- Author: Christina Lauren
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: May 14, 2019
- Publisher: Gallery Books
CONTENT WARNING: vomit
Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister, Ami, is an eternal champion … she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than having constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.
Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.
Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss are worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is … Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
This book came highly recommended, and I seriously loved every single second of it. The story hit all of the right notes, and while it was my first Christina Lauren book, it definitely will not be the last.
So here’s the thing about tropes: when they’re done poorly, they’re so cringe-worthy. But when they’re done well, they can be the high point of a story. And this book incorporates two tropes and does them so well. Olive and Ethan’s story involves both the enemies to lovers and fake relationship/forced proximity tropes, and I was blown away at how beautifully they were done.
“Without a doubt, we both would happily die on the Not Sharing a Bed with You hill, but how do we decide who gets the only bedroom? Obviously, I think I should — but knowing Ethan, he probably thinks he’ll take the bed and I’ll happily build my little troll fort under the dining table.”
The characters are so thoroughly crafted that they felt like real people, and not just the main characters, but the side characters as well. I enjoyed getting to know Olive and Ethan more, and understanding what made them the way they are. They both have their own backstory and motivations, and I fell in love with the characters.
“I pull in a hulking lungful of air, realizing I just did what I always seem to do, which is to immediately dive into the worst-case scenario.”
I’m a huge fan of books that feature a body positive message, and this is definitely one of them. It’s no secret that Olive is curvy, enjoys food, and is comfortable in her own skin. But she also understands that society doesn’t always treat curvy girls so kindly, and that some people judge women based on their shape and size.
“Obviously my opinion of Ethan Thomas is: he can bite me. With the exception of today (wholly because of this dress), I like my body. I’m never going to let someone make me feel bad about it or about cheese curds.”
The banter between the characters was laugh out loud funny. And they keep finding themselves in the most uncomfortably awkward situations that were hilarious. This is definitely a book that I wasn’t able to read in public, and I know because I tried and got some very strange looks when I just couldn’t stifle my laughter fast enough.
The romance developed slowly. It felt like it was more natural, and avoided falling into the instant attraction trap. The characters progressed from hate to not-hate to attraction … and then some. And they made a great pair. I loved seeing them together, and growing as individuals, not just as a couple.
“When did the default plan become that we spend this entire vacation together? And when did the idea of that not send us both into a wavy bout of nausea?”
There was literally nothing that I didn’t love about this book. This was a clean romance, but it never felt like anything was missing. I loved the setting, especially since Hawaii is a personal favorite out of all the places I’ve been (even though I haven’t gotten to Maui yet). It brought me back to my visit to Oahu, though. I’ll be shouting about this book from the rooftops from now until forever, because this landed on my favorite books of the month list.
Categories: Book Review