After a particularly brutal breakup, Cassidy Sutton has had it with dating. So when her grandmother gives her a 1950’s dating guide entitled 125 Tips to Hook a Husband, she decides to turn the retro advice into an ironic “What not to do” article for Siren, the popular online women’s publication she writes for. And who better to secretly test the old-fashioned tips on than Jack Bradford, chauvinistic creator of rival men’s site Brawler? She’ll write an article that will entertain female readers everywhere and embarrass their sexist nemesis at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
But her perfect plan soon proves to be anything
but. Those vintage courtship tips Cassidy was so quick to poke fun at? They
actually seem to work, calling her most closely-held beliefs into question.
Even worse? Jack isn’t falling for any of her tricks—and it’s not long before
their ‘fake’ relationship starts to feel like the realest one of her life. As
her cat and mouse game starts to spiral out of control, Cassidy has to decide
if she’s playing to win, or if she’s willing to lose it all for love.
If you will be convening with people this holiday season (in a variety of settings, possibly long dinners or parties) and need an emergency book in your bag to read when you take an emergency 15 minutes in the bathroom to get away from it all–this is your book. It took me less than ten seconds to be sucked into the story, the writing, the sassy sarcastic monologue of the main character, and just start laughing. A good sign for me when I’m reading a book is how soon I start laughing: which could be because of the humor but could also be because of the set up of what is going to go down…and in this book’s case, both. Once you start, you’ll soon make the connection to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but the story also has bits and pieces of other rom-coms you may have watched over the years. 27 Dresses. A bit of You’ve Got Mail. A few cocktails of The Devil Wears Prada. Vintage vibes of Down With Love. Basically any rom-com where the protagonists essentially hate each other at first sight, but in the end, are the very best of lovers. Why is a book about enemies-to-lovers a good pick for the holidays? Because it’s so easy to slip in and out of when you need a few minutes to escape anywhere else–and this book is a delightful escape. I could literally pick up this book and start reading and forget where I was before I even turned the page. It was amazing.
While the hero and heroine are both very likable (which kudos to the author for pulling this off because the heroine could be construed as being a bit hostile to someone she’s technically never met and that’s a hard thin line to walk to make everyone still very sympathetic), the side characters time and again made me laugh out loud. Gran was far and away my favorite–and still is–and I loved how her story was resolved in the end of the book. Her schooling her granddaughter in the minefield of modern dating was a thing to behold. But I also enjoyed Natalie the roommate and Christina the fiercely protective sister (Cassie’s). Tom, who is Jack’s obnoxious business partner, is even eventually turned into a guy one could reasonably like, even as he fronts a company that publishes articles that serve as clickbait and capitalizes on men acting like frat brothers constantly. These characters all supported our main characters and made them better people–and showed us why the main characters were so worthy of love and support.
Lastly, if like me, you’re a bit of a rabid feminist who wrestles with the Patriarchy just in principle, this was an interesting book in poking at the things that definitely burn my britches, so to speak, when it comes to relationships, such as how women tend to subsume themselves into their relationships while men seem to get the better end of the stick (without losing their career, et al). Or the fact that a single woman is basically a thing of pity, but a single man is just someone sowing his wild oats and has plenty of time–even now, today, when being a spinster shouldn’t even be a thing. I would turn pages and go, “Yep! Been there and done that!” or “Oh, yes, the character is wrestling with something I totally think about a lot!”--and the secondary character (or even the main character) would confront the issue and look at it from a different way, one I hadn’t really considered, and it was like, “Yes, that is true too. Huh.” You can be feminist…but also soft, and it not be in contradiction. So I always like a book that makes me challenge my assumptions in a good way and come away with a more positive mindset. (This may not be every reader’s experience–but it certainly resonated with me.)
Basically I laughed a LOT…I would laugh and my husband would say, “What’s so funny?” and I’d tell him and he’d may or may not get it (because you sometimes had to be there, if you know what I mean) and other times he’d go, “Is this a fun book or a review book?” and I’d go, “Both. It’s definitely both.” While enemies to lovers is not my favorite trope, I feel this story hit it out of the park–and it definitely had black moments galore to make you question how this would all turn out. I would highly recommend for your lists to Santa.