BOOK REVIEW ~ LAST WILL & TESTAMENT BY DAHLIA ADLER

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.
But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.
Until he does.
Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.
Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

This book ranks high on my list of favorite NA romances. Though it has clichéd tropes (what NA book doesn’t?), the approach and execution was done very well and with ethnically diverse and easy to love main characters, an engaging storyline, and side characters that were both comical and warmed my heart, Last Will and Testament was a big winner for me!
“…life doesn’t give a shit about perfect timing or perfect circumstances; it just happens. And by now, I’ve lived enough to recognize that when something pretty damn good is coming your way, no matter how inconvenient, you should just fucking embrace it while you still can.”
What makes this book stand out from the typical NA romance is the strong heroine Lizzie Brandt. I can’t tell you just how refreshing it is to read about a heroine who actually deserves the title of female lead and doesn’t instantly turn into a giggler and a pile of mush when she meets the hero. She’s gutsy, bold, and snarky, but she has her fair share of flaws. I love how well-rounded her character is, and she’s everything a normal 18-year old college girl would be.
When she learns that both her parents passed away in an accident, Lizzie starts to realize there’s a lot more at stake than just her own needs: she has two younger brothers to take care of along with all the things her parents left behind, and she can’t afford to slack off in school any longer.
The one guy who has the potential to help her out of the mess and at the very least tutor her is her history TA, Connor Lawson. As I have an extreme weakness for intelligent and brainy heroes, Connor made me swoon at every moment. He’s nerdy, righteous, and so thoughtful, and goes far and beyond to help Lizzie. Though there’s no insta-love, subconsciously these two characters can’t help but want to be near each other and because they have totally opposite personalities, it was SO fun to see them clash and banter.
“Whose work are you ripping apart?
Yours. Constantine VI is best known for being the son of Constantine V? Really?
Best is subjective.”
As for the side characters, Lizzie’s younger brothers melted my heart! I loved seeing them interact with her and Connor and their naïveté was endearing. Several of their conversations gave my heart a squeeze and some had me smiling like a fool.
“I don’t know how to…I don’t know what I’m doing. I just know I like hanging out with you guys, and I’m crazy about your sister okay?”
“Gross. Aren’t you her teacher?”
Because of the forbidden nature of Lizzie and Connor’s relationship, there’s an expected amount of angst and drama but regardless of all the stolen moments and secrets they do stay strong and their feelings for each other never waver.
I did find some things to be a little inconsistent, like how a bright high school valedictorian could fall so, so low in college. I didn’t really buy into that part of Lizzie’s character and in addition the author does delve into the past a lot but not much development is seen there, so there’s a slight disconnect. It didn’t bother me too much though because Lizzie and Connor made such a great couple and I was entertained by their relationship dynamic and invested in their story. It speaks volumes to how much I enjoyed this book when I say that as a reader with a very short attention span, I just had to finish this book in one sitting and I actually wanted to continue to read it instead of watching my favorite anime show.
Last Will and Testament is a NA romance standalone and the first book in the Radleigh University series. The next book focuses on a side character.