Spoiler Free Review
Title: Out on Good Behavior
Author: Dahlia Adler
Series or Standalone: Radleigh University, #3/Companion Standalone
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
Frankie knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn’t mean she should—not when the person she’s eyeing is Samara, the daughter of a southern Republican politician. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren’t meant to be crossed. But when Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she’s afraid she’ll never find it as long as Frankie’s in her head.
Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who’s been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy…under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she’s afraid she might, she doesn’t want to throw Samara’s life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.
For the most part, Out on Good Behavior is a sweet, new adult romance about Frankie, a pansexual art student who falls for the closeted southern belle Samara. Honestly, if you’re looking for a sweet romance between two female college students to warm your heart, this story hits all the predictable romance beats.
Franke is a main character I’ve rarely come across in the romance genre (which means I’m not looking far and wide enough for them). The main reason being is because Frankie identifies as pansexual. Where bisexual and biromantic is usually the default when characters are attracted to multiple genders, Frankie’s unabashed pride in being pansexual is very welcome.
“Being a queer girl at Catholic school meant a whole lot of skulking in the shadows, it’s liberating as hell to be somewhere I can do who I want, when I want, where I want.”
The other aspect to her character is something I’m coming across more now in romance, and that is a main character who isn’t a virgin and openly enjoys sex. Frankie is very open about enjoying sex with people outside of romantic relationships. I enjoyed that she was never ashamed for being promiscuous and that she enjoyed it being with people. I personally felt that this didn’t fall into a poor stereotype, however other reviewers have complained about this being executed in poor taste.
This book definitely doesn’t avoid tropes either. Whilst Frankie is sexually active in a healthy way, Samara on the other hand is inexperienced when it comes to romance. Frankie’s character is almost like a gender-flipped version of the typical male ‘casanova’ in new adult books who is settling down for a good girl.
“Because she gave me a fucking ultimatum—all in with her, or we’re done.”
Samara felt like the perfect love interest for Frankie. Namely because the author really illustrates their growing attraction and adoration for one another wholesomely and naturally. Don’t mistake my use of words: sweet, cute and wholesome throughout this review as meaning this book is smut free. Far from it! The fluffier aspects of this book definitely outweigh the sexier aspects. Both aspects felt really balanced and I loved how the progression of their relationship felt authentic.
“I’m not sure if I’m dealing with a closet case or just a sweet straight girl who’s so clueless she has no idea when a girl’s flirting with her.”
I can’t say this book came without a few frustrations. Firstly, the storyline is very… placid. Whilst the characters make sense together, the obstacles they face throughout the novel are largely based on misunderstandings and miscommunication. It never felt like a whole lot was happening in this story either. Both Frankie and Samara have insecurities coming to their new relationship with one another and decide to take things slow. And so, if you’re thinking about picking up this book, just know there is a whole lot of dialogue dedicated to the characters just getting together.
Although this is the third book in Dahlia Adler’s Radleigh University series, it can be read as a standalone without having read the previous instalments. The author did confirm this too, even though the two main characters meet in the previous book. However I do think more of an effort could have been made regarding descriptions of side characters and even some context to relationships. I just felt a bit in the dark at times and actually wouldn’t have minded some exposition.
Despite my gripes with this book, I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a well-written, breezy f/f romance. Sometimes predictability in stories isn’t a bad thing. Here, you’ll get a sweet romance about a pansexual MC who is just unapologetically herself and proud, falling for a sweet baby gay.
Have you read this book? I’d love to hear if you enjoyed it or other books by Dahlia Adler. I’m always looking for more F/F romance books, so please feel free to drop any recommendations you have! 😊📚