That Wedding by Jillian Dodd

Title: That Wedding by Jillian Dodd

Publisher: Self-Published, 2012

Format: Kindle Edition

I’m not going to lie, I’m feeling a lot of pressure on this review. Usually I just read a book, drink some wine, think up some (I think) snarky/sarcastic/witty/drunken comments and bang out a review. But this one is different because the review of the first book and Jillian Dodd’s responses were what made me realize that maybe people other than Judith and I care what we have to say about books. Or are at least kind enough to pretend they do. Whatever, I’m just going to have a glass of wine and let’s get this ball rolling.

Oh but before we do that – if you haven’t read That Boy then STOP right now. Seriously. I try to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible so you’ll actually want to read the book if you haven’t already but obviously I can’t talk about a sequel without talking about the action in the first book. Plus it’s just a seriously kickass book and you’ll be so grateful you read it.

Plot: This book picks up exactly where the first one left off – Jadyn and Philip (squee!) have just gotten engaged and spend a blissful night together. Then the next day Jadyn is suddenly being wedding-attacked from all sides about when they’ll get married, where, themes, colors, etc. As you can guess from the title, the book focuses on Jadyn and Philip’s wedding planning, along with some serious issues like marriage counseling, honeymoon stages, Lori’s pregnancy, financial issues, first fights, awful nightmares about melting faces and turning into a burning bush (hehe) (yes, I’m 12), and Jadyn finally grieving over the loss of her parents. But in the end we all know that the love between JJ and Philip is strong enough to survive anything – they just need to realize it themselves.

Review: I’m sure this will come as no surprise but I LOVED this book. Now are we talking the rating I gave the first one (I’m too lazy to check but I think out of a scale of 1/10 I gave it 1 zillion,500,010?) no, because it’s a different sort of book. But I still laughed, and cringed, and squeed, and cried, and loved it. First off – I love how blindsided Jadyn and Philip are about the suddenness of wedding planning. Jadyn actually reminded me of my brother’s fiancée who said to me “um, we just got engaged, why do people expect us to start planning right away!?” (insert panicked voice). Also Philip’s suggestions on themes were awesome – togas, boats and hoes, total frat stuff. But in the end they have what sounds like the best wedding of all time. Their after party isn’t some stuffy club thing but a sports bar with kegs and pool and “ping pong” tables (we all know the latter will become beer pong tables).

Wedding stuff aside it’s the progression they make as a couple along with Jadyn’s individual growth which form the core of the book, the wedding planning is just the conduit that leads to this growth. Danny’s father is completely correct when he tells J that being lifelong best friends is one thing, being married is another and I really liked that he basically bribed J to go to marriage counseling. Did I think J was going to screw up one time too many? Yes. Did I understand why she was making poor decisions at times? Yes. Did I worry Philip was ever going to say “you’re too much work” and walk away? Hell no. Because he loves her! He’s loved her forever and they’re meant to be and Philip is awesome and….okay. Breathe. I’m stopping.

Yet again I’m sure this isn’t a shock but I’m giving the book 10/10. It deserves it. Go buy this book!!! (Oh and if by some miracle you’re reading this and haven’t signed up for our free giveaway you still have a few hours!)

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 10. So I’m not going to lie when I was reading the book I was completely ready to downgrade J to a less than perfect score just because she kept making some really stupid decisions. And then I remembered what I said in the first review is still true – Jadyn and I are way too much alike. Yes she’s making stupid decisions, and she deep-down realizes it (but she’ll never admit it because she always has to be right), but sometimes when your life starts spiraling out of control all you can do is make it MORE out of control – this time on your terms. I did love that planning her wedding, and finally opening herself up to memories of her parents, led to a wedding that in so many ways encompassed her parents. The location, the colors, the size of the wedding, even her dress were all influenced by her parents. It was really touching.

How much did I like the love interest: 10. Was there ever any doubt? What I loved about this book is that Philip isn’t perfect. Toward the end of the book he acknowledges that he’s been rushing Jadyn through this whole process – hell they got engaged on their first date! – because he loves her so much he doesn’t want to lose her. Even accounting for that flaw Philip is still, well, (squee) he’s amazing. He understands everything that’s going on with J, is with her every step of the way, doesn’t put pressure on her to plan a wedding any specific way, and I love the whole protective vibe. When Philip stood up to his mom about the whole marriage counseling thing I think I almost died. Oh and his wedding gift to Jadyn? I cried but was also yelling “NO! She’s just had her makeup done! It’s photo time!” but then cried a little more.

How believable is the plot: 10. I loved it all, especially the wedding stuff. As an acknowledged wedding junkie (seriously: I love Friday nights because it means I get to watch hours of “Four Weddings”, “Say Yes to the Dress”, and sometimes “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”) and someone who has had almost my whole wedding planned since I was 9 this was right up my alley. But now I can add “sports bar after party” to my list! (Side note: NO JOKE the song that I want to dance with my mom at my wedding just came on my iTunes! It’s a sign from above!)

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. Okay I have one complaint – maybe it was just my version but the text messages were WAY too light in color. I could barely read them.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I think in order to stop me you’d have had to rip my Kindle out of my hands and then prepare yourself for one heck of a fight (I did get my yellow belt in Tae Kwan Do while in college – what what!).

Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 2. Just because I kept getting so mad at Jadyn. And then realizing that’s because she’s doing stupid things I’d do. And then drinking to forget I do stupid things. It’s a vicious cycle.

Final Score: 10/10. BUY THIS BOOK! And the first one, if you haven’t already. I’m not sure if there will be a third book but I might be alone in saying I hope not, I think that the story is perfect ending right here.

Also I want to take this opportunity to thank Jillian Dodd SO MUCH for everything she’s done for us. Not only did she (completely unsolicited) read my first review and then write back but when That Wedding was coming out she offered Judith and I free copies, plus said she’d give away a copy to one lucky reader! She let us interview her, responds to our tweets, and doesn’t seem to think

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we’re swimfan-level crazy (fingers crossed). Oh and the woman creates a new martini almost every week. Obviously she’s an awesome human being.

****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****

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An Interview with That Boy and That Wedding author, Jillian Dodd

An I Love YA Fiction Exclusive!

Hi all! It’s me, Judith. Now it’ll come off as hard

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to swallow, but even though Ellen and I are two different people, we pretty much share the same opinions about books. Honest. I’m going to call it bookapathy (not to be confused by a combination of book + apathy because that would give it a whole other meaning that doesn’t work at all here). Our eerily similar opinions are part of what make running this blog together that much easier–my counterpart isn’t bitching and moaning all the time that I gave some random book a 3 when it actually deserved a 10. I’m so glad that we have bookapathy because when I read Jillian Dodd’s That Boy, all I could think was, Ellen is gonna flip! This is so good and she will adore it! And let me tell you, folks, she did. A lot. And to top it off she wrote a kick ass review of That Boy that put us on great terms with the lovely author herself.

When That Wedding came out, we were beside ourselves. The squeeing could be heard clear into Manhattan and all I could think was, we gotta pump Jillian Dodd for information because if we want to know it, you better believe the rest of her fans do too.

Without further ado, for your reading pleasure, a Q&A with Jillian Dodd:

Hi Jillian. Thanks for answering some questions for us. We’ve been dying to pick your brain ever since we finished That Boy. I swear I remember the day it ended so clearly–the book stopped and the first thing I did was hop on my computer to send Ellen an email about getting herself a copy stat. She told me that Amazon had been pushing it on her for months but she had resisted mainly because the life of a grad student is lacking in money and she valued eating over reading (marginally of course). Well finally she got it and after a two day reading binge was just as hooked.

So first things first. The question that is on everyone’s mind: Where can we find your real life inspiration for Phillip? Address? Phone number? Whatever you want to give, you can tell us. We won’t publish it anywhere. Honest.

I think everyone has their own image of the perfect guy. I know when you reviewed That Boy, you scoured the book looking for physical descriptions of him. Did you notice that there aren’t many? Did you notice that Danny is mostly described as a sixth grader? I give very minimal physical descriptions to my characters. I want you to picture your perfect guy. What I do try to give them is very distinct personalities.
The series is completely written from Jadyn’s point of view, so what makes Phillip so dreamy is her reactions to him. How she lays her head on his shoulder and everything seems right in the world. How his neck always smells good. How he’s always warm. How he’s a gentleman. How she feels stronger when he holds her hand.
Lots of readers think Phillip was a saint for putting up with some of what Jadyn goes through in That Wedding, but hopefully when you read the part where they are at the swings, you will understand that some of the things he did caused her to behave that way. He’s not perfect either. He was pushing her. He was distracting her with sex. He didn’t want to face her issues because he was afraid he might lose her. She was also having a hard time making the switch from bff to love. One thing that really affected them is that they used to talk about everything. All of a sudden, the boy she needs to talk to Phillip about is him. She feels lost. She is afraid to tell him what’s going on in her mind because she doesn’t want to lose him.
Much of the way Jadyn’s reacts to Phillip are reactions I have to my husband. His neck always smells good. He’s always warm. I won’t gush on about him. If you want to read the pros list I made about him, you can click here.
I also did a post on what makes a guy swoonworthy. You will see lots of both Phillip and Danny in that as well. The link to that is here.

Seriously though, are your books based on actual events or is
everything fiction? Where did you get your inspiration for the three main characters: Danny, Phillip, and JJ?

Everything is fiction. I first started writing the book based off some very vivid dreams I had. And I kept having dreams with these three characters in them.
The book started with four major scenes. The college visit. The party in the cornfield. The engagement party. When Danny moved in.
I didn’t plan the characters. They just were who they were. I always knew Phillip and Jadyn would end up together, but Danny was hot. They were friends, of course there were going to be feeling there too. It was easy to come up with Lori because I knew she had to be similar to Phillip.
I would say the inspiration for how Danny and Jadyn are so alike, and how Phillip and Lori are so alike comes from a longtime friendship my husband and I have with another couple.
Actual events or similarities to my life:
-I did grow up in a small town in Nebraska very much like Westown, but I lived on a farm next door to a bunch of girl cousins, not two cute boys.
-I did sorta date a Trifecta (hot guy, hot bod, hot car) in high school. And he did actually tell me, “When you least expect it, expect it.” I’d just give up hope of ever hearing from him again, he’d call, I’d swoon, break up with my boyfriend. I knew he was a jerk, but he was so cute, I didn’t care.
-I did have a guy shake my hand at a party and not let go. It made an impression.
-I was in a sorority, but unlike Jadyn, I did get to pass my candle.
That’s pretty much it. The rest of it was driven by the characters and my vivid imagination.

It’s clear from your blog that you lead a busy life, where do you find the time to write?

I’m very lucky that I am able to basically write full-time. My family is very supportive.

I can imagine that having a mom who writes about teenage life might be embarrassing for teens. Do your kids support your writing? Have they both read your book? How about your husband?

My kids are pretty amazing. When they were little, I would tell them how special they were and how they could do anything they put their mind to. Apparently they listened because they both have big dreams. My 15-year old son, who is already 6’2”, has wanted to be a race car driver since he was two. My husband spends a lot of money and time to help him fulfill his dream. He’s currently the 9th ranked semi-professional kart driver in the nation. My daughter is 17 and loves to travel. We took her on her first plane ride at three, and she has been hooked ever since. She wants to see the world, and then probably rule it. She’s very much a girl who likes to be in charge. She is extremely social and also excellent with social media, works about 20 hours a week for me, and has taken over my blog one day a week.
Neither one of them seem to find anything I do embarrassing. My daughter reads everything I write. She’s been especially helpful with the new series I’m working on. The main character is seventeen and sexually active. There are sex scenes in the book, and unlike Jadyn, Keatyn is not embarrassed to talk about them. Her and a friend read the books and gave me lots of feedback.
My whole family is super supportive. My husband has heard so much about the books, but I don’t think he’s read a complete version. But if it weren’t for him, the book would have never been published. Then there’s my mom. My gosh, my poor mother has read so many versions of both books. She was a big help to me in That Wedding. Poor Jadyn almost got a vase from Phillip for a wedding gift. And my original break up was lame and “unbelievable” per my mother. It turned out much better than what I first wrote.

Who’s your favorite author? Favorite book?

I have too many to name. I love to read. Have devoured books my whole life. I like funny romance like Sophie Kinsella. Can you Keep a Secret is one of my favorites. I love spy thrillers and older YA book series.

What are you currently reading?

Vince Flynn’s Kill Shot. I didn’t want to be an author when I grew up. I wanted to be a spy.

Have any publishing houses contacted you about That Boy and That Wedding?

I’ve been contacted by a couple publishers interested in foreign rights for the series, but nothing has come of that as of yet. Publishing is going through a huge shift. Authors are becoming entrepreneurs and running their own business. I’m very happy to be doing it this way.

What words of wisdom would you give to an aspiring author? How did you go about having your books self-published?

I wrote That Boy over a period of six years. I’d work on it, put it aside, think it was finished. Send out a couple queries, get a thanks but no, and put it away for awhile longer. My family pushed me to get it published, and I really decided that if I wanted to prove to my kids that you can do anything you put your mind to, that I should probably try doing it myself. I sent out more queries, tried to get an agent, gave up again. Wasn’t sure what to do next. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money and have a vanity press print my book. I wanted something bigger. My husband saw an article in the Wall Street Journal about ebooks and how the market was changing. He told me I should just do it myself. So basically, I did. Technically there is a lot more involved than that, but I won’t bore you with the details.
My words of advice would be to write. To keep writing.

And last but not least, if you were caught in a 12 hour layover in
Boise, Idaho, what three things would you definitely have to have with you?

My Iphone and charger so I could read, write, or tweet. And my credit card, so I could buy whatever else I wanted. Probably a cocktail and a sweater.
—–

And never fear! There is a bonus question that I didn’t even have to ask but that Jillian threw out there since she’d never been asked it:

One question that no one has asked me yet that I find interesting is how the party in the cornfield/parent’s death combination was pivotal in her life. If just the party in the cornfield would have happened. She would be a different person. She would have dated Danny, probably lost her virginity to him. They would have had a fun but volatile relationship. They would have fought, broken up, made up, fought. You know couple’s like that. Just following their relationship is exhausting. They also both think they are always right, so they would have drug their friends into their fights. It would have ruined Danny and Phillip’s relationship because you know he would have taken JJ’s side. Remember that Phillip hated every guy she dated. I also think she would have ended up with Phillip faster. I think they would have dated very early in college and been happy. She wouldn’t have dated jerks. She wouldn’t have been so determined to “smell the roses”. She wouldn’t have partied as much. She would have been more mature.
It’s also a very good thing that Mr. Diamond got her to buy the townhouse and made her live with Danny and Phillip. She jokes that it was like living with two dads, but that’s what she needed. In her state of mind, she desperately needed the stability and accountability that they provided her.

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That Wedding Giveaway


We teased you earlier and now here it is: the first ever I Love YA Fiction giveaway! Yes, squee to your hearts’ content! We are so happy that this inaugural giveaway happens to feature one of our favorite authors, Jillian Dodd, and her fabulous sequel to one of our favorite books, That Boy.

Without further ado, we are giving away a free e-copy

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of That Wedding to one lucky winner.

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There are tons of ways to enter and the more times you throw your name into the hat, obviously the more chances you have to win.

To enter, do any of the things below and be sure to tell us about it in the comments (if you don’t mention it, we won’t know that you’re counting it toward your entries and you may miss out):

1. Leave a comment to this post telling us which cornfed beefcake, Philip or Danny, you would choose to be your boy

2. Like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Love-YA-Fiction/223407614411654 (current fans, you can also use this one! Be sure to tell us in the comments that you’re a fan)

3. Tweet us (@iloveyafiction) to say if you’re Team Danny or Team Philip

4. Become a follower of iloveyafiction.wordpress.com

5. Become a friend on Goodreads: I Love YA Fiction

6. Put a link to the site on your site

7. Send us an email at iloveyafiction at

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gmail dot com with a book recommendation!

The contest will end on March 2nd, 2012 at midnight when one lucky winner will be picked at random from among all entrants. It will coincide with our posting of our kick-ass review of That Wedding. So enter away and good luck!!!

xoxo

Judith and Ellen

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That Wedding is here and to celebrate we’re bringing you an exclusive Jillian Dodd interview and a fabulous giveaway!

As many of our readers know or may have guessed being that we talk about Philip in 99% of our reviews, Ellen and I are obsessed with a little book called, That Boy

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by Jillian Dodd. It’s about one wholesome Nebraska girl, her two beefcake bestfriends, and all of the crazy choices she makes growing up. It’s fantastic and yes, I do realize what a starry-eyed fan girl I sound like as I say that. I don’t care! It’s that good. If you haven’t read Ellen’s review, you need to do it asap! Here’s the link.

Now Jillian Dodd just released the sequel to That Boy, That Wedding, a week or so ago and obviously, we squeed ourselves silly and then went straight out and got the book. Before we post our review however, we’re going to be bringing you some fun stuff, namely an interview with the lovely Ms. Dodd and an awesome giveaway. Stay tuned as we’ll have the giveaway details posted later today!

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