This book had been sitting on my TBR list for quite a long time. I am a big fan of M. Robinson’s work. After reading ‘El Diablo’, I knew that I needed to read ‘The Good Ol’ Boys’ series. ‘Complicate Me’ is the first book in that series and it does not disappoint. I loved this angsty, coming of age romance.
Unlike the other books I’ve read by this author, this isn’t a “dark” read. However, don’t mistake that for a lack of emotion or tension. What this book lacks in kink, it makes up for in angst.
Alex, aka “Half-pint”, grows up in a small, close-knit community. As an only child, she plays with the older sons of her parents’ friends. A few years younger, she follows them around everywhere they go and inserts herself into their group. She is “one of the boys” and they look after her.
As they grow up, their relationships change. As the boys indulge in their hedonistic desires, Alex becomes “the child” in the background. The boys are older and are discovering girls, beginning to date and explore their sexuality.
Alex is prevented from experiencing many of the normal rites of passage as she grows a little older. The boys make sure of that. They protect her fiercely, preventing any romantic inclinations that other boys might have toward Alex. They keep her sheltered, even as they fool around with anything in a skirt.
Unlike the other boys, Lucas has never viewed Alex as a sister. They have a special relationship. He is her “Bo”. Lucas loves Alex, but knows that she is too young to act on it. The fact that Alex is off-limits is something that he is frequently reminded of by the other boys.
Instead, Lucas does what is expected of him. He hooks up with the other girls in town that are his age. Alex is forced to watch as Lucas sows his wild oats all over town.
These two never seemed to be able to get on the same page. The timing was never right. Over and over, they broke each others’ hearts. It was a sweet torture to read their story.
As I listened to their story, I empathized with Alex. M. Robinson did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of young love and first heartbreak. The emotions were raw and so real they were almost tangible. I was immediately transported back to my teenage years, remembering the emotional highs and lows of youth that gradually fade over time with the loss of innocence.
There were so many times that I was furious with the decisions that these two made, but I couldn’t quit listening. Lucas, in particular, made some insensitive decisions that damaged his relationship with Alex. Despite his claim to be in love with Alex, Lucas spent a lot of time choosing other girls over her. They spent a lot of time hurting one another before they figured things out.
I absolutely loved this angsty, emotional, coming of age love story. There was plenty of heartache, but it only made this book all that much more addicting. I fell in love with all of the characters. I will definitely be continuing this series.