Title: Broken at Love (Whitman University #1)
Author: Lyla Payne
Release Date: March 12, 2013
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When a knee injury ends twenty-year-old Quinn Rowland’s pro tennis career, he’s not only dumped by his hot Russian girlfriend but ordered to attend college by his disinterested billionaire father. A rich kid who’s not used to being disappointed by life, Quinn and his sociopathic half-brother Sebastian create a frat house game intended to treat girls how they see them—as simple game pieces to be manipulated for their pleasure.
College sophomore Emilie Swanson knows Quinn’s reputation—after all, he did send one of her sorority sisters into therapy earlier in the semester—but the game and his charm bring them closer together and soon she starts to believe there’s more to Quinn than people think.
But what if the more is something darker than a game of toying with emotions and breaking hearts?
Quinn and Emilie might be falling for each other, but there are secrets he’s not ready to tell—and lifestyle changes he’s reluctant to make. She willingly stepped on the court, but if Emilie finds out she started out as nothing as a pawn in Quinn and Sebastian’s twisted game, she might never forgive him.
To his surprise, Quinn finds that he might finally care about someone more than he cares about himself…even if that means letting Emilie walk away for good.
I have never hated a book character like I did Quinn after reading that first chapter. Seriously, what a jackass! That whole game of his just reeked of bad taste and insensitivity, and the callous way he treated all those girls grated at me. In fact, I wanted to somehow reach into my reading device, grab him by the collar, and punch him (and his half-brother Sebastian too while we're at it) because what he was doing was just goddamn awful. I mean, a little part of me can see why Quinn was so pissed off at life, given that his tennis career ended prematurely, and as a result, he was dumped by someone whom he thought loved him, but that does not give him the right to play that fucked up game. God, I hated him. I really did.
Well, I didn't hate him throughout reading the entire book. After learning more about Quinn - how he viewed life, how he viewed himself, and how he thinks of the game as something that gets him through some of the more painful weeks of his life, my hate quickly morphed into pity mixed with tinges of pain. Payne did a great and thorough job of peeling the layers off the character of Quinn - it was fleshed out, and we get to see him at his worst, and we ultimately slowly come to terms as to why the way he is. Slowly but surely, I understood him and why he did certain things. I may not condone all of them, but I did understand where he was coming from.
Of course, Quinn doesn't count on someone like Emilie blindsiding him. Somehow, she sees all through the bullshit, and she doesn't act like he expects her to. Everything starts off as a game, but that quickly changes. Emilie's the only one who actually cares, and that throws Quinn off. He doesn't feel like he deserves someone like her, and he does all he can to push her away, because he thinks he can never be good enough for her. Emilie doesn't give up on him easily though, and that's what I love the most about this book. Sometimes, what a broken person needs is someone who will have faith on him or her, and that was what Emilie was to Quinn. Even though it would have been so easy to walk way, Emilie stands by Quinn, and lets her know just how much she believes in him.
I loved Broken at Love but while reading it, everything felt a bit rushed. I guess that has something to do with the timeline, given that the major plot points occurs during the four tennis grandslam tournaments, and these tournaments are months apart. It also bothered me that Quinn practically never stood up to Sebastian, even though it was adamant that he was getting tired of Sebastian's many schemes. He could have gotten out of Sebastian's thumb if he had tried hard enough, but he was content enough to feel sorry for himself instead of actually trying.
All in all, this was a pretty easy read. I enjoyed reading about both Emilie and Quinn, and I loved the ending - it was spectacularly done! The dual POVs also enriched the story, and while I wish I could have learned a little more about both characters (I learned enough but I just honestly wanted to get to know them more!), I was ultimately satisfied with this novel.
Rating: 3.5 Stars