Title – The Pledge
Authors – Laura Ward & Christina Manzari
Publication Date – July 27, 2015
Series – College Bound, #1
Taren needs a do-over. She’s decided the best way to put the high school bullies behind her is to pledge a Taylor-Swift-lip-syncing, beer-guzzling, sorority. Sisterhood helps Taren find the acceptance she’s always craved, but not the love she needs.
Alec wants freedom. To escape his father’s iron fist and unrealistic expectations, he pledges a campus acrobatics club where he finds that drugs and alcohol aren’t the only ways to get high. His addiction to danger helps him gain his independence, but it comes at a heavy price.
When the two cross paths, Alec fears his undeniable attraction to the party girl just might threaten everything he’s worked so hard to earn. Taren hasn’t forgotten that Alec humiliated her back in high school, but she also can’t deny the chemistry they share.
Alec and Taren have nothing in common, but fate is bound and determined to bring them together. They know falling in love is a risk, and yet it’s too hard to ignore. When their worlds clash and they both end up suffering, will they fight to stay together? Or are some pledges too hard to keep?
I’ve previously read books by both Laura Ward and Christine Manzari so when I heard they would be collaborating, I was super excited. The Pledge was a new adult novel filled with angst and self-growth. These two have delivered a novel full of questions and real-life scenarios which lends an authenticity to the entire story.
“Truth was such a fragile thing, easily bent and broken, impossible to put back the way way it had been.”
The journey of these characters was something extra special, and I loved watching them learn to grow into their own skins. Taren was the geek turned Greek and played the role incredibly well. Getting the glimpses of her past in conversations really helped to build a foundation for readers to understand her actions. She was finding a balance in this life, which felt so appropriate to the age. I really had a strong respect for Alec in this novel. Despite the ability to take the easy road, he chose the path less traveled and followed his heart. He didn’t care about how hard he would have to work, and I think that’s a voice college aged adults don’t listen to enough. However, I could understand how hard he had to work so he was incredibly relatable to me as a person. I became invested because I wanted to see how their choices would affect their lives.
“We’d both made pledges for new lives, and I was positive those pledges could never co-exist.”
For me personally, one of the coolest things about this book was that it took place on the same college campus I attended. It was so much fun to relive memories and see the beauty of where I went to school through these authors’ eyes. The writing was incredibly flawless. Ward and Manzari have different styles, yet complement each other so well that at times, I forgot there were two authors. The storyline flowed effortlessly and smooth. With collaborations, I always worry it will become disjointed, but these two knocked it out of the park.
“Second chances don’t change the past. They just prove we can learn from our mistakes.”
If The Pledge was any indication as to what this duo can do, I definitely look forward to their future novels together. If you’re a reader who loves a little tug of war with a dose of angst, I highly recommend picking up this novel. I loved the romance, the growth, and just the way the characters became their own people. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
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Don’t miss the rest of the College Bound series:
The Color of Us (College Bound #2)
Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.
The first thing Christine does when she’s getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She’s addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.