5 Stars / Contemporary / New Adult / Review

Review: Boyfriend Material by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Skyscraper cheekbones, lush lips, and magnetic topaz eyes.
I’m talking about Eric Hansen.
Rich prick.
Glorified hockey star.
Thinks he’s amazing.
Yeah. The Golden Boy and I are well acquainted. In prep school he trampled on my heart and kept right on going.

Three years later, he’s living the high life with frat parties and puck bunnies at Hawthorne University. On the other hand, people barely notice me. I’m the nobody, surviving in the seedy part of town as I struggle to keep my head above treacherous waters.

The avoidance game we’ve been playing was working—until he rescues me from a bad guy and claims he wants to help me more. Hello. I don’t need a knight in shining armor. This girl saves herself.

Yet, I’m not sure how long I can ignore the undeniable spark between us. (It’s not even a spark; it’s a full-fledged, blazing fire.)

Can this hockey player prove he’s boyfriend material, or will this be a game we both lose?

Title:Boyfriend Material
Author:Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series:Hawthorne University (Book 2)
Genre(s):Contemporary, New Adult
Trope(s):Opposites Attract
Sports Romance (Hockey)
Second Chance Romance
Enemies to Lovers
Point of View:First Person, Present Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Sparrow Lake, Minnesota, USA
Release Date:25th July, 2022
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Delicious college romance

I adore Ilsa Madden-Mills and the stories she writes – and this one is no exception. (I’ve just realised that’s how I start all my reviews by Ilsa!) It’s the second in her Hawthorne University series (after Boyfriend Bargain) but it stands completely alone and comes with its own HEA. While I’ve read Boyfriend Bargain, I admit that since it was published pre-pandemic (2019), I’ve forgotten about any secondary characters in that book and don’t know if they appeared. Z and Sugar do appear in this book, though, so we get a cute little update on them.

Anyway – this book is about Eric and Julia who have a history from their prep school days. He was a golden boy from a wealthy, prestigious family while she was from a more modest income family, at the fancy school on a scholarship. Now both at the same university – things have changed for both of them but they still appear to be on different sides of life. And any good feelings from prep school have definitely turned to hate.

When we first meet Julia she’s in a tough spot – both at the time, and in her life more generally. Yet she’s still a fierce and strong woman and I started to root for her almost immediately. More than that, I really liked her. She was proud yet honest and while she could hold her own in most situations that would see many of us crumple – she also wasn’t afraid to cry.

“…I loved every minute I spent with this story and these characters.”

Eric was the kind of hero that I would happily swoon for. He was big, brash and bold – quick to temper but with a soft and tender heart. He was struggling with the guilt over the death of his brother and about how to live up to his name. I felt for him – while still swooning, obviously. He, like Julia, was easy to like and easy to root for. A good man in need of a good woman.

Julia and Eric definitely had a chemistry together and the sex scenes – even if they do come later in the book – were hot and steamy. With that said, their chemistry was also evident when they were together as friends. They were honest with each other and could be themselves with each other. When Eric calls Julia his best friend my heart sighed in happiness. I couldn’t have wanted more from them as a pair.

There was some back and forth in terms of their relationship but there wasn’t too much angst in the story despite the fact there are definitely some seedier elements. It’s all handled as tastefully as it could be but it still packs a punch.

As always, I loved every minute I spent with this story and these characters. Ilsa Madden-Mills writes in such a compelling way that you don’t even notice the time you spend lost in her words. I’m hoping we now get stories from the other characters we’ve met in this story. But whatever she writes, I’m all in with Ms Madden-Mills and she is someone I would whole-heartedly recommend if you like college romance stories with a meat, heart and heat! 5 stars.

* I received this book in exchange for my honest review. *

Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her contemporary romances ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Seven of her ten novels have placed in the Amazon US Store Top Six Best-seller List: Dirty English hit #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You hit #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things all placed #6 in the Amazon US Store. The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, hit #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

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Hawthorne University Series:

Boyfriend Bargain by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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