Book Review: Hard Knox by Nicole Williams

Hard knox

Title: Hard Knox (The Outsider Chronicles #1)
Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: New Adult
Length: 310 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase.

Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time.

As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger.

How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . .

Grace’s Review
This story has an interesting setup.
– A judgmental virginal reporter, Charlie Chase, looking to make a mark for herself in the journalistic world.
– A man-whoring bad boy Knox Jagger (great name), best known for collecting ladies underwear as a mean for choosing the night’s conquest. Is he her enemy or her savior?
While the descriptions above are common in the romance book world, what brings them together is anything but common.

The two’s interact for the first time at a college party, which is far from pleasant as they trade insults.  Despite all of Charlie’s attempts to ward him off, Knox won’t go away.  When he finally does leave, Charlie finds herself in a world of trouble, with the introduction of the date rape drug, Rohypnol.  Luckily, nothing bad happens to her, but she  and her negative self are quick to blame Knox as the culprit.

I found it strange how a reporter like Charlie was so quick to judge Knox and label him the bad guy.  You’d think she would take the time to gather facts first, but just like everyone else, she seems to believe rumors before facts.  However, Knox is persistent and eventually convinces her of his innocence.

This story is intriguing as the two join forces to determine who is using roofies in multiple rapes across the college campus.  If you are leery of the rape theme, this book does no go into much depth. But it doesn’t gloss over it either, so consider that your warning.  While I figured out the main offender fairly quickly, I had no idea how it would play out.

Initial impressions of Knox are blown away and he turns into quite the hero on more than one occasion.  His past isn’t perfect, and it is upsetting to see what drives him, but it was honest and it appears he has paid his dues.  I did like his protective nature around Charlie, and his violence has meaning behind it, which is later explained.

While this is a sensitive subject, the two together right some wrongs, drive away past demons, and develop an unbreakable bond.

“Would I be standing here in front of you, holding my breath for your willpower to run out, if I could hate you, did hate you, or one day would? Stop talking about hate, Knox, and show me the opposite.”

Hard Knox teaser

The only issue I had with the book was who Charlie resembled, which I found a bit creepy.  But that’s just my opinion.

This book touches on a very real subject plaguing college campuses. This may come off sounding corny, but I’m serious in saying that I wish more schools had people like Charlie and Knox who put it all on the line for truth and justice.

– Grace

*An ARC was provided for an honest review.

About the Author
I’m the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations.
I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that’s one tiny way I can make it so. I’m one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

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