The Pledge by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari – Jenn’s Review

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Laura Ward’s PAST HEAVEN is a favorite of mine, and I couldn’t wait to see what she came out with next.



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?

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“Fresh start. New beginning.”

That is the premise of The Pledge, co-written by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari. We meet Taren and Alec as they are both looking to start their lives over in college. Taren and Alec have history together, and it’s not one with a happy ending.

The Pledge is told in alternating POVs, and this was really a great way to get into both of their heads. I think if I only had one side of the story, it wouldn’t have been enough for me. Taren is using college to break out of her shell, and escape the girl everyone thought she was in high school. Alec is using it to try and break away from his horrible father, and do something that is not required and expected of him. Alec is looking to branch out and discover who he is without all of the pressure and demands.

The writing is outstanding. It flows beautifully, which is not something that you always find with co-written books. You cannot tell one authors voice from the other. The pace was steady and the secondary characters brought a lot to the story. Alec’s friends were really funny and each scene with them was kicked up a notch. Taren’s friend Julie drove me a bit crazy, and even though she wasn’t the villain of the story, I kept yelling at Taren not to listen to her. The sex scenes were exactly what they needed to be for this story.  They had the perfect balance of sweet and steamy.

This was a “read from start to finish without a break” book. When I started it, I knew I only had enough time to get a few chapters in. Well, I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. I just could not walk away without getting the whole story. Taren and Alec have a lot of issues, as do all college students. They didn’t know exactly what they wanted from life, or even how to get it, but what they did know was that they wanted each other. They worked at a relationship that didn’t come easy to them. It was a relationship that was filled with trust issues and misunderstandings, but what new relationship isn’t? What matters is how you get to that other side, and watching Alec and Taren fight to get there was just beautiful.

“Second chances don’t change the past. They just prove we can learn from our mistakes.”

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