Damaged like us by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Damaged like us is the first book in the Like Us series.
The main characters are Maximoff Hale, a member of the super rich, and super famous Hale-Cobalt-Meadows clan, and Farrow Keene, a bodyguard who grew up in the perifery of that clan. Maximoff and Farrow grew up competing about everything, and Maximoff is not happy about being assigned to Farrow when his old bodyguard retires. Also, the fact that Maximoff’s been having naughty fantasies about Farrow since he hit puberty doesn’t help. Being thrust together 24/7, the chemistry between the two is through the roof, but to act upon it would be crossing a line. Not just because Farrow’s technically Maximoff’s employee, but Maximoff only ever does one-night stands.
I really liked this book. Like, really liked it. The writing style was a bit different than from my usual reads. The main character was telling the story as he was talking to you personally – someone from the public in his fictional world. That style added a certain something to the story, and made it stand out in a good way.
Both Maximoff and Farrow are snarky and sarcastic. They’re smart and funny. And Maximoff’s heart is just the biggest. They’re both complex and flawed individuals, shaped by their circumstances that are way beyond average. Their interactions are simply delightful to read.
The fact that the story doesn’t get overly mushy is a big plus in my book. Just like in real life, most of the obsessing, emotion and insecure rambling that occurs are inner monologues. There are no two-page long declarations of love. Verbal communication is shorter, terser. More real. I love that.
To me, the story backdrop was quite original. The hounding of the papparazzi, the never-ending misconceptions in the media. The way total strangers acted like douchebags beacuse of some twisted reasoning that public figures aren’t thinking, feeling individuals or ‘should be able to take it’ and ‘only have themselves to blame’. It’s scary and brilliant. And, yes it’s fiction, but it was a brand new perspective for me. All the sickening downsides to being famous that I myself have never even considered.
Two things in this story was a total turn-off. The first one is the ”dyed, white hair” of Farrow. Yeah, I know, I’m shallow. But seriously, I just can’t picture that ever being sexy. And just imagine the upkeep! He’d have to dye those roots practically every other day. And he’s supposed to be this super busy bodyguard who hardly gets any free time at all.
The second thing is Maximoff’s name. The full name is bad. His nickname, Moffy, is even worse. I don’t know how an American or native English speaker perceives these names. But as a Swede, they couldn’t be more un-sexy. Maximoff sounds exceedingly silly to my ears. That name has me thinking of a yappy dog from Russia. And the nickname is truly not meant for a human being. Moffy is definitely the name of a lap-dog or some other pet. Or, it could possibly be used if heckling someone for stuffing their face. So I must admit, I chose to call Maximoff Max, in my head.
Luckily. I could still enjoy the story (although every mentioning of Farrow’s white hair had me cringing). And I bought the second installment, Lovers like us, as soon as I finished Damaged. It’s simply a terrific read that you don’t want to miss.