Sunday, June 23, 2024

Book Review: One-Star Romance

Natalie and Rob couldn’t have less in common. Nat’s a messy artist, and Rob’s a rigid academic. The only thing they share is their devotion to their respective best friends—who just got engaged. Still, unexpected chemistry has Natalie cautiously optimistic about being maid of honor to Rob’s best man.

Until, minutes before the ceremony, Nat learns that Rob wrote a one-star review of her new novel, which has them both reeling: Nat from imposter syndrome, and Rob over the reason he needed to write it.

When the reception ends, these two opposites hope they’ll never meet again. But, as they slip from their twenties into their thirties, they’re forced together whenever their fast-track best friends celebrate another milestone. Through housewarmings and christenings, life-changing triumphs and failures, Natalie and Rob grapple with their own choices—and how your harshest critic can become your perfectly imperfect match.

After all, even the truest love stories sometimes need a bit of rewriting. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Allyson Bales:

"I mean...there have been moments when I've read something in a book that feels like it was written just for me. Like the author reached inside my brain, took all the thoughts I didn't know how to express, and put them into a perfect paragraph. And in those moments, I've felt so utterly connected to a person I didn't know that it made me think, 'Yes, the world can be hard, and people can be awful to each other.
But there is also such beauty in the fact that we can recognize each other like that.”

This one really snuck up on me. My wife and I are traveling for a couple of weeks in Europe and our first stop is the Azores. I think most European flights are evening flights and ours left at 9:00 p.m.. I  started this one while the flight was taxiing and while my seat mates and other passengers around me were dropping like flies, I was legit holding my eyes open with my fingers to keep reading this one. It's definitely going to be a favorite romance of the year.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was not expecting a book with such depth, one that made me miss my best friend, and one that continues to live rent free in my head. While this story does have a lot of lighthearted moments that made me chuckle, it also had a lot of tender, more thought-provoking moments too. I loved the themes of "timing really can be everything" and "friends are the family we choose."

I am in this beautiful place with the most beautiful scenery and I couldn’t wait to get back to this story. I really enjoyed Natalie’s character a lot. She transforms as the story goes on, in a very relatable way. She talks about feeling behind the rest of her friends, and that is so common to feel. I also loved her banter with Rob.  This story takes place over many years and those are my favorite kinds of stories. 

If you’re looking for a book about love, friendship, and finding your place in this wild world, grab this one! 

Melissa Smoot:

This was a fun read, but also extremely well written. The way that Hankin told the story over almost a decade gave it so much depth. The different ways peoples’ lives can change, as well as how they grow as a person was highlighted in how they interacted throughout. All the characters were very different and it made the conflicts more realistic. 

The main character, Natalie, was believable and easy to relate to. For me personally, I remember feeling how she did when I was in my late twenties and still figuring out what career path I wanted to take. It feels like being left behind by the friends that knew what they wanted to be from a young age. I appreciated that Natalie had self-awareness and actively worked to make changes in her life, even when she felt that it was hopeless. 

There were times that I was frustrated with her best friend, Gabby, because she seemed to always need Natalie’s support, but never gave it back. It was so one-sided at times, but as they grew over the years that started to change. At first, I was annoyed that Natalie was so forgiving of both Gabby and Rob (another main character) but as the years went on and they all evolved, it made more sense to me. Natalie’s life would not have turned out the way it did if things had not happened that way in the past.

Overall, this is a fabulous book, and I would recommend adding it to your list. It is funny, witty, emotional, and insightful. Definitely five stars!

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review. Purchase One-Star Romance here.

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