Wendy Darling's Reviews > Double Clutch

Double Clutch by Liz Reinhardt
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Gosh, this book is so freaking cute, I can't even stand it. We all can use a little romance now and then, but not many contemporary YA love stories stand out as anything particularly memorable, which is why I normally prefer to see them cloaked among werewolves and angels and other such distractions.

Brenna Blixen doesn't need supernatural beings to keep our attention, however. This smart and focused heroine has plenty of drama in her life, what with starting all over again at her school after being abroad for a year. She's also attracted to two very different boys: the arrogant, too-sexy-for-his-own-good Saxon, and the hot but shy Jake. Both boys pursue Brenna with enjoyable focus, and as things heat up in the two different relationships, she discovers that everyone's hiding secrets...and the two boys even have a complicated history of their own.

I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but it quickly became one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Love triangles are rarely well-done, but it's easy to see why Brenna likes both boys in different ways--and why they like her, too. She's smart-mouthed but kind, responsible but spontaneous, and just seems like an all-around nice girl who'd be fun to hang out with. I liked that even though the story is very much centered on the romance, Brenna has a balanced life and cares about things other than just boys. Her parents and friends are great, she thinks about school and about her future, and she doesn't allow herself to be walked all over. Ever.

I love that Brenna goes on blessedly normal dates, sneaks her boyfriend into her room, and tries to be a good person in handling her attraction to these guys without being a boring old goody-goody. One of the things debut author Liz Reinhardt deserves big credit for is that this is probably the most explicit and realistic depictions of teen sexuality I've ever read. It's also HOT. And fun. And the characters actually talk about sex, which is fantastic.

The two boys are also mouth-wateringly adorable. They're both seriously cute, Saxon with his careless demeanor and how he's attuned to Brenna's personality, and Jake with his sweet uncertainty and absolute devotion. (I almost hate to say this, but the name *whispers* Tucker Avery floated into my head more than once...) Neither boy is even close to perfect, though, which makes for some uncomfortable moments and history, but also some fairly realistic ones, including some wince-inducing bluntness from Saxon in particular. I liked that, aside from a number of hot and heavy make-out scenes, there is also unexpected depth and emotion in this story. These characters are layered and feel very real; this book pushed a number of buttons for me, since it makes me terribly sad to hear about kids who don't have enough to eat, as well as incredibly angry when I hear of anyone being mocked for their lack of education or intelligence.

If there's any room for improvement, I'd say that Brenna might be a little too adult sometimes in her thinking and her actions, even though I really enjoyed not wanting to smack the heroine for a change. Jake's past is also perhaps explained away a little too simplistically, and there are a lot of references to films that might be considered a bit dated when they're all taken together. None of this really bothered me all that much, however, as the narrative voice is so fresh and funny and thoroughly winning. It just worked for me as a YA romance in a way that few others have ever done. The sequel, Junk Miles, wasn't quite as successful for me, but this first installment was one that I really enjoyed.

The next time you're in the mood to wriggle your toes over some adorable dates or swoon over some cute guys, consider giving Double Clutch a try! I think most fans of contemporary YA romance will fall in love with it in a big way.

About the Book:

Double Clutch is available for ereaders for just $4.99 for Kindle or as a paperback from Amazon.

That's right, this is a self-published novel, and aside from a couple of minor typos, it's actually more polished than many traditionally published books on the market. Although I do support indie authors, I rarely respond to indie review requests these days since I receive so many. What caught my attention about Liz's note, however, was her warm and personalized approach, her reference of the Oxford comma in her author profile, and my sneaking suspicion that Brenna's name was a nod to the writer Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen. I was right about that reference, and I was right to give this book a chance. I hope that if you're a romance lover, you will, too.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. A review copy was provided by the author.
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Reading Progress

October 14, 2011 – Shelved
November 22, 2011 – Started Reading
November 22, 2011 –
9.0% "This is pretty darned cute so far. :)"
November 22, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 76 (76 new)


message 1: by JJ. (new)

JJ. That sounds promising. Adding it now to my (extensive) to-read list...


Eunice Yeah, this seems pretty nice. I'll add this on my to-read list too. :))


Wendy Darling It's been a really long time since I read a book that was this cute, Jen and Eunice! I can't seem to stop smiling. :)


message 4: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist Oh a great book then! If it makes you smiling...


Wendy Darling Yes! It has a lot of elements that I'd normally dislike in a book (entirely romance-focused, two boys, etc, etc), but the author does a great job of handling them. A fantastic read if you like this sort of thing.


Limonessa I'm glad you liked it! I want to know what happens next.


Racquel A book like this makes you love indie authors right? I wasn't expecting the book to be so good when I read it:D I'm glad you liked it!


Wendy Darling As you know, Lisa, I was a little afraid of starting this, but I'm so glad I finally did! I think I remember your touching on this in your review, but I was pretty surprised by how explicit this is for YA. I'm actually okay with how it was written, though, and in fact I'm kind of pleased to see an author deal with teen sex in such a frank and realistic manner.

Skyla, I would LOVE to see a love triangle--or just a really good romance--with two boys. Or two girls. I think the two girls and a boy thing might be tricky, unless it's from the boy's POV.

What makes you hesitant about this, though? I looked through your shelves, and on first glance, I think you would probably like this one.


message 9: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Tint I like your endorsement Wendy,,, I think this might be a next read for me :)


Wendy Darling It's definitely the best self-pubbed book I've read yet, Racquel! And honestly better than a lot of the traditionally published romances I've read, too.

And yay, Sue! It's totally adorable, I hope you end up enjoying it. It's only $2.99 as an ebook on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Double-Clutch-B...


Racquel I agree with you Wendy, sure this was a little mature & not for the younger YA age group but in the end, it is realistic and as realistic as it gets and that's why I love it! It's nice to see an author actually tackle the subject instead of: "We were kissing and then afterwards we lay together contemplating the goodness of it all..." umm is there no middle? haha that's not how it works xD


Racquel Wendy Darling wrote: "
And yay, Sue! It's totally adorable, I hope you end up enjoying it. It's only $2.99 as an ebook on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Double-Clutch-Bren..."


I just bought the second book 3 days ago and it was the best $2.99 I spent so far :p


Limonessa Completely agree on how teen sex is treated. Finally something different. What did you think of the final twist?


Wendy Darling I don't read a lot of realistic YA either, Skyla. I think those are a lot more difficult to write and to keep engaging than a book that can distract you with all the bells and whistles of a paranormal novel. (Which is why I mostly read paranormal YA.) Even though I have this on my "brain candy" shelf, there's a lot of unexpected depth of emotion and maturity in this book which I think you'd respond to. We've liked a number of the same books that seemed to be a little bit trickier for some other readers.

Yep, exactly Racquel! She did a great job with writing the sex in a way that was both honest and appealing. Just to clarify for anyone reading this, since I won't write my review just yet: there is no acual intercourse in this book. But there's plenty of pretty much everything else.


Nikoline Agreed. It's really, really cute.


message 16: by Nafiza (new) - added it

Nafiza Recommended?


Wendy Darling Lisa--you mean regarding the two boys? I started suspecting about halfway through. :) (view spoiler) What did you think of it?

I'm glad you liked it too, Anne Nikoline! I hope people will find and read this.


Wendy Darling Nafiza: YES. I think you'd love.


message 19: by Donna (new)

Donna I like to read a "feel good" book that is light and cute sometimes. The fact that you say there's a lot of depth of emotion in this book is encouraging. I hadn't really considered reading this one! I can't wait for your full review.


message 20: by Nafiza (new) - added it

Nafiza Added! :D Thanks.


Racquel Wendy Darling wrote: "I don't read a lot of realistic YA either, Skyla. I think those are a lot more difficult to write and to keep engaging than a book that can distract you with all the bells and whistles of a paranor..." Well said! I'm really glad with how everything turned out with the book, I kind of didn't see the shocker in the end coming and it wasn't too ridiculous or overwhelming, I agree((:

Nafiza wrote: "Recommended?" Definitely:D


Wendy Darling Donna, this is something you'll have to read then! I like the occasional fun and fluffy book as long as it's not shallow, and this has a surprising amount of thoughtfulness and genuine emotion. It's also really funny and smart, and I like the way the adults are portrayed in it, too. Brenna herself is awesome. I'd love to hang out with her. :D

And yay! That makes me happy, Nafiza. I look forward to comparing notes. :)


Limonessa Wendy Darling wrote: "Lisa--you mean regarding the two boys? I started suspecting about halfway through. :) [spoilers removed] What did you think of it?

I'm glad you liked it too, Anne Nikoline! I hope people will find..."


Well, somehow I didn't see it coming and I kinda liked it, to be honest. Will you read the next one?


Wendy Darling Lisa O. wrote: "Will you read the next one?"

Most likely, Lisa. One of the things I liked so much about this was that the emotions in this triangle felt very genuine for all concerned. I'm curious whether this can be sustained for a second and a third book without straining everyone's patience. She did a great job with this one, though, so fingers crossed for the next one!

Aw, I'm sorry, Skyla! I've sent a note to Liz to inquire how Canadian readers can get ahold of the book. Will let you know what she says.


message 25: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I feel really curious about this now :)


Wendy Darling I don't think you read a lot of contemporary YA romance, do you Laura? It's hard to get a gauge of whether you'd like this, but this is definitely a good one to try if you're curious, though. :)


Wendy Darling No problem! Hope we'll hear back from her with some options.


Joy (joyous reads) So freaking cute, I can't even stand it. Review to come.

*taps foot* waiting...

:) I have this book. I need to know if I should bump it up.


Wendy Darling Hah, Miss Joy! Sometime this week for sure, when I get a minute. I'm itching to write the review. But yes, I think you should bump it up. :)

Yay Skyla! :) This is an author worth supporting, so I'm glad you got yourself a copy.


Joy (joyous reads) Hah, Miss Joy! Sometime this week for sure, when I get a minute. I'm itching to write the review. But yes, I think you should bump it up. :)

On it! ;)


Wendy Darling I bet you'll have read it and reviewed it before I've even had a chance to put my clothes on!

Enjoy, enjoy. I have no doubt you will. :)


Reynje Beautifully said, as always Wendy :)


message 33: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr You make me want to read this Wendy!


Wendy Darling Hah, do you read plain old YA romance, Shirley? This is really fun if you enjoy a good escapist book every now and then.


message 35: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr Not since Judy Bloom in my teens ;-) I'm tempted Wendy. I really want to be seduced by a straight romance and let my hair down. The price tag looks good too.


Wendy Darling She's an author worth supporting, IMO. Although things better not get too convoluted in the sequel!

Judy Blume, eh? I always laugh when I think of We must...we must...we must increase our bust! I want to re-read those at some point, I wonder how well they hold up.


message 37: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr I was making plans to revisit Judy Blume too! let me know if you decide the same, I'll jump on your train:)


Wendy Darling Ooo, that would be fun! Good books for a readalong. Deenie? Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret? Or something else?


message 39: by Cara (new)

Cara Oh you are so right Wendy. If there is anything that gets me hoppin' mad is when somebody is ridiculed for their amount of eduacation. Intelligence comes in many forms and I just can't believe there is still people out there who will look down at others simply because they do not have the as much education as they do. Sorry that was tagent. *exhale* All that aside what a cute review:D


message 40: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist I don't know. A good romance I enjoy, a love triangle I hate...I am truly sitting on the fence - right in the middle of it.


Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner I am so glad you liked it.


~Tina~ Well said Wendy! I really just loved this one:)


Wendy Darling Thanks Cara. I get upset over anyone looking down on anybody else, really, so I responded strongly to that particular part in this book.

Anachronist--I'm not a big fan of love triangles either, but the author did a really great job with the one in this book. I will say that I just finished the sequel and I'm less enthused with the way it was handled in that one, however, even though I predicted some of the things that happen in it.

Thanks Zemira and Tina! I'm glad to join the fan club. :)


message 44: by Nafiza (new) - added it

Nafiza Have you read the sequel to this?


message 45: by Mayra (new)

Mayra Sold me. Added to my to-read list. :)


message 46: by Rogier (new) - added it

Rogier great review wendy


Limonessa Sad to hear Junk Miles doesn't live up to this one. :(


message 48: by Donna (new)

Donna Wendy, that's how good your reviews are, you have me sitting here considering buying a YA Contemporary Romance which is completely outside of what I like to read. But you just make it sound so entertaining that I might actually do it!


Wendy Darling I have, Nafiza. Unfortunately I wasn't as big a fan of the sequel, but maybe we'll see some of that magic again in the third book.

Hope you enjoy, Mayra!

Thanks Rogier. :)

This is an adorable book, Elena. I was surprised at how frank the sex is in this book, but it's portrayed in a way that doesn't feel at all tacky or forced. No small feat when you're dealing with a love triangle, too!

I know, Lisa. It's weird, I was so jazzed up after writing this review that I decided to read the sequel right away, and I was kind of upset by how disappointing it was. A lot of people still rated that one very highly, though.

Donna, I really don't read that many YA contemps either...but if you're ever in the mood to give one a chance, this one is super cute! :)


Jessica Perfectly said, Wendy! :-)


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