[Book Review] Wallbanger

Wallbanger / Alice Clayton (Powell's Books)

Anyone who's ever lived in an apartment, dorm, or other shared living knows about the joys of thin walls.  Dealing with the frustration of interrupted sleep thanks to one's neighbors almost seems like a right of passage (then again, I was largely an only child, so maybe those with large families are more familiar with noisy 'neighbors').

Caroline's new apartment is fantastic; spacious, clean, conveniently located, all those things people tend to look for in housing.  At least, the apartment is fantastic until 2AM her first night sleeping in her new home when she is woken by her neighbor's enthusiastic nocturnal activities.  The following two nights aren't any better as she is woken again bed frame percussion and introduced to the moans of other women.

Fortunately her neighbor is often out of town, but even if she's not aware of his return, it's always heralded by enthusiastic cries and crashing headboards.  What's a woman to do?  Not only does she have work in the mornings, but she's dealing with the aftermath of some seriously unpleasant assignations that have left her uninterested in dating and with some psychological tangles that prevent her from getting off.  Since Mr. Wallbanger seems oblivious (or uncaring) about the lack of soundproofing, and after one too many nights of interrupted sleep, Caroline beards the lion in its den.

As first meetings go, Caroline and Simon definitely don't get off to a good start.  Simon is arrogant, Caroline enraged, and both a bit frustrated.  But events conspire against them and running into each other seems inevitable, particularly when their best friends pair off.  Social niceties, neighborly encounters, and discovered shared interests bring the two closer together into a close friendship.  Admittedly, you could cut the sexual tension between them with a butter knife, but a friendship all the same.  Do they want to take a risk and try for more?

Wallbanger is a delightful cotton candy read.  It's light, fluffy, and sweet.  There are close friendships between women that rely on closeness, not competition, and actual development of feelings and friendship between Caroline and Simon.  Once they get down and dirty it's fun, sensual, and erotic (if perhaps a bit optimistically athletic).

I like that Clayton tried to add in insights from additional characters to the narration, though I'm not sure how successful I find some of the methods.  I do appreciate the complete lack of overbearing alpha male lust interest, Simon may start off on the wrong foot with Caroline, but he's actually a nice guy.  He gives Caroline her space and refrains from metaphorical pissing contests even when he strongly dislikes her date.  And Caroline doesn't "save" or remake Simon, she accepts him at face value.

Overall an enjoyable read.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.


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