Julia James has made a career of being single. Her self-help books have helped millions learn to be happy without a man. Her fame, fortune, and future all depend on her staying happily single. When her latest book, 101 Ways to Cheat at Solitaire, is about to hit shelves, the unthinkable happens.
A picture of Julia and a gorgeous out-of-work actor hit the papers. The papers speculate the queen of single has finally found a man. Some women think Julia’s hot romance shows that anyone can find a man and happiness. Other women think that Julia has betrayed all single women. As the debate rages on, Julia’s credibility and book sales hit rock bottom. In order to save her reputation and hide from the press, Julia heads to her home in Oklahoma. The only problem is that the hot actor has decided to hide with her.
Cheating at Solitaire is a fast-paced, fun romance that takes a humorous look at falling in love. Julia is a relatable character who worries about her weight, her reputation, and how to stay on top of the game. She hides her many insecurities and has perfected being alone. Julia clearly does not know how to handle having a hot man around. The interaction between Julia and Lance is humorous and heart-warming. Even though the story focuses on their complicated relationship, it doesn’t follow the typical romantic format.
Julia’s family is full of interesting characters who add depth to the story and highlight the importance of supporting family. Although Ally Carter has made her name writing teen fiction, her debut novel Cheating at Solitaire is aimed at adults. Nevertheless, the easy-to-read story is still appropriate for teens who are fans of Ally Carter. Cheating at Solitaire doesn’t have the same intrigue as her teen novels, but for readers looking for a funny, flirty romance the story hits the target.
- When a picture of Lance and Julia appears in the newspaper, several people “congratulated him on ‘getting some of that.’”
- Julia was admiring how Lance looked in a suit when, “like a magnet, her hand was drawn to a piece of nonexistent lint. Her fingers lingered a little longer than she had intended, and Lance suddenly grabbed her wrist. He put his other arm around her waist and pulled her lightly to him. Electric sparks sizzled up and down her spine.”
- There is a rumor that Julia is pregnant.
- Lance asks Julia if he can kiss her. She gets upset and leaves.
- Lance covers Julia’s mouth so she will stop talking. When he moves his hand away, “she bit—hard. . . Lance moved away from her and studied the red semicircle that surrounded the knuckle on his pinkie.”
- The paparazzi tried to take a picture of Julia. “. . .the photographers closed in, pinning her with no escape. Desperate, she grabbed a makeup case from the luggage cart and swung it at the offending light. She heard a crash and a crunch like breaking glass. Feeling the rhythm, she swung again and again.”
- A man shoves Julia against a wall. “She crashed and felt her elbow bang sharply. . .” Lance steps in, and the man leaves.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Lance goes into a restaurant and approaches a woman he does not know. He thinks that he’s “looking at the kind of woman a normal man would probably only approach if he was drunk or on a dare.”
- Lance and Julia attend a party where “free booze” is served.
- Myrtle, a neighbor, drinks “judging by the number of whisky bottles Myrtle hauls to the curb on recycling days.” Lance runs into her while she is drunk. “Myrtle was sloshed. She wasn’t stumbling or slurring her words like a cheap, once-in-a-blue-moon drunk. Instead, she had the body control of a full-fledged alcoholic.”
- A drunk neighbor thinks Lance is a stripper.
- Profanity is used occasionally. Each word is used once or twice. Profanity includes ass, crap, damn, shit, and hell.
- A woman tells Julia that her son’s “sorry SOB of a father ran off.”
- A man calls Julia a bitch.
- Julia’s aunt “feels like bitching.”
- Lance is “grateful that God had granted him naturally straight teeth and a better-than-average metabolism.”
- Julia “said a silent prayer of thanks” that no one noticed her friend wearing the same dress as her.