Ariel Adams is in a bit of a pickle; her now-former business partner, darn her, has gone and fallen in love, abruptly. Ariel had been planning to spend a couple of years building up the business, then going on her own, but this change means she’ll have to really step up her game. Fortunately, the now-googly-eyed ex-partner has handed over all the client leads–and a beach house! She gets to the beach house, and discovers something she hadn’t been told: it is in the process of renovation, by a sexy beach bum named Jake Renner!
The two are oil and water–but they’re sharing the tiny house, for now, while Jake does the remodeling work. No-nonsense Ariel wants to set right to work, but Jake’s work on the house just gets in the way; further, he seems quite unmotivated to hurry up! When he messes things up for one of her first client, she is really ticked, until he arranges some meetups with other possibilities. When he teaches her to scuba dive, that’s when she finally starts to bend.
I had some issues with this tale, early on. The characterizations just struck me as a little bit too stereotypical–not all successful businesswomen are uptight, prissy, scheduling cranks, and not all slow-moving, beach-loving people are worthless slackers, but that’s the feel I got from our author in the early going.
Ariel has never liked the sea, or the idea of living on the beach, but she’s determined to make the best of it; Jake is determined to show her the amazing beauty to be found there, and when he takes her for a dive, things start getting better for our lovers.
I suppose, to be fair, that I should say that the unraveling of these stereotypes, and the discovery of someone they can genuinely care for, is the big thing that our protagonists have to resolve here; that (somewhat) justifies the heavy use of the type, I guess, but it’s not clear that’s where we are going until a little later in the book. Their initial frustrations with each other are entertaining to watch, particularly Ariel’s annoyance at the “lazy” Jake who never seems to get anything done.
Our setting is the beaches of Southern California, and Atkins gives us a good feel of the place, and a small cast of supporting characters to help things along. Aside from my early misgivings that I noted above, I don’t have any great complaints about the characters; they’re “real” enough to me; Ariel learns to stop and smell the roses a little, and Jake, who for all his beach-bumminess is really a skilled, energetic person, has finally found something to anchor his life, and give him something to commit to.
At the end of the day, Room…But Not Bored! is a tale that challenges some stereotypes, and shows how a small shift in our perceptions of the world around us can have a huge, huge impact. I enjoyed this book quite a lot.