I read this for Romance Book Bingo: Interracial couple square.
I feel really bad about this, but Courtney Milan’s foray into New Adult Contemporary is not my jam. I almost DNFed this book a couple of times while reading. The two protagonists were not compelling or believable as a couple. The main plot about two 20 year old college students trading lives for a couple of weeks was all over the place. I think the amount of sub-plots also hindered the overall story too.
Tina Chen is focused on finishing college so she can go off and be a doctor. A daughter of two Chinese immigrants, she is used to have to struggle to pay bills. After getting into it with Blake Reynolds about how hard her life is and he has no idea what it means to be poor, he offers to trade her life for his. Unlike with Trading Spaces though, two powerful and racist white men are not behind this whole thing.
Blake is having a hard time with the fact that his father, Adam Reynolds, wants him to take over their billionaire dollar company Cyclone when he graduates from college. Just think of Cyclone like a younger and hipper Apple. Seriously though, the company and the ins and outs of it were the most boring parts of this whole story.
All you really need to know though is that Blake finds Tina hot. And for no reason at all he tells Tina she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for his father in order for them to make this swap. It is dumb. I just think Milan wanted a scene with Adam Reynolds and Tina not backing down in front of him.
I can usually say what POV I like in a book, but I had issues with both Tina and Blake’s first person POV throughout this book. If Tina was “speaking” then Blake seems naive and somehow sexy all the time. Tina is shy and hesitant about saying one word. When Blake is “speaking” he sees Tina as this self assured and sexy woman and is constantly thinking about having sex with her. I really wish that this book had focused on Tina’s best friend Maria, since her backstory (she’s a transgender woman) who actually wants to be an actuary when she graduates. Maria has dealt with being thrown out of her home by her parents, and being rejected by fellow girls for not really being a girl. I liked Maria’s personality and how she calls Tina out on things.
Other characters I was not too bothered with. Tina’s mother was overbearing. Her father just seemed to be some wise man who barely spoke. Tina’s younger sister seemed quirky. Blake’s dad Adam was aggravating. The reveal about what was going on with him maybe made me laugh out loud though. I don’t think Milan meant that to be a reaction. I just found this whole book so over the top I just couldn’t keep up with it. And honestly didn’t want to after a while. I definitely don’t see myself continuing this series past this book either.
I disliked some of the writing a lot. It felt juvenile and also way too old for some of the conversations that Tina and Blake have with each other. The flow was off from beginning to end. Switching between Tina and Blake could have worked I think if their respective chapters ended organically. Instead sometimes it felt like they were mid-thought and it switched to one or the other. I maybe also laughed hysterically when they finally gave in to their impulses and started having sex. I swear when I am done with these romance reads I am just reading about mystery novels for a month straight.
The ending sets things up to continue following this couple. There were a couple of crisis’s that ultimately don’t matter. I honestly had a hard time with how the book ends since I don’t think it’s realistic at all for these people to just put out there all the things that were going on with the company and somehow the stock increases.