by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon & Schuster - Gallery Books
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Reviewed by Hellie
Reviewed by Hellie
As we disclose frequently on the Dish, many of the books we review are ARCs generously given to us for our honest review, but I, like all the other members, have an addiction for Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I saw an article two weeks ago about summer reads I should check out--and this particular book leaped out at me. I mean: look at the title. I’m intrigued. And then I read the blurb, and boom, I was hooked. I think you will be too.
Blurb: 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 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 to 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.
Guys, that premise is merely the first 40 pages--a 40 pages that was filled with witty banter and hilarious comedy that had me spit-taking my soda and hurrying to my co-worker’s office to read her whatever had made me laugh out loud. Which was every page. The characters, story, and writer’s voice checks all my boxes for snarky one-liners, side-splitting comedy gold, and teeth wincing black moments and humiliations only a chick lit/rom-com book can do. It’s also written in first person present tense, which I will rarely do for anybody...so I’m telling you: this book is exceptional.
Lauren did a great job of balancing the slapstick with true emotional growth and character development as the hero and heroine went from hating each other’s guts to kissing each other senseless. (Normally I don’t care for that sort of transition, but Lauren made sure to pave the way so that the transition from hate to love felt real, relatable, and natural. Not sexual tension for the sake of a bulging manhood or anything--and in fact there were no references to bulging manhoods, which I want to personally thank Lauren for. All sexual tension was organic and, well, sexy. Which I know is hard to do.)
Additional to the character growth of Olive, Lauren did an excellent job of creating a family support network (cast of characters) who felt real, flawed, yet extremely loving and supportive. I know in romances we get wrapped up in the new love that develops, but it’s a treat to read about the various kinds of love that we’re supported by everyday, not the least of which is our family (whoever that may be) who may be infuriating but damn, they always got your back. This story also touches on resilience, the concept of luck versus a positive attitude, the importance of honesty and good communication, and not being afraid to be your authentic self--and the possible repercussions if you fail to be authentic. (I’m possibly getting a little deep for a happy, fun and funny beach read--but when I do think about the reasons why I liked a book, these are the sorts of things I reflect on.)
I read this book is basically 1 ½ sittings--and I want to read it again, just so I can relive the banter between Ethan and Olive, which is Darcy and Eliza personified. If anything, you should read it just to enjoy the wedding banquet scene when the food poisoning strikes. Classic.