Book Review

Girl Least Likely to Marry by Amy Andrews

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Title: Girl Least Likely to Marry
Author: Amy Andrews
Publication Info: Harlequin Kiss 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4592-5590-6
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book The Girl Least Likely to Marry The Girl Least Likely to Marry is a delightfully lighthearted, funny contemporary romance with a heroine who is a socially inept nerdy scientist.  Think ‘Sheldon’, from “The Big Bang Theory”, but not as inconsiderate or mean – just someone who learns social rules by rote memory instead of intuition.  Even though this book had some tropes I normally disliked, they were all played for such light-hearted comedy that I was completely charmed.

Cassie is a scientist who is extremely logical and who relies on her friends to instruct her in how social cues and behavior work.  I don’t recall Cassie ever being labeled with anything, but her behavior is typical of somebody with a spectrum disorder and she has a few other issues that surface later in the book as well.  Cassie is at a non-wedding (a wedding was cancelled at the last minute at the end of a previous book, but they are having the party anyway).  At this non-wedding, Cassie meets Tuck, an ex-football player.  She is instantly madly in lust with him and is both confused and appalled by the attraction.  Cassie assumes that Tuck, who is a Southern jock, must be dumb, and when he senses this he plays right along, confusing Pi with a dessert, for instance, while they dance and flirt at the non-wedding.

But Tuck is, in fact, no dummy, as Cassie’s friends inform her the next day.  In fact, he’s quite an intellectual, with a summa cum laude degree in maths.  And Cassie can’t stop thinking about him.  Her friends convince her to try a fling, leading to this hilarious and sexy passage.  It’s pretty long, so I’m condensing it somewhat to give you the general feel, no pun intended. 

Cassie shows up in Tuck’s hotel room to ask for sex, explaining, “I find myself unable to concentrate on my work, and Gina suggested that, because I’m a female in my sexual prime, my libido is demanding to be…serviced, and that a spot of copulation…might be the solution to my problem”.  After a hilarious and sexy conversation, this happens:

“So,” he murmured, his fingers dropping from Cassie’s sleeve to stroke up and down her arm, “would you like the standard copulation package or one of the many variations I offer?”

Cassie pulled her arm away as an army of goose bumps marched across her skin and a seductive waft of Tuck flared her nostrils.  “Oh, I think the standard will be fine…I still have a paper to get back to.  No time for variations.”

“Okay”, he said…”Long, sweet, slow loving it is.”

“That’s your standard?” she asked, her voice squeaky.

Tuck shrugged.  “I have high standards.”

Needless to say, the more Cassie and Tuck enjoy the standard copulation package, the more she wants to be with him.  And Tuck loves being with a smart woman who likes him for himself (or at least, for his pheromones – Cassie has a major attraction to his pheromones).  Tuck is getting over a career-ending injury and a divorce, and he has coped by enjoying casual relationships with many women, but they tend to be interested in him for his status and money.  Cassie doesn’t care about money except inasmuch as it helps her do science.  And she doesn’t care about sports, or fame.  What she cares about is reconciling her newfound pheromone obsession with her need to focus on her science career.  And somewhat to the surprise of both Cassie and Tuck, they enjoy just spending time together, not just having sex.

Cassie and Tuck are made for each other because they are both wickedly intelligent, because her career has highly specific demands and his is flexible, and because they share interests.  But above all, Cassie and Tuck are great together because Tuck is impossible to offend.  Every time Cassie does something that would irritate, or possibly infuriate, another man, Tuck finds it to be hilarious.  He’s not patronizing – he has huge amounts of respect for Cassie’s inner strength and intelligence and honesty.  He’s just immune to insult (although woe betide the tabloid that insults his girlfriend).

I have to say that insta-lust is one of my least favorite tropes, but in this book, I found it to be absolutely charming.  I think this is because it is so clearly played for humor.  Cassie is attracted to Tuck’s smell, but she never tries to compare it to anything.  I’m rather attracted to my husband’s pheromones so I sympathize when characters say they like the scent of their partner, but then they usually go on to say something like “he smelled like sweat and diesel oil and man” and I’m all, “WTF?”  Also, “Ewww!”  But Tuck doesn’t smell like anything in particular.  He just has that subtle chemical thing going for him that speaks directly to Cassie’s chemical receptors.  Watching the normally robotic Cassie go all googly eyed about it is very funny and endearing.

The book also subverts some tropes in ways I thought were refreshing.  This is the kind of book where at some point someone realizes that they have to give up their career, or re-think their career.  Spoiler alert – Tuck happens to have a flexible, work from home career.  If Cassie needs to go to Antarctica for months, he’ll miss her, but he can deal.  The Antarctica prospect does give him pause, but he adjusts to the idea pretty quickly.  If she needs to go somewhere else for years, he can go with, especially if she’s going someplace with Wi-Fi.  He values her dreams and her work ethic and her commitment.  She doesn’t have to run off of the plane and say, “Tuck!  I choose YOU!”  It’s more like he helps her pack.

I appreciated the fact that the heroine has mental health issues that she treats with both behavioral techniques and medication – and that the magical power of luuurve does not mean that she no longer needs meds.  I realize that there is infinite diversity in what techniques people find effective to treat mental health conditions, and I also realize that over-medicating can be a serious problem.  But I also think that under-medicating can be a problem, and it bothers me enormously when people assume that you can snap out of mental illness, or treat it without meds all the time, regardless of the nature or severity of the illness.  The scene in which Cassie explains why she needs medication is powerful and Tuck has the good sense, and sensitivity, not to push the issue (or, for once, laugh off the issue) when he realizes how damaging her condition can be.

I felt a little nit-picky about a few things.  For instance, Cassie thinks there is no evolutionary or scientific reason for love, but I reviewed several books about the science of sex and love and Cassie should know that scientists have many ideas about why we might experience love and she certainly should be aware of the research that points to orgasms as a helpful health thing. 

Also, her friends tell Cassie that she should watch more romantic comedies and less science fiction so she can learn about romance.  Please.  Cassie is a Star Trek fan.  There’s lots of romantic love (not to mention camaraderie, familial love, and casual sex) in Star Trek

But this is petty stuff.  This book swept me right off my feet.  It was so damn cute, but it also had enough serious emotional content that I was invested in the characters, not just mildly entertained.  Apparently this is part of a series (The Wedding Season) but although I was clearly missing some context I didn’t have any trouble reading this as a stand-alone.  It was just the light confection I was craving during a busy, tiring week.


Girl Least Likely to Marry is currently FREE CHEEZY BREAD FREE! It's available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Elyse says:

    Ohhh I want to read this now sooo bad

  2. 2
    Amy K says:

    Anyone else spend the morning reading this? 

    You were right, it was damn cute! At times, it had the feel of Big Bang fanfic, but not in a bad way. Does Big Bang fanfic exist? Must research.

    Anyway, thanks for the review! It was a lovely way to spend the morning.

  3. 3
    Pheebers says:

    One thing—the author repeatedly spelled Ithaca as “Ithica.”  This wasn’t a fictional town, they clearly said it was the home of Cornell…and it grated on me every time I read it.  Otherwise, it was a light and fun book.

  4. 4
    Tam says:

    Pheebers, that bugged me too. 

    I have to say, I was a bit put-off by the heroine repeatedly referencing her genius IQ levels.  Two of my siblings have tested into Mensa with wickedly high IQs, and they’re both pretty dismissive of their shiny numbers; for them, official IQ tests were just like a sudoku game that you finish and then promptly forget about.  I’m pretty sure they don’t walk around thinking about how they’re technically geniuses all the time.

  5. 5
    Sasha N. says:

    I loved this book- such a breath of fresh air!  The only thing that bugged me was the smelling thing got a little much- I started wondering if I was in a paranormal:)

  6. 6
    Pheebers says:

    I found the genius IQ mentioning annoying but not unbelievable—especially if you consider her socially awkward.  I have lots of friends way smarter than I who can be pretty hung up on their “smarticles.” 

    The smelling thing didn’t bother me too much because it reminded me of one of my favorite series—the Princess Diaries.

  7. 7
    Heather S says:

    You won me over at “Cassie is a Star Trek fan”. Everything I know about real love and relationships, I learned from watching Kirk and Spock. Everything they do is motivated by love for their friends and fellow crewmembers, the Enterprise, and (most of all) each other. “Kirk and Spock are married” is the worst-kept secret in Star Trek.

    So glad I got this book gratis. Now I HAVE to read it.

  8. 8
    CarrieS says:

    I don’t know anybody just like Cassie, but I have serval friends and acquaintances who very much define themselves in terms of their intelligence – not IQ numbers (Cassie should know how unreliable IQ tests are!)  but in terms of being in Mensa, or being in intellectual careers (physics, etc) or otherwise just REALLY making it clear that they want me to know that they are smart.  It’s not even bragging.  When I tell people who I am, I want people to know that I have a kid and a dog and two cats, and they tell me who they are, they want me to know that they have a kid and one dog and two cats and also they are REALLY SMART.  Which they are.

  9. 9
    leftcoaster says:

    Wow. This is one of those times you wonder if you read the same book. I found her portrayal of a lady nerd so off it bordered on offensive. Here’s what a write when Sarah posted the book was free:

    I read “Girl Least Likely to Marry” last night even though the first couple of chapters pissed me off so badly that I almost didn’t finish it. The female scientist is written SO POORLY I was nearly speechless with the RAGE! I’m pretty sure this author doesn’t even know any female scientists or if she does, she hates them. I feel like it was a clumsy, stereotype laden cartoon of what she thought female scientist would be if the author came of age in the 50’s or 60’s.

    The heroine is completely non-sexual until she meets the hero and his magic wang and so focused on her goals and objectives that she is actually hurtful to the people around her, plus a really crappy dresser who doesn’t even know how to put on lipstick (the horror) with a little Spock “but that would be illogical” thrown into the mix. Of course the minute she touches the hero she is consumed with a crazy attack of INSTALOVE. But it is so confusing…what is this strange feeling? What could it be? She doesn’t believe in love, of course, so it can’t be that. Argggggggh.

    I am a nerd lady scientist who obtained a doctorate in a “hard” science and while I’ll give you the crappy dresser part, the rest was so far from my own experience or through my interactions with other female graduate students and post-docs that the book stupefied me.  I had to finish it just so I could see how terrible it was. In a way it would have been better if it continued down it’s terrible path and made her give up her career aspirations for LUUUURVE. But no,  so she gets to have orgasms and her PhD. I’m so relieved.

  10. 10
    leftcoaster says:

    Also, I can’t type for shit on my phone. Obviously! Damn auto correct and its apostrophe placement. Almost as annoying as the book.

  11. 11
    Jess says:

    @leftcoaster, I totally agree with you. I’m not a scientist but my husband is and so are many of our friends. They are brilliant but that doesn’t affect their ability to be socially capable. The “Sheldon Cooper” version on scientists is one of the things that will always turn me off a book.

  12. 12
    Pheebers says:

    I thought the asexuality part was extremely unrealistic.  The nerdy part…well, speaking as an astronomy major who spent a little bit of time in Ithaca…believable.  Highly.

    Maybe things are different nowadays, or at different schools, but in my experience we had no clue about style and we did wear those nerd t-shirts in the book :)  25 years later I still wear my glow-in-the-dark constellation sweatshirt….

    Anyway, I did find the whole thing to be hard to buy, but contemporaries are always a harder sell for me.  I usually stick to historicals.

  13. 13
    Amy K says:

    @leftcoaster:I actually felt the opposite about the heroines portrayal. It wasn’t hard for me to believe that she could be an innocent in social situations and/or in the ways of love. I am socially awkward. I have an extremely difficult time meeting people, especially men. I am a scientist, though not nearly a genius. I read romance because I get to see so called ‘normal’ people find love, and that makes me happy. This book was unique in that it portrayed someone a little different, though taken to extremes, who finds love even with her quirks. Pesky details aside, it was a heartening and hopeful short little book that made me smile. Yes, most scientists are probably normal people. But we weirdos do exist!

  14. 14
    Susan says:

    I did something I rarely do—I stopped reading a book. I found the portrayals of all the characters, but most especially the women, unpleasant and offensive. Everything about this book just grated on my nerves, so I stopped reading it and deleted it.

  15. 15
    leftcoaster says:

    @Pheebers, hey, I did say I’d give on the crappy dresser part. :-) @Amy K- I’m with you on reading romance to see the happy endings we don’t always get in real life. Totally. Me too. And I don’t mind portrayals of socially awkward. I love a good nrrrrds in love story. But I guess I don’t do well with the “dumb little smart girl narrative”. I felt like the author really despised her heroine and infantilized her until she got laid. Most socially awkward people I have gotten to know offer a lot more once you know them then how she was portrayed to me. And the smartest people I know (and I probably know a lot) are usually plagued with real doubts about their smarts. The whole imposter syndrome thing. Maybe we just need more scientists in love books to keep us all happy, huh?

  16. 16
    LML says:

    Hey, @Pheebers, I agree completely with your statement “contemporaries are always a harder sell for me.  I usually stick to historicals.”  Do you suppose this is because we don’t have actual experience of the world of the eighteen hundreds (and earlier)?  That’s my theory.

  17. 17
    CarrieS says:

    I didn’t think Cassie was an insulting character, or that she is infantalized or dumb.  She’s not just socially awkward – she has a serious neurological condition.  I found her to be inspiring, because she turns some aspects of her condition into advantages (that’s why I say “condition” as opposed to “disability”) and she uses support systems ranging from friendly advice to medication to manage the aspects of her condition that are more problematic for her.  I have other disabilities and I’m fascinated by how other people manage theirs.  I thought Cassie was admirable and I respected her.

    Having said that, I absolutely agree that we need more varied portrayals of scientists in general and especially more portrayals of women, people of color, LGBT, and other marginalized groups as scientists.  Scientists have just as varied of personalities as any other profession so I hope writers start bringing more variety to the page!

    Nitpicky stuff: 

    The adult I know with an official autism diagnosis also identifies as asexual, so I didn’t have a problem with Cassie being asexual although I thought the part where she suddenly discovers lust was ridiculous – I didn’t mind because it was played as comedy, and I considered it to be non-offensive though unlikely.  On further reflection, I realize that the book could be offensive to people who do identify as asexual, because it suggests that you can be “cured” of being asexual, as if such a thing were possible or even desirable. 

    The person I know also asks her friends to coach her about social situations and social cues and behaviors, much like Cassie does with her friends.  I didn’t always think Cassie’s friends gave her good advice but her turning to them for coaching rang true based on my very limited experience.

    Last thing, I swear:  I LOVE Cassie’s T shirts.  and her underwear!  Her T shirts represented the height of fashion to me.  and I love when she tells Tuck that her friends give her shirts as a joke and she guesses they aren’t sexy, and he says, “Funny can be sexy”.  So true, also Awwwww.

  18. 18
    Sasha N. says:

    Some of the criticisms are certainly valid, but I read Cassie as an Aspie, and being the parent of an Aspie, lots of this made sense.  Including the pervasive focus on the lust once it came to her attention.  She wasn’t totally asexual before, just not very experienced (and with someone who wasn’t very attentive to her needs.)  I like that even though she was very much clueless, she didn’t hesitate to be very direct about what she wanted.

    My favorite part was that he didn’t try to change her.  She dressed up a couple times, but that was with the help of her friends for a couple situations where it was socially appropriate.  Otherwise, she dressed just like herself when she was with the hero.  And he loved her for it.

    Also, she didn’t instantly fall in love, in fact, she had a really hard time identifying her emotions. 

    It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was kind of a fun change from the Pygmalion type story line where the hero transforms the heroine. 

  19. 19
    pamelia says:

    Free?  SOLD!!  Thanks for the recommendation. 
    If anyone else is looking for scientist/geek characters you might want to check out Delphine Dryden’s “The Theory of Attraction” and “The Seduction Hypothesis”.  Those are really sweet and pretty darn sexy stories that seemed to me to be rather inspired by “The Big Bang Theory”.

  20. 20
    DonnaMarie says:

    I have to tell you, the review had me flashing on “Real Genius” more than TBBT, especially the standards line.

    “Can you hammer a six inch spike through a board with your penis?’
    “…Not right now-”
    “A girl’s gotta have her standards.”

    But I think what sold me (and put this on the GBPL reserve list) was the responsible attitude to the use of medications.  My godson is a paranoid schizophrenic w/ a side order of bipolar disorder, and most of the time I feel like his doctors treat him as a science experiment. Between deciding to change his meds without consulting anyone (no, really. His mother put a giant note on the cover of his chart stating that he has adverse reaction to Atavan and yet the doctor perscribed Atavan. Apparantly he wanted to see the giant swollen tongue for himself.) and my godson deciding he doesn’t need meds… It’s been a5 years of Aarrrrrghj! An author who understands the importance of medications and that love doesn’t cure all? I’m in. I mean you don’t stop taking your blood pressure meds or insulin when you fall in love, right?

  21. 21
    Crystal says:

    Free book? Reads like BBT fanfic? Possible ASD heroine? I’ll take that, yes please thank you.

  22. 22
    laj says:

    After seeing an “A” review for GLLTM I downloaded it from the library. OMG!  Truly awful! I stopped reading fairly soon…..the prologue was bad enough…….sequel bait in the effing prologue! 

  23. 23
    rebeccaj says:

    I LOVED this book. Actually the entire series was really good. And even though I could see it coming, I thought it was hilarious when Cassie treated Tuck like he was stupid but he was actually very smart.

  24. 24
    Tam says:

    I suppose this is one of those polarising books – it got deleted from my Kindle right away.  I think I’m more picky about my contemporary romances, although I liked the ‘Sultry with a Twist’ romance I found over here recently.

  25. 25
    MD says:

    Another smart scientist here ;-) I found the “socially awkward” part of the book believable, though it grated, because it feeds too much into stereotypes of “a woman scientist must be unattractive/unsexy”. I had it thrown at me too many times. Since the majority of other women in science are well adjusted and attractive, it can be really annoying when the derogatory stereotype is picked up for the main character. Still, this wasn’t the worst.

    What really bothered me about the book was when in the first chapter the heroine thinks about how her friends transformed her for the wedding by replacing her “shapeless” dress with something super-sexy and making a bunch of other changes.  Because clearly this is a great feminine mystery!

    There are people in my environment who won’t wear makeup, or will only wear jeans and geeky t-shirts, or won’t otherwise be bothered with traditional beauty and pampering. It is never because they are clueless or cannot choose for themselves. It is because, like Cassie, they have a notion of what they values are, and often will select clothes that require minimal care and will choose not to spend their time on beauty treatments. I think I would have found Cassie much more believable, and the book much less annoying, if it stuck with that attitude – rather than making Cassie seem incapable and therefore inferior.

  26. 26
    Pheebers says:

    @ LML exactly!  I think that’s why I like historicals so much more.

    @ MD, I wish I had written what you did.  It’s really like the librarian getting contacts and letting her hair down—most librarians aren’t the most fashion-aware people on the planet, but neither are zillions of other people, and feeding the stereotype is just too much.

    I will, however, admit to wishing on occasion (mostly in high school and college) that I had a fairy godmother of a friend to dress me gorgeously and make me sexy and beautiful.

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