When Joss Met Matt by Ellie CahillWhen Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Published February 2015
Genres: New Adult
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.

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Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

When Jocelyn Kiel met Matt Lehrer, she had just broken up with her high-school sweetheart, and the whole thing left a bitter taste in her mouth. Together, Matt and Joss come up with a theory that to forget about your last relatinship, you need Sorbet-Sex to cleanse your palate and start afresh to move on to the next course. After hearing about a few of Joss’ failed attempts to find a sorbet candidate, Matt offers her his services.

The two of them then turn this into a real standing arrangement with written rules, and follow through with their own custom friends-with-benefits version for the next 7 years, following and nursing each other through failed relationships and heartbreaks, until sorbet sex seems to be the only thing that they are looking forward to…

What I loved about this book:

  • Nice writing, including flashbacks alternating between “now and then” which keep the readers on their toes (but also quite frankly frustrated because they want to know more)
  • Interesting concept (yet poor execution of it)

What I felt needed improvement:

  • No steamy scenes, but the main characters are quite promiscuitive and sleep around a lot…
  • The story becomes very redundant
  • Some dating stories were just over the top

“If dating is like doing the crossword, I’ve been writing in pencil and Matt was my eraser. Now, all of a sudden, I’ve got The New York Times Sunday Edition and a permanent marker.”

I really didn’t appreciate this book – which started out as a normal foreseeable friends-to-lovers story – mainly because I couldn’t identify with the characters. They a started out like your average main characters, but then move more and more into the wrnong direction – at least that’s not the direction I would have wanted them to go.

I would not say that they were promiscuous, but it seemed that throughout the (what was it, seven or eight years?) that the book covers, both Joss and Matt have had countless sexual encouters and well, that’s not even the worst. Joss makes mistake over mistake (doesn’t learn from them), and takes the whole Sorbet agreement so seriously (or looks forward to is so much) that she is with some of her boyfriends only out of convenience and is  reluctant to go all the way them (relationship-wise at least). She doesn’t fight for the person when things turn bad, or at the slightest little flaw, she leaves them. Then, she’s also with guys she doesn’t actually like. How sick is that?

Of course, you can guess why she does this. Not just becuase the sorbet sex soothes her ego, as she says.

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But since Sorbet Sex can only happen when both partners are available, Joss would become freakishly crazy and jealous when she’s not getting it, especially when it turns out that Matt is in a relationship that could potentially become something more. That’s when she starts acting like a seven-year old child, and that did annoy me to death.

“I always figured it would be me who found my perfect guy first. Matt wouldn’t have cared if I cancelled the arrangement, but it makes me feel like a loser that he has Meghan, and I just broke up with Martin.”

So really, both main characters, but especially Joss really seemed completely lost and stupid. And I just found it ridiculous that both characters would never really admit to their feelings. And even worse, Joss actually hurts Matt on several occasions.

“Why don’t you want me?”
“You’re just…” I shrugged. “You’re not my type, I guess.”

I can’t really criticize the writing in When Joss Met Matt, because I think it was all skillfully done, and if it wouldn’t have been for the flashbacks between now and then, which hinted exactly at what was going to happen and helped keep me on my toes, I definitely wouldn’t have finished the book. We get to experience the story from Joss’ point of view only, which unfortunately means we get to witness every single one of her relationships, however weird and over-the-top they might be (we get the odd guy that needs punching in the groin to get aroused, the guy that openly has a girlfriend on the side, the guy that’s 10 years older…). It’s probably the first time I wasn’t unhappy that there were no graphic steamy scenes in a book, because frankly this book would have been full of it.

And that bring us back to the big problem of When Joss Met Matt: the content and the ridiculousness of the characters. I have nothing against friends-with-benefits stories, but this one is just void of any normal reasoning and full of unnecessary drama. The whole book is just about sex-scenes, and doesn’t really (at least not until the end of the book) emphasize the relationship that Joss and Matt have as friends. It actually feels like they are only casual friends, not best friends…

It was an interesting read and I serioulsy hoped it would pick up in the end, but it just didn’t…

Detailed Rating
2 Stars
3 Stars
4 Stars
All the feels
1 Stars
Overall: two-stars