doing a book together I was excited to say the least!! The two did a fantastic job. The Pledge was sooooo good! While there were definitely distinct styles from both of them, the story flowed seamlessly and I couldn’t put it down!

“I told you Taren Richards! You are hotter than Satan’s nut sack!”
“Did you really just compare me to the devil’s genitals?”

Alec and Taren are at college together. Having had an awful high school experience with one another, to find themselves at the same college was quite awkward. However, they can’t seem to avoid each other and find an attraction growing more each time they see one another.

“The way she placed her trust in me made me wild with the urge to protect her, to keep her innocence all to myself. That need to keep her safe was in constant battle with my darker side—the side that needed to claim her.”

I absolutely loved watching the two of them figure out who they were throughout their years at college, both individually and as a couple. Watching them grow and change was amazing even if sometimes I just wanted to shake them and tell them to use their words.

The friendships that Taren and Alec made while in college were some of my favorite parts of this book, especially Taren’s good buddy, William.

“I think it is better to be alone and listen to yourself than to be with someone you do not love, listening to them.”

If you like sweet, funny, romantic, angsty reads, this book is for you! I seriously could not get enough of this story; the ending and that very last chapter were oh, so good! I cannot wait for Alexis’ story next! ~ Tiffany, 4.5 stars
July 31, 2015
I had previously read & loved all books by Ward & Manzari, so was very excited to read a collaboration by them - they did not disappoint!! Their wit, snark, humor & excellent character development had me loving this book as soon as I began it & I could not put it down! I was impressed by how both writers were able to flawlessly weave the lives & storylines of both Alec & Taren into one seamless & compelling story. I appreciated how both characters went though a huge metamorphosis and learned a great deal from each other to transform into the kind of people they wanted to be. I commend the authors for including a kind & strong character with disabilities such as William in their story & love how he was depicted so honestly as the one with all of the answers...he truly warmed my heart. I can't wait to see what comes next from these two talented writers!
August 2, 2015
The Pledge is a new adult romance that had me hooked from page one. Taren was bullied most of her life and college is her new start. She learns to be confident and have friends. Her trouble is learning to trust others. Alec is one hottie mctottie I could easily insert in my life. He's gentle and caring. He also needs to learn to trust. At times I wanted to jerk knots in both their noggins.
I love how the authors developed a story with the special needs community in a very heart warming manner. This story was addictive and definitely a book hangover book.
Profile Image for Dannah Leizl.
275 reviews8 followers
June 4, 2017
Laura Ward - The Pledge (College Bound, #1)

When I read the plot I was really interested because I like College romance.
But, I had to stop at 41%. Alec and Taren had history, but I can’t see the chemistry. Alec seems to be more into Amanda, there’s chemistry there, with the slipup of Alex the only issue. As with Taren, I did not like that he keeps on going out with Doug and expect all will be ok she know that there’s something wrong but she’s not doing anything to fix it.

Overall, though the plot is nice, I can’t see the connection between the leads and I think it’ll be hard to convince the readers that they’ll end up together (if this is a HEA). There’s too much stuff going on, but not much stuff building the connection of the leads.

Profile Image for Book-Bosomed  blog.
516 reviews225 followers
August 25, 2015
Taren Richards had a rough high school experience, bullied and treated like the class geek. Alec Hart was the popular guy, and when he had the chance to lift Taren up, he really left her down. As a result, what started as a friendship/crush turned into enemies with disdain. Seeing each other again at college is the last thing either of them want until it stirs up latent feelings that become too hard to deny.

The story has an interesting premise. A mix of second chances, opposites attract, and friends-to-enemies-to-lovers. It’s told via Taren and Alex’s alternating first person point of view so you’re never lost or out of the loop on how either are feeling. That’s helpful because there is a lot of misunderstanding going on between these two.

But first the characters are developed quite separately. Honestly, I think it would have packed more of a punch to their character development if it had included chapters from their high school years instead of their early college days when they weren’t interacting. The romantic pacing on this one felt off. There was a lot of time spent in the beginning with them getting to know other people and establishing their separate college lives that only occasionally cross paths. Considering their complicated past, I really felt this time could have been better spent with them reconnecting. Instead, during the first part of the book, they have make-out sessions with other people—that was a turnoff even though they were still in separate worlds and really weren’t attracted to these people that they seemed to think they should be. This left me really frustrated with Taren as it portrayed her as naïve and in need of a backbone.

Taren was supposed to be really smart, but she did really dumb things. And while the authors did a good job depicting the sometimes immature nature of this age group, it didn’t exactly endear me to the supporting characters and especially the sorority. It definitely wasn’t my thing in college, and Taren’s behavior and some of the people she hung out with (hated Julie!) was a perfect example of why—lots of shallow commitments, creepy frat boys, and the drunken party scene. While this was supposed to be a venue for Taren to gain self-confidence from, it really just made her immature. One minute Taren was complaining that Alec didn’t take her out on romantic dates and then the next minute she couldn’t break drinking night plans with her sorority sisters and then expected him to not have a life. I had trouble seeing what Alec saw in her aside from physical beauty.

Alec, on the other hand, matured to be a pretty decent, hard-working guy. He was busting his butt to be independent and true to the things he believed in while not being able to catch a break. I really felt bad for him. He seemed like such a good guy and many times I doubted that Taren was worthy of him.

If you like sufficient angst and a strong coming-of-age plot, then you'll probably like this one. While I typically enjoy new adult romance, this one just wasn't my style. I personally am not a fan of angst and like to see more romantic build-up with the romance front and center rather than the struggles of the heroine to mature so the story frustrated me at various places. With Taren and Alec being so different I really craved more of a “show” rather than “tell” of why they felt so connected as well as Taren getting her act together. The ending has a pleasant twist though that pulls together a theme throughout.

First in the stand-alone College Bound series. Next book to feature one of the supporting characters, Taren’s roommate.

*ARC received in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Poulami.
336 reviews40 followers
November 13, 2015
Originally posted on Daydreaming Books.

*I received a digital copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was so awsome and heartwarming! I loved each and every moment of it. It is told in alternate POVs of the two main protagonists. The Pledge is a beautiful story of 2nd chance romance which I really enjoyed reading.

The story revolves around the lives of Taren and Alec. Taren used to be the school nerd and in college she wants a totally fresh start with a different life that she had in high school. Alec wants to study a different subject but he lives his life according to his father’s will. Taren and Alec both knew each other from high school but they had a past together and they find out they are in the same college as well. But they are unable to avoid each other for too long as the chemistry increases between them. Will they be able give each other and their life a second chance?

I just simply loved Taren and Alec. Taren was a complete nerd in high school and also the school joke. That’s why she wanted a fresh start in college and she kinda made drinking and partying her life. And Alec pledged to live alcohol free. Their college life was polar opposites and they both knew they needed to stay away from each other. But fate brought them together on numerous occasions and they decided to work on their past issues and call a truce. The attraction kept increasing between them. I loved the fact that when Alec understood his mistake and got a second chance with Taren, he snatched it up and made good use of it. Their chemistry was crackling and I loved the romance between them. It was simply perfect and nothing felt rushed. They both balanced each other and helped each other grow.

I loved the character growth, Taren was a girl who just wanted to be accepted by everybody and from that she transfers into a woman who knows who and what is important in life. And Alec also finds the guts to stand upto his father and live his life according to his own. The side characters were pretty great as well, they brought more life into this book. Specially William, he was indeed a ray of sunshine and undoubtedly my favourite character in the book. Although Julie, Taren’s friend drove me a bit crazy sometimes but she and Alexis were great and supportive friends.

I enjoyed the writing. It was simple and beautiful. I easily felt into the comfortable flow of this book and the dialogues were laced with humour and wit. There were lots of funny moments in this book which I wholeheartedly enjoyed. The pace was even throughout the book, it was neither too slow nor too fast. These two ladies indeed worked magic on this book and made it so beautiful.

Overall, The Pledge was not simply a love story but so much more. The plot and the characters both evolved throughout the story and I loved the chemistry and romance between Taren and Alec. The writing was smooth and beautiful and the pace was even throughout the book. I’m very exited to read the next book in this series, specially curious because it’s going to be Alexis’s story .

Recommend it?

Profile Image for Chrissy.
1,305 reviews83 followers
July 6, 2016

The Pledge is an amazingly written new adult romance that everyone should read!

Taren is using college to escape the demons of high school and re-invent herself, and Alec is trying to enjoy college while under the ever present thumb of his stubborn father. Neither Taren or Alec realized how quickly the past that they shared would come back to haunt them.

When we first meet Taren, she’s a bit timid, scared, and afraid of changing, even though she knows she needs to. I loved how quickly she befriended Julie and Alexis, and how their friendship was the one solid thing that kept her grounded throughout this entire book. When she runs into Alec her past catches up with her future, and we soon realize how these two know each other, and why there is so much hatred between them.

Alec on the other hand, he was the god of his high school, and is now a small fish in a large pond, trying to please his father while also trying to figure out what he really wants. With the help of his HILARIOUS roommate Caz, Alec is introduced into a new world he never knew existed, and becomes thrown into the Areoletes world and what a crazy world it is.

Alec and Taren run into each other a few times, but it never ends well for either of them, but finally decide being friends. Flash forward another year, and things are definitely different in both of their worlds. Taren is loving the sorority life, and her new friends, but unhappy with Doug (aka “Whistler” aka “Pickles”). I felt for her with him. He was the first guy to pay attention and she kind of fell into an unhappy thing with him. I hated his character from the get go, and he proved over and over again in this book why he should be despised. He was horrible to Taren, and didn’t know what he was missing till she finally wised up and left him. Alec on the other hand, is completely different. He’s gone against what his father wanted, and is now making his own way through school, and as much as it sucks, it helps him tremendously.

Watching these two realize that they really didn’t hate each other, and that there was so much more between them was frustrating at times, and beautiful at others. So much hurt has happened, and it’s hard to trust one another, but when they finally decide to give it a go, my heart was so happy for them. It’s funny how their roles were reversed, and how opposite they were from each other, yet found a way to make it work. At times I wanted to strangle Taren though for being so blind to the fact that she never put Alec first above her sorority, and the stupid things she did, but it ended up helping them in the long run.

The Pledge is a beautifully written story, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Alec and Taren’s story. It definitely wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, but in it’s own weird way, it was absolutely perfect. These two belong together, and it may have been a bumpy road, but I’m so happy with how this book ended. I can’t wait to read Alexis’s story and see if she finds “the one” as well!
Profile Image for Lynn.
119 reviews5 followers
July 31, 2015
The Pledge was longer than I anticipated, but when I was finished, it felt like hardly anytime passed at all. I was sucked into Alec and Taren’s story and didn’t want it to end.
Alec and Taren have a history that brought them both happiness at one point, but then it shattered them both. Taren’s heart and Alec’s social life. Now that high school is over and they are trying to start over for themselves without the people that made their senior year miserable.
Taren is determined to fit in, belong somewhere, feel accepted instead of bullied. It just so happens that her first day on campus, she is begged by a frat boy to come to his party. Taren has never been to a party, much less had the attraction of a good-looking male. Taren finds herself fitting in with those on Greek Row, along side her new found best friends, Alexis and Julie.
Alec is under the heavy thumb of his overbearing father; taking classes he doesn’t want in a major he has no passion for, all to make his father happy. Alec doesn’t want to be a senator. Alec wants to be able to do something he loves, but as long as his dad is footing the bill, that will never happen.
Taren and Alec find themselves on the same campus, but due to decisions made in the first few weeks of being there, it seems their roles have reversed. Yet, Taren still feels the rejection and pain from high school every time she sees Alec. Alec still blames Taren for her role in making his senior year a complete disaster, but the Taren he finds on campus is different from the one he went to high school with. This Taren is beautiful, stunningly so, and has a confidence he didn’t know existed.
As much as Taren tries to convince herself that she is over Alec, she knows that’s not true. Alec is on the other side of her red string of fate. They are tied together forever, but will they ever be able to untangle the mess they have made? Opposites attract which explains why they continue to be drawn to each other, no matter what they have done to one another in the past, but their insecurities chip away at the trust they once had in each other.

Taren was a girl that I can relate to. Actually, I could see myself in her more than I have been able to in any other book character. I wasn’t bullied in high school, but I was the naïve innocent band girl. Alec was the guy that drew me in with his honesty, his sweet talk, and his charm. Taren and Alec may have been opposites in their social realms, but they connected more on the other levels that counted. Their passion, drive, and caring for others is what makes their love intense and wonderful.
My heart pounded and my stomach dropped every time a new set of trials would trip them up. Many mistakes were made, harsh words were said, but love has a forgiving side.
Profile Image for Renita.
283 reviews37 followers
July 31, 2015
3.5 Stars
ARC received in exchange for an honest review & participation in Blog Tour

"Fresh Start. New beginning. No one knows me here..."

This book was definitely a sweet change of pace from the usual NA athlete stories that usually come along. It took me about seventy five pages to really hit my stride with this read but once I got to that point I didn't put it down until I was done with it.
Both needing to reinvent themselves from the people they had been before college, both Alec and Taren have a unique history.

Alec just wants to make his own choices and live his own life.
This desire also means that he has to defy some heavy expectations from his father.
His character was probably my second favorite thing about this book. Alec finding his backbone and true passion was a refreshing pleasure. I enjoyed how committed he was to his new lifestyle and how determined he was to protect it. It was easy to sympathize with his feelings throughout the course of the story and my support of him never waned even as bumps in the relationship began to roll through.

My favorite thing about this story would be the integration of the story of the the red string of fate. If you immediately think of the cover well then... BINGO! I thought this was a fabulously unique and sweet aha thread within the story of Alec and Taren.
While others may not have understood their connection that red string of fate continued to intertwine their lives in all the unexpected places. This made THE PLEDGE stand out.

I really enjoyed it and found it to be a pretty quick and easy read. The only reason that I'm holding back a slightly higher rating would be because I found Taren to be slightly less mature/rational in most of her decisions. I know, I know it's college and they're young characters... Maybe it was because of Alec's maturity but I expected more out of her. That being said when she jumps that gap and makes those better choices... I jumped the gap into liking her character even more.
I am giving THE PLEDGE 3.5 Stars.
I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the series brings. If it's more characters like Alec... then I'm sure none of us will be disappointed.
Profile Image for Josselyn Radillo.
247 reviews7 followers
July 28, 2015
My Thoughts:

This review was originally posted at

It’s like the love stories of old! Geek/Nerd Girl teams up The Hot Guy for a high school project and something between them clicked. Oh Alec, oh Alec… *takes out heart-framed photo of Alec and recites an ode to it a la Helga Pataky*
Anyway let’s get into this. Taren is starting college to have fresh new start, leaving her Geek/Nerd and all the other labels, her prick heads of classmates called her. But because this is the real world and we don’t get always what we ask for, suddenly her worst nightmare or better her daydream comes back.
Alec this sexy forced lacrosse player, has his own crap going on first his dad is forcing him to do the lacrosse thing plus a major he doesn’t like at all. And when Taren is a bad memory he wants to left behind comes with a sexy skirt and that sexy shy smile he liked guilt took over him, remembering what a dick he was with her.
Apparently a red string of fate is keeping them bouncing into each other life, (I loved read that part, now I see the cover with brand new eyes and with a new meaning) it take them to interact with each other 5 chapter to get there.
Now I understand your hesitation, dear reader, but don’t get me wrong it won’t bored you at all since we get to know each characters highs and lows, better each chapter switch from Taren’s POV to Alec’s. And OMG Caz is Alec’s roommate and he has all this sass that I LOVED it, the characters are charming and funnies plus a look at the GEEK life. There are of course ridiculously hot scene between Alec and Taren, just not all the way but still sexy and I appreciated a lot they took their time to get to all the bases. The chemistry between them was palpable hot.
I think both author rocked this book and can’t for book 2.
Overall, this a fresh, funny, sexy-as-hell-book.
Profile Image for Tamara.
270 reviews38 followers
December 9, 2015
I love Laura Ward's books and when I heard she would be writing a book together with Christine Manzari (I loved Hooked! - my review), I knew it would be a great story! There's always the fear of when two authors write one book, that their voices wouldn't match. But in my opinion, the voices of both authors worked together perfectly.

The story of Alec and Taren is filled with great dialogue and set in High School and College. It was great to see these two characters grow along their way in school.

They met in High School, where one decision turned their unlikely friendship in a hate-relationship. But through the years, getting older and wiser, they realize they are not the teens they were back then. And because of an invisible thread that seems to keep them together, they must admit their hate wasn't as profound as they thought it was.

The story is so much more than that, and I could tell you, but I'd hate to spoil the whole story for you. I loved it! It was sweet and funny and romantic. I'm eager to read the next book in this series! Great job, Laura Ward & Christine Manzari!

Profile Image for Rose.
514 reviews
January 13, 2016
Loved this book!
It was a little slow at first, I would have preferred more Alec / Taren scenes in the beginning but it wasn't too annoying at all. I found it realistic how it happened.

I absolutely loved Taren. It's not very often an author can portray a character so well. Taren is genuinely a nice girl and I loved how she treated everyone. I've been reading about too many annoying heroins who are bitchy, pushovers and straight up stupid and selfish so reading about her was refreshing.

I also loved Alec :) what he did in high school I hated but he's completely different now.

I loved the sweet relationship between these two. Usually I get bored from such sweet romances but this one was so good!

There was no annoying completely preventable angst and thank God. Authors are over doing the angst in their books nowadays! The drama was realistic and not stupid. Definitely loved the book and so excited for the next one!

I read the teaser and damn, it's about alexis and Liam according to the teaser but in this book you know something about her and Asher a fraternity boy. But damn Liam sounds like Trouble with a capital T! Haha I'm excited for it.

Also what I like about this book is that I related to the characters. Even the secondary ones. Friendships aren't very emphasised in books they're usually glossed over but I loved the friendship between Taren and alexis.

And felt so so sad for William when he was talking about the girl he liked and how he couldn't be with her cause her dad thought he was "slow" and his excerpt at the end and how he talks about how people can be "cruel". I would love a story even a novella about him!

This author definitely got a fan out of me!
Please stay true to yourself and give us such good characters!
Profile Image for Amazeballs Book Addicts.
2,783 reviews242 followers
July 18, 2015
I liked The Pledge. For me it was one of those books that I didn't really fully appreciate it until I finished reading it then I had this moment where I was like wow that was a good story.

I had a little trouble getting into this story at first. When I first start reading a story I want to be immediately sucked into the characters and able to start guessing what's going to happen, that didn't happen for me with this one. I didn't get hooked right away because I wasn't really sure where it was going. It's told in the dual POV of Alec and Taren but in the beginning there paths don't cross right away so it left me a little confused. Once we get to the part where they see each and we find out they have a pass, I was hooked.

Taren has started college completely different from the way she was in high school. She joins a sorority and starts to spent time with a fraternity guy named Doug. I didn't like Doug from the beginning but in my head I made him a little worse than he was, don't get me wrong he wasn't nice to begin with.

Taren is part of the Good Buddy program and her buddy is William. Her and William have some pretty insightful conversation. There is a twist on how William fits into the story, I was definitely surprised by it.

A lot of things have changed for Alec since high school too. Taren and Alec had some differences in high school but can they put them behind them n college. Taren and Alec have a relationship that has a lot of ups and downs.

The Pledge was a good read, you just have stick with it and all the pieces will come into place. I can't wait to read the next book in the College Bound series.

A copy was received for a review.
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