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No Judgments


No Judgments

Is there anything Meg Cabot can’t do? She has written phenomenally successful stand-alone novels and series for teenagers, younger readers and adults alike. In her new book, she even proves she can cook, including a couple of appealing recipes at the end of the story. Now she’s launching a new series, set on Little Bridge Island, a miniscule island off the coast of Florida, near Key West, which Cabot herself calls home.

Cabot starts off her Little Bridge Island series with a bang, or a gust, in NO JUDGMENTS, as she launches right in with what’s probably the quintessential Floridian source of dramatic potential --- no, not a gator attack, a hurricane. Sabrina “Bree” Beckham has fond memories of visiting Little Bridge Island when she was younger. It’s no wonder, then, that when her life falls apart --- she recently ended a long-term romantic relationship that everyone assumed would lead to marriage, plus she’s had an unwelcome surprise about her own genetic makeup --- she flees to Little Bridge Island for a chance to start over.

"Just like Bree, readers will start to feel at home on Little Bridge Island, and they certainly will look forward to more glimpses into the lives and loves of its inhabitants."

Bree fills her days working at the local diner, taking care of her cat, Gary, and making small paintings of Little Bridge Island’s beautiful scenery. She’s absolutely 100 percent sworn off getting involved with men. And even if she was interested in dating again, Drew Hartwell, the nephew of the diner’s owner, would be about the last one she’d pick. He may be easy on the eyes, but he also has a reputation for parking his pickup truck outside a different woman’s house every night of the week. Bree is not about to sign up for that again.

When a potential Category 5 hurricane seems headed straight for Little Bridge Island, Bree’s relatives and friends back in New York City are begging her to evacuate, even offering to send private planes to fetch her. But Bree is desperate to prove her independence --- and besides, there are people (and animals) on the island who need her. The small group of diehard (or foolhardy) residents who stay behind to weather the storm will need to work together to stay safe, share resources and look out for one another. That includes Bree and Drew, who starts to prove himself not only super handy with a set of tools but also maddeningly kind and thoughtful --- and with a tendency to pull off his shirt and show off his well-built chest and abs at every opportunity. In a life-or-death situation, what’s a girl to do?

Meg Cabot is well-versed in building romantic tension, and that’s true in NO JUDGMENTS as well. The relationship between Bree and Drew feels authentic and builds gradually, despite the condensed chronology of the narrative (the whole thing takes place over just a few days, with the exception of an epilogue that fast-forwards several months). Cabot also begins to build a strong cast of secondary characters in this small, tight-knit community, which will stand her in good stead for subsequent series installments. The dramatic climax may be a bit over the top, as several figures from Bree’s past arrive on Little Bridge Island in what feels like a showdown that’s a little too staged. But Bree’s story has a satisfying narrative arc.

Just like Bree, readers will start to feel at home on Little Bridge Island, and they certainly will look forward to more glimpses into the lives and loves of its inhabitants.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on September 27, 2019

No Judgments
by Meg Cabot

  • Publication Date: September 24, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062890042
  • ISBN-13: 9780062890047