The Recruit by Fiona Palmer

The Recruit by Fiona Palmer(Cover picture courtesy of NetGalley.)

From one of Australia’s Queens of Romance comes the debut in a brand new YA series about secrets, strengths, and what lies beneath the surface.

Jasmine Thomas may not be completely normal, but she’s a pretty typical seventeen-year-old girl. She hates the rich mean kids, loves her best friends, and can’t wait to get out of school each day. Her spare time is spent at The Ring — a boxing gym where she practically grew up — learning karate, boxing and street fighting. So, yeah, Jaz can kick some major butt.

Life seems pretty normal until the day Ryan Fletcher enters her gym…mysterious and hot with heaps of bad boy charm. Sure, she checks him out. Who wouldn’t? But what doesn’t show on his gorgeous abs are secrets and lies that dominate his very grown-up world. Now Jaz has to figure out just how far she is willing to go to know more. Could Ryan really be offering the life-fulfilling life path she’s always dreamed of?

[Full disclosure: I was approached by the publisher and accepted a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I have to be honest here when I say that contemporary YA romance is generally not my thing.  It never really has been and likely never will, but with books like The Recruit I’m always willing to try.  So that’s why I accepted the invitation to read and review Fiona Palmer’s newest release.

I was both pleasantly surprised and slightly disappointed by The Recruit. On one hand, I was surprised that the romance element was actually somewhat realistic and that the heroine was well fleshed-out.  On the other hand, it was disappointing that I could predict almost every supposed plot twist throughout the whole novel.  First I’ll talk about the characters.

Jaz isn’t your typical teenage girl.  She likes to kick butt and is actually very good at it.  Normally this would be a Mary Sue alert, but who wouldn’t be good when they’ve spent their whole childhood learning how to fight?  It’s a realistic progression in that way and it makes Jaz a very interesting character.  She grows throughout the book, both in her love of Ryan and in her personal life.  Jaz isn’t sure about life after school but I like how she takes her time to come to her own decision and doesn’t feel pressured to do one thing or the other.  Ryan, the secret agent, is an okay character.  He’s pretty much your typical tortured secret agent but he does have some other qualities that make him a three dimensional character.

The main disappointment for me was the lack of surprises in the plot.  Pretty much everything was hinted at so obviously that you could see the next plot twist coming a mile away.  Another thing I didn’t like was that the plot follows such a typical character arc for this type of novel.  There was nothing new or innovative about the whole thing; most tropes were simply played straight.  The characters are typical of such a novel as well but they were three dimensional so I didn’t mind that aspect.  No, what disappointed me was the predictability of the plot.

Basically, this was an okay book for me.  I would recommend it to some of my friends, but I certainly can’t offer a blanket recommendation for everyone.  Basically, if you like contemporary YA that’s heavy on the romance you’ll probably like The Recruit.  It just wasn’t the best book for me.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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