Review of "Trade Me" (Cyclone #1) by Courtney Milan

Milan, Courtney. Trade Me.  [United States]: Courtney Milan, 2015.

eBook | $4.99 USD | ISBN-13: 9781937248475 | 279 pages | New Adult Contemporary Romance

5 stars

I had few expectations going into Trade Me, the first in Courtney Milan’s contemporary series, but I found myself in awe of how she took what seemed at first to be a simple “trading-places/life-isn’t-always-greener-on-the-other-side” premise and turned it into the book that it is, touching on real life personal and world issues in a way that is reminiscent of her style in her historicals.

I knew I would like Tina, but I loved her as I got to know her. She’s the sort of heroine who doesn’t take crap from people, to the point of talking back to an incredibly asshole-ish billionaire who tries to pay her off. And given my own financial woes recently, I thought it was great that this is a topic Tina confronts head-on, even critiquing the stereotypes the wealthy place on recipients of welfare, a subject that has come up again in the political conversation. </p>

<p>I did balk a little when I saw the Blake was a billionaire, and if it were anyone but Courtney Milan, I would have expected the same “rich dude saves poor girl” fantasy so many romances still seem to be pushing. But I like that this was a relationship where they both learned from each other, with Tina learning to take more risks (even if they do end up in chaos!) and Blake gaining some perspective.

It also leads to him confronting some serious demons related to the pressures of trying to run this company, and we see the toll it takes both on him and his father in the book. While these issues are difficult (CW: depictions of disordered eating and the effects of substance abuse), I feel Milan deals with these topics sensitively, and has done her homework on these issues. I also appreciate that, for the most part, it shows that recovery from demons is not magic, and it’s always a work in progress.

This is a wonderful NA romance that perfectly balances humor with the heavier stuff, and despite the change in genre, still feels like a Courtney Milan novel. I recommend it both to any Milan fan who has been reluctant to try it, or to fans of contemporary romance.

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