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When Joss Met Matt: A Novel by Ellie Cahill
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When Joss Met Matt: A Novel

by Ellie Cahill

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A charming friends with benefits story. Joss and Matt meet freshman year of college and develop their mutually satisfying "sorbet" sex. Mutually satisfying until it's not...

Well written with the story flip between the past and present. Joss and Matt are great characters and I never really understood why they never dated in college rather than come up with their arrangement. The story is a little drawn out but overall very entertaining. I recommend it. ( )
  Bette_Hansen | Nov 3, 2015 |
**Contains some spoilers**

I had high expectations for this book. I love the NA books that have those friends with benefits stories so I was hoping to love this one but sadly, it wasn’t the case.

For the first half of the book, I was enjoying myself. I was loving the story and the characters so much but then it just… I don’t even know what happened! One minute the mood of the book was light and fun and the next, it’s moody and sad. This majority of the story it is told by Joss in flashbacks, but it also has some present time. The flashbacks start 7 years ago, which I had a bit of a problem. You see, we never really get to read about Joss and Matt being together until the end of the book. All the while, it’s just them having sex and Joss pining after Matt once she realizes very late in the story that she has started to develop feelings for him. The thing is they are never together because while they do have sex, once the “sorbet sex” is done, they start dating other people. The thematic of the story was fun but it got to a point where the “sorbet sex” was getting to me and I kept rolling my eyes.

I think this is the second time I read a book that I wish the characters had never gotten together in the end. They acted more as friends than anything. I never felt any romantic pull from either of them, which made it hard for me to see them together at the end. I had never read anything by Liz Czukas. This is my first book by her under the penname Ellie Cahill. I have heard many others raving about her YA books, which I plan on checking out some time in the future but maybe not now.

You guys may be wondering why I don’t have a content warning above the post and that is because this book is a New Adult coming of age story, meaning the main characters are in college but it doesn’t have explicit content at all. So for you young readers (above 15, maybe) you can go ahead and read this book, in my opinion. ( )
  GenGenBookBlog | Aug 16, 2015 |


Wow. You know, I'm not even sure there are words for how much I loved this book! The general story line should have made this just another cute but predictable romance. Two friends with benefits who eventually find themselves feeling more has been done so many times before, and I've always enjoyed it. But this one was very different, and I could not put it down!

Joss and Matt meet in their freshman year of college. There's no sexually charged atmosphere when they first, no fireworks, no epic drama. And that's what make the story so fascinating. They're just two people meeting, talking a little, and maybe wanting a kiss that doesn't happen. So when they meet again in class, a genuine friendship develops, and when Joss's boyfriend dumps her in the douchiest way possible, that friendship enters an entirely new plane.

The sorbet idea is hilarious and oddly genius. They jokingly but seriously decide to cleanse their palates of exes by crossing that line with each other, like sorbet between courses of a meal. But while this is another point in the story where things could have become cliche, instead they simply continue on with their genuine and unromantic friendship, each knowing they have someone to lean on, but neither seeing the other as a viable romantic interest. And so their arrangement continues through bad dating choices, awkward break-ups, and the journey into becoming semi-mature, responsible adults. The story switches between present day and their shared past, from the moment they met through every major event in between, and while I usually get annoyed with flashbacks, I flat out love the way their story was told here.

Matt is not your typical romance novel hero. He's attractive, sure, but it's understated. He doesn't automatically turn every head in the room, and he doesn't treat Joss like she's anything more than his best friend. They see each other through years of relationship, Joss becomes friends with Matt's serious girlfriend, and she even goes so far as to set him up with someone else. And through all those flashbacks, love sort of just sneaks up on them.

It unfolds slowly, at the perfect pace to see just how much they mean to each other, even when they neither of them realize their feelings are becoming much deeper. I'm usually a bit impatient with this kind of pace, but this one was worth every bit of the wait. In that way, it reminded me a little of When Harry Met Sally, how even though I wanted them to get together, I was having too much fun watching their friendship to want to rush it. But the big moment when they finally get there? It's been 24 hours, and I'm still swooning!

I don't think I can properly explain just how great a read When Joss Met Matt is, so you'll just have to trust me and pre-order it now. Seriously, right now. This is without a doubt one of my favorite New Adult books in years.

***FicCentral received this book from Random House LLC (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  ysar | Jul 8, 2015 |
For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

I was SO convinced that When Joss Met Matt would be the new adult book of new adult books. This one was destined to be my all-time favorite one. I mean, Ellie Cahill is Liz Czukas, master of banter and the incredibly amazing ship from Ask Again Later. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t ever get excited for any book, because that seems to lead to epic disappointment, as is the case here. When Joss Met Matt is inspired by the movie When Harry Met Sally, as it took me a disgustingly long time to realize. The thing is that I love When Harry Met Sally, but I also have issues with its message. The problem is that, in this case, I don’t end up shipping Matt and Joss enough that I can overlook my issues with the message.

For the first quarter to third of the book, I was doing okay. I really liked it, and was thinking it would be a 3.5 to 4 star book all things remaining consistent, but there was totally room for the book to catch me up in the shippy banter and make me fall in love along with them. Obviously, that did not end up happening. As time passed, I found myself going from liking Joss to actively disliking her.

I really do love the novel’s premise. Joss and Matt are college friends who decide to partake in sorbet sex, meaning that, when one of the them goes through a break up or a particularly bad sexual encounter and the other is single, they engage in some good casual sex as a palate cleanser. Meanwhile, they remain excellent friends, even assisting one another in their romantic endeavors. Eventually, their feelings shift due to a change in circumstances. Happiness and sex-positivity all around, right?

I wish. My big frustration is that, as sex-positive as the premise sounds to me, I very much do not get that message from the novel. As far as the sorbet sex goes, every single person that isn’t them says that it’s a completely unhealthy practice. They are deeply judged for doing this by everyone Joss trusts enough to tell. Her friend Nellie even accuses “that he was using [her] girl,” which deeply enrages me, especially since Joss doesn’t argue with her. Personally, I don’t think they were using each other, but if they were, then it was mutual. In fact, Joss was the one first looking for a casual sex partner, though Matt supplied the name and more lasting concept. Joss was a very eager participant, and Nellie’s uncontested line takes all of her agency away.

In fact, I think the sorbet sex relationship was perfectly healthy for a number of years. They had a set of rules for it, and those seemed to stand them in good stead. Only once they started breaking the rules did the change of feelings come and start making the sorbet sex really unhealthy. Like When Harry Met Sally, though, where the ultimate message ends up underlying Billy Crystal’s assertion that men and women can’t be friends, When Joss Met Matt seems to suggest that men and women cannot have sorbet sex without mushy feelings getting in the way. Everyone in the novel completely disregards the years where it worked just fine.

When Joss Met Matt also comes down against fetishes. There’s a scene where Joss decides to have sex with this guy T.J., and he asks her to punch him in the crotch because that’s what turns him on. Joss runs out saying that “it’s a lot weird!” and, when he says that it’s not that uncommon, she tells him it is uncommon. Basically, she makes him feel like a piece of shit freak and runs away from him. I’m not saying that I would want to finish that encounter either, but he didn’t try to hurt her in any way, and he’s probably going to have a complex about this for years.

Getting kinky is not the only thing Joss disapproves of, though. She also judges Matt for his casual sex encounters with others, referring to him regularly as a “man slut,” even though he makes it clear that he doesn’t like being called that. Joss casually slut shames throughout the book, with the exception being herself, of course (though she does call her college self a kissing slut, but no reference is made to the fact that she has a very active sex life too—it’s clear she just finds kissing slut funny).

Too much sex obviously isn’t cool, so how does Joss feel about virgins? Not favorable! There’s a scene when Joss and Matt are in college, and he’s dating an eighteen-year-old (he’s just a couple years older, no worries). The girl admits, in confidence, to Joss that she’s a virgin and is waiting for “the right guy.” Joss immediately runs from this girl to Matt and forces him to dump her (with the threat of telling the girl about sorbet sex if he doesn’t), telling him that “she thinks you might be The One.” That’s a huge fucking assumption. The “right guy” might just be someone she feels comfortable enough to have sex with and does not necessarily mean she’s picking out their children’s names. Was her answer to what she’s waiting for supposed to be “the wrong guy” or “any guy”? Ew.

You might be thinking that I’m being too harsh. They were in college when the virgin-shaming happened. Joss is mostly joking when she slut-shames probably. Joss was just freaked out when the guy asked her to punch him in the junk. The thing is, though, that the book is set when Joss and Matt are in their mid-twenties, and she’s remembering all their sexual encounters from their seven years of friendship. She’s older and reflecting on these past events, but there’s no regret at all. She still hasn’t come to any realizations that any of this perhaps was not a good thing to do. She still thinks T.J. is a disgusting freak and that it was okay to force Matt to dump a girl who happened to be a virgin.

Aside from all of that, When Joss Met Matt is one of those books where the romantic tension comes from the fact that they will not fucking talk to each other. They both like each other, but they are unwilling to be honest about their feelings and, when Matt says something, Joss willfully misunderstands it. He tells her that he can’t sorbet sex anymore, because when he meets an awesome woman, like this girl Tara for example, he just wants to date and dump her so that he can have sex with Joss. What she hears is that he hates her and loves Tara. Are you fucking kidding me? Yeah, people aren’t honest about their feelings in real life also, but I find this trope really frustrating in novels when it’s literally the only conflict.

By the end, I very much didn’t ship Joss and Matt, especially since Matt refuses to talk to her when she finally decides to be honest, going so far as to escape to the top of a tall building since she’s terrified of being more than a couple stories up. Way to be a jerk, Matt. I get that going to the observation tower of a skyscraper hearkens back to romantic films like Sleepless in Seattle, but it’s not romantic when one of them is about to pass out from fear. Also, apparently a phobia of heights can be completely conquered by kissing.

The one aspect of When Joss Met Matt I loved was Dewey. Joss has an amazing orange tabby, who’s incredibly talkative and sometimes spiteful. Oh cats. I love them so much. Any scene with Dewey in it is a good scene.

I really wanted to love this book. It hurts me a lot to have to say that it made me angry and that I get more upset the more time I spend thinking about it. I will still read anything that Liz Czukas writes, even as Ellie Cahill, because the chance of another Ask Again Later is worth the risk of another When Joss Met Matt. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Mar 20, 2015 |
It's told in present day with alternating chapters flashing back seven years prior and continuing to present day. I'm personally not a huge fan of that writing style but it actually read ok for me. It's the story that feel flat. It started with plenty of potential but it was very anti-climatic. Both characters were likable and chemistry was there but it even read flat at times. I found myself skimming.

The ending was somewhat of a pick up but just not enough for me to recommend it. No "grab" factor, nothing to really hook you in the story.

I received this book in exchange for an honest book review. ( )
  Books007 | Oct 30, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553394517, Paperback)

In the tradition of New Adult superstar Jessica Sorensen, Ellie Cahill’s debut novel is a charming friends-with-benefits story . . . with a twist!
 
What if after every bad breakup, there was someone to turn to “cleanse your palate”—someone who wouldn’t judge you, who was great in bed, someone you were sure not to fall in love with? “Sorbet sex” could solve everything—as long as it never got too sweet.
 
Joss and Matt have been friends since freshman year, meeting one night after Joss is dumped by her high school boyfriend. After few drinks, Joss nearly gives it up to an even drunker frat boy. Matt humors her with a proposition: that he’ll become her go-to guy whenever she needs to heal a broken heart. In return, she’ll do the same for him. The #1 Rule: They’ll never fall in love with each other. People scoff at the arrangement. But six years later, Joss and Matt are still the best of friends . . . with benefits.
 
Through a string of boyfriends and girlfriends—some almost perfect, some downright wrong—Joss and Matt are always there for each other when the going gets tough. No strings. No attachments. Piece of cake. No problem. After all, since they wrote the rules, surely they can play by them. Or can they?

Advance praise for When Joss Met Matt
 
“Hands down, one of my favorite New Adult reads . . . Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!”New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack
 
“This is one of those books that make you forget everything around you. Prepare to be consumed by this story.”—Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Wild
 
“Fun, sexy, and full of amazing chemistry, When Joss Met Matt is an entertaining escape that will leave you smiling with every turn of the page.”—Cassie Mae, author of The Real Thing

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:32 -0400)

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