I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Roaring Brook Press on April 20, 2021
Source: the publisher
High school nemeses fall in love in this queer YA rom com perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Casey McQuisten.
After losing spectacularly to her ex-girlfriend in their first game since their break up, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, the incredibly beautiful and incredibly mean Irene Abraham. Things only get worse when their nosey, do-gooder moms get involved and the girls are forced to carpool together until Irene’s car gets out of the shop.
Their bumpy start the only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. But when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex (and climb her school’s social ladder at the same time), she bribes Irene into playing along. Hijinks, heartbreak, and gay fake-dating scheme for the ages. From author Kelly Quindlen comes a new laugh-out-loud romp through the ups and downs of teen romance.
I wanted to love this one. I… liked it. I enjoyed the ending. But, sadly, I didn’t love it. The biggest reason? Scottie. For a huge chunk of the book, she’s just absolutely horrible to Irene, for absolutely no reason and with little to no provocation from Irene. I get that Scottie is coming out of a very toxic relationship that impacted her way more than she realized, but my heart just broke for Irene. Scottie did show a lot of character growth and development in the second half of the book, and especially in the last few chapters. By the second to last chapter, I was crying and grinning like an idiot. But it didn’t totally make up for some of her behavior before that.
Again, I loved Irene, and she deserved every good thing that came her way. I know she wasn’t perfect – she definitely had her flaws. But I still really liked her character and her journey. Like, I know Scottie didn’t force her to come out, but she still came out (potentially before she was ready) to go along with Scottie’s plan to get back at Tally, only to constantly end up on the receiving end of Scottie’s bad attitude. Honestly, I would have preferred if the story was told from Irene’s perspective, even partially. I was far more interested in her story than Scottie’s.
I think part of the problem was that this book was kind of short, so the plot was great but everything happened kind of fast. And the character development was slow until it wasn’t. It felt like Scottie went from hating Irene to loving her in the blink of an eye, with nothing in between.
I did love the enemies-to-lovers and fake dating tropes. And I seem to be in the minority when it comes to how I felt about this book. So if you’re looking for a fun, angsty wlw fake dating book, then definitely give this one a shot! (Pun totally not intended but I’m definitely keeping it, haha).