“You come back to me, okay? Slow doesn’t mean stop, right?”
Flow, the prequel is available for free and it takes place eight years before Grip. I feel like I should personally thank the author for introducing me to Grip and Bristol because I freaking adore them. In Flow Bristol has just arrived in the city to visit her brother whom she hasn’t seen in years because their family is a bit fucked up but the one who picks her up instead is Grip, her brother’s best friend and fellow musician. Flow introduces these two characters and one thing is clear from the start, Grip who is a young black rapper is not here for Bristol’s judgmental views.
“So you rap. Like hoes, bitches, and bling?”
“At least you’re open minded about it.”
“Okay. I admit I don’t listen to much hip-hop. So convince me there’s more to it.”
“And it’s my responsibility to convince you. . . why?”
Grip and Bristol obviously are attracted to each other but she’s only staying for a few weeks and he’s a bit of a player and basically this isn’t a good time for them, the ending kind of messed me up and I hate the cliche, plus I’m not fond of time jumps but with these two… ADORABLE! Make sure to read Flow and then come read the rest of this review for Grip.
“If I break your heart, I break mine.”
AHHHH I LOVE THESE TWO OMFG I LOVE THEM! Okay, now that that’s out of the way maybe I can properly review this book. WARNING: Lots of feels and quotes coming your way because it’s impossible to not quote every single line of this series. Whatever I say it won’t be enough to describe my feelings for this series, I seriously loved it even though it was a huge time jump from the prequel that I wasn’t on board with – in my head this didn’t feel like the characters had gone from being together and in love to being friends and working together in such a long time without actually resolving things between them. I didn’t buy into it, if it had been a couple of years then sure but almost a decade? Nope. Still, I LOVED IT! This was my first book by the author and I just love how she writes.
Eight years after Flow which ended with Grip and Bristol going their own way and things between them being a little complicated, Grip brings Bristol back as Grip’s manager and she’s doing a fantastic job at it too. The eight years they’ve been friends, they have dated other people and Grip is currently entering a new relationship which oddly enough didn’t bother me. I love it when characters date other people and then they end up together, it puts their relationship in another perspective and it shows the differences with previous ones. I’m not one of those who don’t like the MCs with other people before the end up together. It’s more realistic this way.
“It makes me want to set the world on fire.” His words come softly, but the truth roars in his eyes. “To think of you with them.” There haven’t been nearly as many men as he probably assumes, but I don’t reveal that. I can’t offer him any relief. “You wanna know what consoles me, though?” He looks up at me, calculation in his eyes. Before I can tell him I don’t want to know, he goes on. “For one, I know when we’re together, it’ll only take once for me to fuck their memory out of you.”
DAMN GRIP D A M N
Reading Flow and Grip back to back was perfect. In Grip the MCs take their sweet time getting together and the story leading up to that moment is such a joy to read. Grip and Bristol are so interesting apart as they are together, it takes a lot of good world building for two characters to be able to sustain a story and keep me reading despite the fact that they are not together.
I was really surprised with how educational this was as well. Grip is such a timely novel, it references the struggles black people face every day better than any romance book I’ve read this year. Grip’s girlfriend before Bristol, his mom, his friends and his entire community have a chance to highlight a different struggle of being black in the US.
The loud “whoop” from behind freezes my blood, and for a second, my heart isn’t sure it’s safe to beat. […] the mantra mothers drilled in our heads before we could even drive.
Keep your hands where they can see them.
Never make sudden movements.
Have license and registration already out so you don’t have to reach into any compartments.
Do whatever it takes to make it home
“This is a classic DWB. Driving While Black,” I clarify.
“Really?” She snorts disbelievingly. “No.”
“Remember when you asked me to let you know when your privilege makes you clueless? Well, that just happened.”
And throughout the series Grip doesn’t hesitate to call Bristol out on her privilege and being ignorant at times when she wouldn’t understand something, in an educational way, to help her get a better understanding of what his life is like. Personally I found those times to be so well executed, my limited knowledge certainly got richer reading this which is more than I dare to ask of a romance book.
The only thing I would have liked less of is the use of food and other edible substances to describe POC. Every color related to brown was mentioned, cocoa, mocha, cinnamon, caramel, chocolate, honey, tiramisu, coffee, at some point I was just so over the use of food. Please find another way to describe POC in literature, people are not food. A quick google search told me that there are more than enough words to describe different colors and hues of brown that are not related to food. So, please.
There was some drama at the end that I didn’t like, the same drama that NA novel can’t get away from but other than that, Flow, Grip and Still are by far the series you need to read ASAP, so beautifully written!