Lizzy "Overachiever" Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly: * Become a lawyer. Check. * Join a prestigious law firm. Check. * Make partner. In progress.
If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.
Jack Park didn't expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he's got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn't know of his decades-long crush on her--and he intends to keep it that way. She's a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he's a bookkeeper at his family's brewery who never left his hometown. He can't risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books...
Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.
What a fun, feel-good story! This one had me grinning pretty much the entire way. I just loved these two so much! The way Jack looks at Lizzy, the way he thinks her quirks are so adorable, the way he is always there for her, the way he understands and appreciates her love of books... Is it any wonder I fell for him as hard as Lizzy does?
Friends-to-Lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes and one this author does very well. Jack and Lizzy have been best friends for twenty years, since the age of ten. It's evident in the comfort level they share, the freedom to tease and joke around, their rock-solid support and belief in one another, the deep affection, and the openness and honesty that is the foundation of their relationship. Well, except for that one little thing: the fact that Jack Park has been in love with Lizzy Chung for almost his entire life.
Lee guides Jack and Lizzy through this journey with almost flawless execution. Their unexpected, gradual transition from friends to lovers occurs alongside their individual journeys of personal growth in a way that feels real and authentic. Each of them is at a professional crossroads, with looming decisions that will impact family expectations as well as personal relationships. Lee allows the gravity of those decisions to play out with necessary emotional introspection, giving it the gravity it deserves while also balancing it with the lightness, humor, and sweetness of the ever-deepening dynamic between Lizzy and Jack.
As with her previous books, Lee also immerses the reader in the Korean-American culture of her main characters. I enjoy the inside view of these families; their traditions, expectations, food (yes, I drooled), and differences. The dichotomy between Jack's parents and Lizzy's is quite striking.
I also appreciate the approach the author takes with Lizzy's anxiety and Jack's feelings of unworthiness, issues so many people deal with. It makes these characters even more relatable and it makes their growth, as evidenced by their eventual life-changing decisions, and ultimate HEA, even more satisfying.
I'm already excited to discover what Jayci Lee has in store for readers next. In the meantime, I enthusiastically recommend adding Booked on a Feeling to your summer reading list.