No Judgments by Meg Cabot: A Definite Guilty Pleasure

""Find what it is you love to do," she'd advised, "and then do that thing as much as you can. That really is the meaning of life. I love to paint, too, but I wouldn't like to make a living at it. I think that might spoil my love for it.
But if that interests you, you should go for it.""

Yep, Meg Cabot did it again.

After her Princess Diaries, Heather Well, and Mediator series, I have always proudly claimed Cabot as my go-to author whose books I will always pick for a comfort read. No Judgement was her first adult book that I read and enjoyed despite not expecting it to be a chicklit (I seriously need to pay more attention to blurbs beforehand). It was still a good one though, a fun read that is what Cabot has always been famous for.

No Judgement follows the story of a twenty-five-year-old Sabrina 'Bree' Beckham who has been living in Little Bridge Island for three months in order to take a break from her messed-up life in the city. Working as a waitress in a diner called Mermaid Cafe, Bree is determined not to let anything get in her way there, including a category five hurricane threatening to ravage the island or her boss' hot nephew, the notorious heart breaker Drew Hartwell.

When the rampage actually comes, most of the islanders have already evacuated but not Bree or the Hartwells. As soon as the damage is done, they decide to help those in need including some pet owners who have been cut off from their pets. Because of this, Bree has no other choice but to let Drew help her in her mission rescuing all the cats, dogs, birds, and others.

I finished this 350-something book in a day and it must say something if I have not. No Judgement was a light, guilty-pleasure read with interesting characters and even more interesting animals to kick off your weekend with. My love for Gary the cat was relentless that at one point I was actually thinking of adopting one myself... but no, I was not ready for this kind of commitment and responsibility even if I wanted to.

Bree was a fun, relatable character and it was engaging to go through this book with her. Her romance with Drew was totally swoon-worthy in my opinion, and I loved her connection with the other people in this book (especially with Angela and her neighbors). But as much as I enjoyed it, there were some issues that bugged me inevitably, mostly during the last few chapters. Listed below some that I could think of off the top of my head (please stop reading if you haven't read this book yet):

1. The part with Caleb, Kyle, and the gun. I was so glad that Bree got the closure she deserved, but was the part where Bree threatened to kill him necessary?

2. It's nice to get the answer about who Bree's donor mother was, but unfortunately this part seemed a little too rushed for me. It could have been quite emotional if we got... more.

3. Speaking of Bree's mothers, I wasn't a big fan of how she treated her other one. Bree's dynamic relationship with Judge Justine started out kind of interesting but in the end it was not very much.

A fun guilty-pleasure read was still a fun guilty-pleasure read though, and I admired how Cabot managed to cover a lot of heavy topics and make us aware of the importance of making no judgment throughout a lot of events in this book. Minus the ending that felt too quick and one particular part that seemed a little disturbing as it took quite a dark turn, I still enjoyed the rest of this book thoroughly hence my decision to give it four solid stars. Moreover, No Judgement had a fast pace that flowed really well, so I would still recommend it if you want something light and fun.

P.S.: I'm relieved to know that the second book in the Little Bridge Island series is not about Bree and Drew anymore. While I ship and love them entirely, it just seems more fitting to end their story here. During my time reading, I just knew that this book would be perfect as a standalone.

Actual rating: 4