Hi everyone! So the title of this post may be a tad dramatic. On the agenda today is a review of the last two romance books I read. Let’s dive right into it!
Young Adult Romance: Perfect on Paper by Sophia Gonzalez
In Perfect on Paper: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back.
Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.
However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.
Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.
Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?
I’ve had some pretty disappointing reads lately and this book definitely lifted my spirits. Perfect on Paper is original, heartwarming, and funny. It has a cast of queer characters and even though I’m not part of the community, I loved reading about all of them. At school, Darcy and Brooke are part of the Queer and Questioning club, founded by Ainsley (Darcy’s sister) who is transgender. It’s a safe space for students to discuss LGBTQ+ issues and I learned some interesting things from their conversations.
The 1st person POV gave an immediacy to the story that hooked me from the start. The tone was light and the teenage sass made me laugh. Sophie Gonzales’ writing flowed smoothly and made for such an easy reading experience. No words were wasted; every sentence was polished and contributed to the story.
Darcy is such a witty and likeable character. Her voice is distinct and pulls you in right away. As a teen with divorced parents, all she wants to do is help other people’s relationships flourish. She takes it upon herself to study the advice of relationship experts and learn all she can. I loved reading the letters she got from her classmates and honestly, her advice felt pretty spot on. She discusses love languages, attachment styles, boundaries, and more. For a 16 year old, she’s got a lot figured out, except for her own love life.
Despite charging her classmates for relationship advice, she’s never been in a relationship herself. She’s in love with her best friend Brooke, but she’s also keeping a big secret from her. Darcy makes some big mistakes there, but that’s to be expected from a teenager. She regrets her choices and not just because of the consequences she faces. Watching her take accountability for her actions and learn from them was awesome.
Darcy’s sister Ainsley is a great supporting character. With Ainsley’s help, Darcy navigates her feelings for Brooke as well as her unexpected friendship with Alexander Brougham. They’re close in age and if I didn’t know, I would have mistaken them for best friends instead of sisters. This brings me to my only criticism of this book. Brooke and Darcy’s friendship needed more development. I had a hard time believing they were best friends. There’s no backstory to how they met, their conversations are shallow and they don’t spend that much time together. Brooke felt more like an afterthought than a fully fleshed-out character.
Let’s get back to Alexander Brougham for a second. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was all for him and Darcy getting closer with each other. Their chemistry is natural and for a minute I thought he made up needing help getting his ex back just so he could be close to Darcy.
I finished Perfect on Paper within 48 hours so that’s how you KNOW it was special. This book had me entertained from start to finish, there literally wasn’t a dull moment. Everything from the writing, to the characters and the plot was pretty much flawless. If you’re a fan of Alice Oseman’s books you have to check this out.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Adult Romance: Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur
Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.
Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.
Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.
The plot started off really well. Everything from Annie getting to Seattle to visit her best friend Darcy, to learning Darcy isn’t there and then meeting Brendon was entertaining. Hang the Moon is about finding your person. Even though this is Brendon’s love story, several of the supporting characters take big steps in their relationships. There’s plenty of cuteness to go around and nothing too serious comes up in the plot. Also, if you’re into astrology you’ll like the way it’s incorporated into the start of some chapters.
I wasn’t particularly attached to Annie, but I could relate to her being frustrated with modern dating. I didn’t think her and Brendon were all that compatible and I was disappointed with how much of their relationship was based on physical attraction. Once Annie starts to developing feelings for Brendon, she shuts him out and things get boring. This doesn’t last for long because Darcy parent traps them into spending time together. Regardless, the plot lacked conflict and disappointed in the twist department.
I’m glad that this book had a dual point of view because I think Annie’s perspective alone would have bored me. Her character needed more development. All I knew about her was that she wasn’t happy with her job because it made her feel lonely. We don’t get much detail about her previous relationships and we don’t see her in action at her work because the plot starts in Seattle. It would have been nice to see what her real life was like, not just her vacation life.
Brendon is the type of male love interest that is far too “perfect” to be realistic. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at his extremely cheesy lines. Grand gestures are his game and while there’s no denying the guy knows how to put in effort, those acts aren’t sustainable. There wasn’t enough evidence to show that he would make a good partner after the honeymoon phase ended.
Hang the Moon ends with a happily ever after, which I love to see, but it wasn’t that satisfying because it came too easily. To be fair, I didn’t know this was the sequel to Written in the Stars, which is about Darcy’s love life. I don’t think I missed much, but I’m curious if I would have liked Hang the Moon more if I’d read the previous book. I feel like I mostly complained in this review, but this is a good choice if you’re looking for something light and quick to help get you out of a reading slump!
Rating: 3/5 stars
The clear winner of this battle is Perfect on Paper. I was much more invested in Darcy than I was with Annie. Darcy was a flawed character, but one who is easy to love and whose growth was rewarding to watch. Annie was a less developed character, whose journey was focused on making one decision. Should she move across the world or take a chance on love? Perfect on Paper had a more eventful plot and it kept me on my toes. I was not expecting to be so wowed by a YA novel and I’m so glad I picked it up. This is a PSA that you’re never too old to read YA and you’d be surprised what you might learn from these younger protagonists.