Smart Tass (2017) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff Review

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Hunting the Hunter

Smart Tass (2017) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff: 8 out of 10: “Smart Tass” follows the story of Tass, a smart and driven young woman determined not to let her childhood tormentor, Hunter Johnson, continue to disrupt her life.

Growing up, Hunter was the hot, popular quarterback who enjoyed picking on Tass, teasing her for being a “flat-chested virgin” and pulling pranks like throwing food at her. Despite their tumultuous history, they end up at the same college, where Hunter seems fixated on continuing his teasing and pranks.

Tass, however, is no longer the geeky little girl he used to bully. She’s grown into a confident and intelligent woman who won’t tolerate Hunter’s antics. As the story unfolds, Tass resolves to stand up to Hunter and take control of her life, leading to a clash between her determination and Hunter’s persistent antics. The dynamic between them shifts as they navigate their complicated history and the new reality of their college lives.

The Good

The Good: “Smart Tass” is a frothy, light, fun, and sexy romp. Told in first person from the titular character, author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff skillfully highlights Tass’s flaws through her narration while making her unaware of said flaws.

While no one would ever accuse “Smart Tass” of gritty realism, its candy coasted college life is consistent and a world that is a joy to be in.

The Bad

The Bad: Tass for all her book smarts is not very bright. She also thinks the reader is not very bright. As a result, she likes to explain things the reader probably always knew. She does this a lot. It fits within her character so it is hardly a big strike and the plot depends on her being an unreliable narrator in places and a bit stuck up in others.

Despite her apparent bouts of amnesia when it comes to Hunter, one cannot help but think that he is gaslighting her a smidge. He is a jealous jerk throughout most of the book and while he certainly shows self control and maturity in places, it almost always seems more demonstrative rather than coming naturally to him.

Hunter is a bit like the dog that finally caught the car he had been chasing for fifteen years. As many of us learn in life, there are two curses. Not getting what your heart desires. And getting it.

The Ugly (Audiobook only)

The Ugly (Audiobook only): Narrarator Lauren Sweet which is either a pen name used by a lot of audiobook artists or she incredibly prolific has some issues in scenes with more than one man talking

The good news is Smart Tass does not have many such scenes. But in the penultimate chapter, we have a discussion with three male characters. (Hunter, Hunter’s dad, and Tass’s Dad) and while I was never confused as the author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff does a good job showing who is talking. The issue is, they all seem to have the same breathy, slightly male voice as Hunter does. It is more humorous and distracting than a deal breaker of any kind.

The Ugly (non-audiobook)

The Ugly (non-audiobook): Tass overhears some of the other people in the cabin talking and becomes convinced that Hunter really did just sleep with her to win the contest, so she grabs her roommate and they sneak off in the middle of the night.

We have the standard Three’s Company plot going here. The book tries to have it both ways by pretending that Hunter really tricked her, as if the book itself forgot the deal they struck. Tass drops about ten levels of maturity in these chapters.

Unfortunately, author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff stretched this misunderstanding beyond credulity and for much too long (In both book length and time passed in the story).

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: Overall, I enjoyed the time I spent with the book. It has some niggles, and it is a lightweight read. It is candy fluff, but it is good candy fluff which is difficult to pull off.

“Smart Tass” is a fun, sexy book that is a joyous and uplifting read.

Random Notes from reading

Chapters 1 through 4. Well, so far, this has been a delight. Geeky girl wanting to get into her mother’s sorority is blackballed because they think she has a crush on her old neighbor. A jock that grew up with her and, in her words, made her life miserable. Now she has to show up these mean girls in the geek fraternity and not disappoint her over achieving family by landing the jock in a week to prove she really is not into him. (The author does a much better job setting up this scenario than I did summarizing it.

So she treats this like an experiment, and per her observations, the dumb jock likes an airheaded woman. Alas, since he knows her and clearly harbors some sort of feeling for her (Though not necessarily romantic) this fails spectacularly.

The book is in first person from Tass. Tass has good situational awareness but is realistically out of her depth with this challenge. She is not stupid per se, just does not know what she is doing. (Something she less than cheerfully admits.) She clearly has feelings of at least lust for her target, a thing she makes the reader well aware of even if she will not admit it to herself just yet.

This is a lighthearted, fun, almost comic book version of college. (Think Revenge of the Nerds) but our author has a very deft touch and has just the right amount of humor and drama while setting up the book. Excellent writing so far. Enjoying the book.


I think I am through Chapter 7 here. We meet Tass’s even smarter roommate who works as an author tool to help steer both the plot and Tass herself to the obvious conclusion that she is in love with the jock that tormented her since childhood and the even more outrageous claim that is obvious to all but Tass that he loves her as well. Tass ends the chapters very thirsty and looking for sex (even though a virgin) since that is what her body seems to cry out for after even an encounter with her jock rival.

Couple of notes. The roommate suggests that Tass and the jock get together on the sly since they both need each other to get into their respective sororities/fraternities. (Tass needs to show that she is not into him and somehow also he is he boyfriend which honestly makes little sense and in reality the geek girl sorority makes little sense all the way around.) The jock needs to deflower a virgin to get enough points to get in, which bluntly is a much more straightforward goal. (Alas, a goal right out of a Law and Order SVU episode)

Author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, to her credit, does not make the jocks fraternity particularly threatening in any way just good natured drunks. Also, to her credit, while Tass seems to think of her IQ like a credit score, the author clearly has this as a hidden fault of hers. Which is nice because in real life people who brag (or even talk about) thier high IQ’s are both insufferable (I am looking your way, Mensa) and in my experience, not very useful or bright in real life. Kind of like the guy who brags about how much he can bench but does nothing with that “skill”.


Well, Hunter approaches Tass (That was his name. Escaped me in the notes above) Anyway, he gets the plot moving by proposing to Tass the same idea her roommate had. The author obviously does not want our protagonist to think of such a devious theme herself.

Three revelations of a sort. The sorority of smart girls that Tass is trying to join is at least led by mean spirited snobs while the sorority that cheers on the football players seems to be nice friendly girls that, shock of all shocks, are actually studying and taking majors.

Hunter has a secret girlfriend back home that he is faithful to, or so they claim.

Hunter has a childhood memory that Tass doers not quite recall… (Red herrings abound)

Not a revelation (or at least not a secret one) is Tass is very, very horny and Hunter hits all the right notes.

I love the tone of the book so far. It is fun and lighthearted with enjoyable characters and situations. I am enjoying my time with it.


First the discussion in Tass’s head of the difference between empathy and sympathy and why one is superior to the other is better than anything I have read so far in the otherwise excellent “The Great Transition” and the mediocre “Mirror Cracked” book.

While I doubt we need a hidden motive for Hunter to be a good guy and I find Tass amnesia regarding a violent incident from her past stretching credulity like Hunters package stretching his football pants, the overall tone of the book is still light and airy and we are still on track. That her roommate happily fucked the ogre football player after winning a contest shows both well-rounded characters and that we are in a healthy place and on the right track.


Well, we are winding down. Just one chapter today because someone skipped his walk… Cough Cough… Anyway, Tass is no longer trying to be a TriKap which is a good thing because those paper thin villains are certainly a weak point of the book so far. I like the idea of making the geeks sorority all snobs in theory, but in practice it comes off as unbelievable and paper thin.

Well, an hour to go for the audiobook. (Which is very well narrated by Lauren Sweet who has an unbelievable 240 credits on audible.) So I am expecting at least one sex scene between our heroine and hunter. I want my happily ever after, damn it.


And we get our sex scene. Hey even better, it is set up very well with our lovebirds getting into a down and dirty argument before all the cards are on the table and the shagging can commence. Is Hunter doing a wee bit of gaslighting on Tass? Well, probably, but I will allow it.

So the sex scene is both realistic and very well written. Kudos to the author. I have decent hopes that the remaining chapters will not unravel all the goodwill this book has produced so far. Fingers Crossed.

And we have an unravelling… Well, not a complete unravelling. Tass overhears some of the other people in the cabin talking and becomes convinced that Hunter really did just sleep with her to win the contest, so she grabs her roommate and they sneak off in the middle of the night.

She refuses to talk to hunter. Her roommate breaks up with her jock boyfriend and we have a chapter or two of misery.

First, wasn’t it the deal between them to pretend she slept with Hunter and he took her virginity? The fact it actually happened changes nothing. (There is talk of proof like we were a medieval wedding party, but I think the book protests too hard.) Keep in mind she literally got herself worked up over something she overheard third hand. She didn’t sneak into the bad guys’ lair and overhear thier evil plan. She stood in the kitchen and listened to people she didn’t know talk a room or two away at three in the morning.

We have the standard Three’s Company plot going here. The book tries to have i both ways by pretending that Hunter really tricked her as if the book itself forgot the deal they struck. Brooke drops about ten levels of maturity in these chapters. Seriously.

Well, some time has passed and now I guess we have to wait for the eventual coming back together. We shall see less than an hour left in the audiobook.


And it is Thanksgiving break. Will Tass and Hunter get back together? Will Hunter continue to Gaslight Tass because she was mean to him when they were five? (Seriously). Will thier families have a showdown in the front yard where Hunter’s mother finds her voice and Tass realises the sacrifices everyone makes on her behalf? Will tass get a lap dance from a high end stripper in a private penthouse party only for Hunter to show up? (Well, yes, and to the book’s everlasting credit, I didn’t see that one coming.)

Will there be a lame cliffhanger about the roommate whose mom is dying of cancer? (Again, yes and no, I didn’t see that coming either.) Overall, I enjoyed the time I spent with the book. It has some niggles, and it is a lightweight read. It is candy fluff in many ways, but it is good candy fluff.

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