Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell's Reviews > Out on Good Behavior

Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler
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We read OUT ON GOOD BEHAVIOR as a nod to Pride Month in my romance book club/discussion group, Unapologetic Romance Readers. Dahlia Adler has made a name for herself advocating diversity and intersectionality in YA and NA, and I've been meaning to read her for a while, so kudos to sraxe for getting the ball rolling on that with her recommendation.



OUT ON GOOD BEHAVIOR is a love story between a pansexual girl named Frankie Bellisario and a lesbian named Samara Kazarian, who's so deep in the closet that she's got one foot planted firmly in Narnia. Both girls have a deep and undeniable attraction for each other, but Frankie enjoys sleeping around with whichever one of her FWBs she has on call and is reluctant to enter the monogamous lifestyle and Sam has a republican family who's majorly into politics and she's terrified of what will happen when word gets out - especially if there's no committed relationship for her to fall back on. Who wants to go that alone?



Frankie wants Sam, but she doesn't want to commit. It's basically the stereotypical "playboy settles down" stereotype that's so prevalent in YA/NA, except gender-flipped. On one hand, this was refreshing, because women are often portrayed as meek virgins who have no idea how to go about pursuing their sexuality until a man walks up with the key, but there's still a virgin in this story - the only difference is in this case, the playboy and the innocent are both women. And all refreshing changes aside, I have to say that gender-flipping the stereotype didn't make it any more palatable.



Here's the thing about Frankie. I think she's kind of creepy. Sam's her friend's roommate, and while in their room, Frankie starts sniffing Sam's stuff and touching all of her things until her friend tells her to stop. She essentially says that if Sam doesn't want the attention, she shouldn't be so attractive. She uses her FWBs as substitutes for Sam to vent her sexual frustration, and spends a huge portion of the story whining about how she doesn't want to be tied down to anyone else. She also plays into a lot of the pansexual stereotypes (they don't know what they want, they can't keep it in their pants, they're not monogamous, they're attracted to everyone), as sraxe and Red both pointed out in their reviews, which is unfortunate.



For a while I sympathized with Samara, because who hasn't been attracted to someone they perceived as being the "wrong" person? I've been in that position before as a young adult, and it's difficult. Her struggle between wanting to pursue romantic happiness and her terror at being abandoned by her friends and family was really touching, and it saddened me that this wasn't really explored in greater depth (and her racist/bigoted family kind of disappears from the story entirely once Sam and Frankie get involved - were they OK with it after all, or do they just plan to conduct their relationship in secret forever and ever?), as I feel it's a topic that many LGBT+ people struggle with (sadly) daily.



My feelings for Samara changed after what I'm going to call The Misunderstanding. As with the last book I read - RUINED BY RUMOR - the conflict in this book hinges upon the two pigheaded MCs being too stubborn to talk to each other for five minutes, so they end up hurting each other until the truth is revealed. One of the most important factors in any relationship is communication, so the fact that an understanding of this magnitude could happen really did not bode well for the couple. I also found it difficult that Samara, even as inexperienced as she was, would not want protection or an STD test before initiating a sexual relationship with someone who had as many sexual partners as Frankie, especially since she was actively sleeping around with people who weren't exclusive, either.



I appreciated what OUT ON GOOD BEHAVIOR was trying to do, I just didn't like the characters it was doing it with. OOGB could have been an F/F version of Elle Kennedy's THE DEAL, and instead it was, well, just another basic new adult love story. I did like the female friendships in this book - something that many new adult books lack - and the dialogue, for the most part, flowed naturally and was engaging. Adler is not a bad writer by any means - something else that sets her apart - and I would read another book of hers, because I think I could really like her work. This one just wasn't it.



For what it's worth, though, the sex scenes are hot.



2 stars.
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Reading Progress

July 1, 2016 – Started Reading
July 1, 2016 – Shelved
July 1, 2016 – Shelved as: lgbtqia-library
July 1, 2016 – Shelved as: new-adult
July 1, 2016 – Shelved as: romance
July 1, 2016 –
7.0% ""For eight billion reasons, Samara is not the girl for you."\n \n "Well then she shouldn't look like that."\n \n Even though Frankie essentially tacks on a "LOL JK" at the end, this is pretty creepy... almost predatory."
July 1, 2016 –
19.0% "Enjoying this a little more than I was. It's really refreshing to read a new adult book that has so many friend-focused relationships."
July 2, 2016 –
22.0% "I do not crush on people. I don't pass on going to clubs where I'll definitely get laid so I can have pizza with cute straight girls, and I don't rely on my own hand to take care of myself when I'm looking hot as hell and it's plenty early to call up any of my fuckbuddies.\n \n I don't like the implicit suggestion here that girls are only worth hanging around with if they're up for sex."
July 2, 2016 –
29.0% "I get far too much ass for me to get this worked up about one girl.\n \n *twitch*"
July 2, 2016 –
33.0% "Frankie just got pwned by Samara and I am so glad."
July 2, 2016 –
36.0% ""That was me making sure you're a good enough kisser to make up for the fact that I won't be kissing anyone else."\n \n Ughhhh. Why. Why would you say that?"
July 2, 2016 –
51.0%
July 2, 2016 –
63.0% "Almost done and I still have no idea what I think. I'm torn between liking what this book was trying to do and what it could have been and loathing Frankie and the infinite garbage that comes out of her mouth. :("
July 2, 2016 –
74.0% "I do find it a little unrealistic that Samara wouldn't have wanted any kind of protection or STD tests given that Frankie is very sexually active with several different partners (partners who aren't exclusive with Frankie, either)."
July 2, 2016 –
83.0% ":|"
July 2, 2016 –
100.0%
July 2, 2016 – Finished Reading
July 10, 2016 – Shelved as: urr-botms

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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RedL. ahahaah god, I found the sex scenes lacking!


Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell I read a lot of books with really bad sex scenes, so these were downright stellar in execution by comparison. :P


RedL. Nenia wrote: "I read a lot of books with really bad sex scenes, so these were downright stellar in execution by comparison. :P"

Ok, that is true, they are better written than a lot of awkward stuff out there, but I still found them a bit of a letdown and vague to a certain extent. The first time of Samara was pretty sad for me, but I notice other people found the scenes sexy too. Mah,


RedL. Nenia wrote: "I could not believe Sam's complete 180 post-sex though. I mean WOW."

you mean the crap she feeds Frankie about sex being just fun?


RedL. Nenia wrote: "YESSS. EXACTLY.

I was like, "Where in the blue hell did THAT come from?""


At first I thought she was so hurt after Frankie's no-show that she had decided to leave her anyway, just wanted to experience sex with her first. Then I thought she was clearly testing her, because it was so out of character...and Frankie, of course, failed. It was pretty evident she thought that's what Frankie really wanted and was trying to release her, at the same time hoping Frankie would actually fight for her.


message 8: by sraxe (last edited Jul 02, 2016 11:45PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

sraxe I really hated that Samara threw that in Frankie's face afterwards. I didn't like Frankie at all, but I dislike when one character makes a decision and then gets mad that the other character agreed to it. (Like books in which one person keeps putting the other one off and says that they should just be friends, and when that person agrees, the first person is all "well, I guess they don't like me that much anyway..." FUCK YOU.)

I get what the author was trying to do with Samara wanting to open the relationship up for Frankie, but I found that hard to believe because of how quickly Samara started flirting with other girls and going on dates. She was doing this within TWO WEEKS.


RedL. sraxe wrote: "I really hated that Samara threw that in Frankie's face afterwards. I didn't like Frankie at all, but I dislike when one character makes a decision and then gets mad that the other character agreed..."

My impression was she didn't mean any of that, to be honest, she really was just trying to give Frankie an out while wishing to be contraddicted. And I didn't believe she was REALLY dating either, she did put up a nice show though, which was hurtful :-(


Sarah Yeah, I didn't believe that she really had any dates. The way I saw it, she spontaneously started talking to the bartender and it was just luck that Frankie was there to see them together.


sraxe I would believe that too, but didn't Frankie find out from her friend that she was going on a date with another girl (Nora)? Because she'd been bragging about it to her teammates. So maybe she did put up a show with the bartender, but I still think she went with other girls.


message 12: by RedL. (last edited Jul 03, 2016 05:22PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

RedL. sraxe wrote: "I would believe that too, but didn't Frankie find out from her friend that she was going on a date with another girl (Nora)? Because she'd been bragging about it to her teammates. So maybe she did ..."

She specifically said she didn't hookup with anyone else, the date with the lacrosse team member was just eating and cinema and nothing else. I mean, she might have gone out with a couple more girls, but they were no dates with touching, kissing and the like. I think she mostly did it for the show.


sraxe Oh, I didn't think that she hooked up (or did anything intimate) with anyone else, just that she did date others. But I do see what you're saying with her probably doing it for show. I just don't see how her going out with Nora would've been for show, though? Frankie was away on a trip elsewhere and wouldn't have known about it anyway (unless she took into account that her friend would've told Frankie).

But I just didn't like the behaviour anyway because it was hurtful. If she'd seen Frankie going on dates, then I'd be down for her going out with others (even for show), but since Frankie wasn't doing anything, why was she? (And doing things like flirting with that girl in class, right in front of Frankie.)


Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell I agree - I had liked Samara until that point, and didn't buy the total 180 in her character. Here we have this shy, sweet character who suddenly decides to play with the feelings of the girl she likes? It didn't really fit...

Both characters seemed inconsistent in the way their personalities were written, imho.


message 15: by Ian (new) - rated it 1 star

Ian Wood who's so deep in the closet that she's got one foot planted firmly in Narnia

LOL! Loved that!


Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell Ian wrote: "who's so deep in the closet that she's got one foot planted firmly in Narnia

LOL! Loved that!"


Thank you, haha! I'm glad. :D


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