Saturday, July 30, 2022

Review - - Thank You, Next

Thank You, Next
by Andie J. Christopher
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Reviewed by Hellie

Alex Turner is never The One—but always the last one an ex dates before finding love—and now she’s determined to find out why in this hilarious new rom-com

Single divorce attorney Alex Turner is watching reality TV when she sees her latest ex’s new fiancée picking out her wedding dress. Yet again, the guy she dumped went on to marry (or at least seriously commit to) the next person he dates after her. Fed up with being the precursor to happily ever after, she decides to interview all her exes to find out why. 

Up-and-coming chef Will Harkness mixes with Alex like oil and vinegar, but forced proximity growing up means their lives are forever entwined. When Will learns Alex and her friends are going on a wild romp through Los Angeles to reconnect with her ex-boyfriends, he decides to tag along. If he can discover what her exes did wrong, he can make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake with Alex.  

On this nonstop journey through the streets of LA, Alex realizes the answer to her question might be the man riding shotgun…


Hellie’s Heeds: 

Warning: If you prefer your heroines more Disney-Princess sweet (even when furious) and not equipped to speak fluent sailor, this book is not for you. Technically speaking, I think in general, in that circumstance, Andie Christopher’s books are not for you, because Andie’s heroines all live at the intersection of “Zero fucks to give” and “Fuck around and find out.” This is awesome–but it can make a reader go, “Why don’t I like this heroine?” I give this warning because I too can be hard on my heroines, requiring them to be nicer, more civil than the alpha males that tend to line the covers of my favorite books. I too have been Socially Gendered and when I encounter heroines in books who are either too abrasive, too bossy, or too sexually liberated (especially for what I consider the time period), I get balky. But…if you don’t mind your women on the salty side, you should be just fine with Alex Turner, the divorce lawyer and young woman with daddy issues and childhood trauma she’s still working through. She feels modern and relatable.  

Now the hero, Will Harkness, is much easier to love (not the least of which because we usually give men a pass) and he cooks us food–can’t hate anyone who takes care of your hangry. And sure, the rejection he gave Alex was YEARS ago, but I can go on record, there are still guys from my teen years I won’t talk to for very similar reasons and I’m happily married now. There is just something about the trauma of a teenage rejection that just stays and stabs your self esteem for the rest of your life, no matter how many times you tell yourself, “It wasn’t personal, Hellie. Really.” And I mean, he didn’t have to be so adamant about turning her down, did he? Honestly. 

Now Alex’s ride or die friends, Jane and Lana, are worth the read alone as is her grandmother, Lexie, who basically raised her…and is the sort of person we all want to be when we grow up. I recommend reading just for the ideas of what you should be doing in your retirement: younger men, aerial yoga, and extensive travel. The ex-boyfriends Alex revisits to figure out why she is the problem are hysterically awful–though my personal favorite is the yoga instructor. (I read that particular scene to my husband and he wheezed coffee out of his nose and said my SoCal accent was spot on for the character.)  

I think my particular favorite bit–and it was an on-going bit–was the reference to the Attachment Style of the hero and heroine. It seems both characters were familiar with the book, Attached, a non-fiction book about attachment types. Both characters are the Avoidant attachment type–you can’t get too close or they bolt (or you leave because you realize it’s fruitless.) Now if you’ve read this book (my husband has), you’ll know that getting two avoidant types to be successful is near to impossible–and knowing this, there were times, especially when I saw Alex acting out–that I wondered, how is this possibly going to work? But I think the premise is that you just at least need to be aware this is your attachment style–and that you need to communicate better if you want to make the relationship work; and Andie does successfully do that for the characters, in my opinion. (You may ask, Hellie, what’s your attachment style–anxious attachment, thank you for asking, and possibly anxious avoidant, which is the WORST of the types–and no I didn’t read the book. I did take the quiz. Well, partly, basically I just told my pre-husband: look, I assure you, it’s anxious. And because I’m anxious, I tend to pick people who are unavailable or avoidant because I like to be right about my anxiety.) TLDR: I understood Alex, even if she was one salty sailor.  

Oh, and both characters are biracial, if that is also something you like in your books and characters (representation matters!), but honestly these are just two smart, caring, successful people with hot-messes for love-lives who find each other…finally. Enjoy!