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Review: Ten Rules for Faking It, by Sophie Sullivan

WELP. Here we go, cool cats and kittens - we've got a stinker right this way!

I will go ahead and say this right off the bat - this book did not start off terrible. In fact, it started off with great potential that it failed to live up to in rather emphatic fashion.

Here is the one big problem with this book - this is a romance novel of 370 pages that has no sex. It doesn't even have kissing, or suggestive witty banter, or anything that a normal human being would even constitute as noticeable flirting. What it does have is multiple instances of unbelievably erotic pinky grazing (is pinky grazing erotic?), and that is apparently fucking ENOUGH for these two moronic main characters to decide that it's True! Love! and they're absolutely perfect for each other.

I have a lack of reliably constant suggestive flirting and actual smooching in my life right now, romance authors. I do not need such a lack replicated in my escapist fantasy. Give me smooching or Get. Out.

Right, having established that, let's go through the many other reasons that this book was bad. This is the story of Everly, a radio producer who's rant about her bad love life accidentally goes viral, and Chris her station manager who she's kind of liked for about eighteen months but has never said more than three sentences to because that would require something actually happening. Anyway, Chris concocts this plan for Everly to be the star of her own bachelorette-style radio dating show to get ratings and numbers. It's a hit! Everyone loves Everly! She gets no negative backlash on social media whatsoever (which is so far beyond the realm of suspending disbelief I actually snorted). There's even a best friend character who's personality is such an amalgamation of all best friend tropes without a single original quirk or trait that I've literally already forgotten her name!

It was 100 pages too long. By the time the story finally starts to wrap up, we have been through the cycle of "girl and boy like each other - conflict that threatens to keep them apart! - resolution and happily ever after" at least 3 times. This meant not only that the entirety of the book was repetitive, and by the end, dull as watching paint dry, but also that the entirety of the back half of the novel felt beyond anticlimactic. Not only do we already know they'll resolve everything because this is a romance, we've seen them resolve everything twice before already. Also - if you have this many irreconcilable differences before you've even shagged, maybe you shouldn't actually get together? Just a thought...

The relationship between Chris and Everly was completely unbelievable. We're supposed to believe that they go from barely speaking to madly in love after a few looks, maybe 3 sentences exchanged, and two chapters' worth of plot? I'm sorry, but no. The first few chapters of Chris's POV are all about how much he fancies Everly but he's got to keep himself aloof to protect himself from liking her too much since it would be unfair of him to date her since he's planning on leaving California soon! First of all - presumptuous of you to assume she wants to date you, pal (she does, but that's not the point, so shut up). Second of all - you don't know her. The whole point is that you've exchanged, tops, 15 really frosty sentences with her before the main thrust of the plot picks up. And 58 descriptive pinky grazes that really, really emphasize the jolts! Of! Electricity! do not make an adequate substitute for a complete and total lack of any chemistry to speak of.

Lastly - Everly is not a sympathetic protagonist. She's written to have bad social anxiety, which I do to a certain point understand (and even appreciate Sophie Sullivan for attempting to craft a more realistic and representative heroine), but her anxiety really just functions as a plot device so that Everly can be an absolute nightmare to her friends and family and have it always be totally okay since, oh, we can't get mad at her, she has social anxiety. I mean, her parents are absolutely terrible, but still. Girl. Be polite, for fuck's sake. And everyone seems to just constantly sing her praises about how great she is when there is very little corroborating evidence in the story itself as to her brilliance.

Lastly (second lastly? Whatever, this was a bad book), Chris is not an attractive male lead! He's rude, entitled, pushy, obnoxious, arrogant, his chat is bad, and his most discernible character traits are that he hates his dad, goes to the gym, and doesn't have much of a social life. I don't know about you, but I am getting red flags all up in here and would much prefer to drop him off at therapy than attempt to date him.

Also, all the characters spend a lot of time talking to themselves instead of just, you know, thinking things. Which, seeing as we're in their internal monologue, was a weird authorial choice to make.

Anyway, this book manages to combine being both slow-moving and repetitive with nothing happening, bad characters, and dull dialogue. This book is bad and I will not be reading anything she writes next.

Happy reading,

Amélie xx

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I’m Amélie, I love books and reading, and I also love talking about them.

I’m incredibly lucky to be bilingual, so I read books in both French and English, and will talk about both of those on here – although I will do more in English, since I know that’s probably what the majority of the people who ever find this blog will be interested in!

I also like history, traveling, Shakespeare, coffee, cheese, musicals, Italian Baroque art, the ballet, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, flowers, makeup, high heels, and baking. Yes, I’m a walking cliché. I am aware.

Please do tweet at me with any suggestions/book recommendations/thoughts.

In case you’re curious – yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.

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