I, like many many other Cannonballers lived for Thorne’s debut novel, The Hating Game. I’ve re-read it several times, and it will be a permanent favourite. So when Thorne released her follow-up novel, it was a no-brainer for purchase.
I had really really high hopes that this would measure up to The Hating Game’s standards, but it just wasn’t the same for me.
Darcy Barrett has always held every man in her life to the benchmark set by her childhood friend, Tom Valeska. He’s the one who got away, her forever ideal man. Her problem is that her twin brother Jamie befriended him first.
Darcy & Jamie inherit their grandmother’s house after her death, and they are tasked with restoring and selling it. Re-enter Tom, who of course is a house-flipper and is the one in charge of the project. Darcy needs to keep her brother from sabotaging her design ideas, and needs to keep hiding her feelings from Tom.
It’s a cute concept, I guess? But some of the leaps that we’re asked to make as a reader are just a bit of a reach for me. She can’t date Tom because Jamie “saw him first”? What kind of playground legality is that? The Darcy/Jamie relationship is toxic (on both sides), and every interaction made me cringe.
Her relationship with Tom wasn’t much better. The key to a good ‘slow burn’ romance is that the misunderstandings between the couple need to be believable. The tension that Thorne tried to create between these two just didn’t make sense for me.
All three of these main characters seemed so melodramatic and over-the-top, that I just couldn’t buy in as much as I wanted to. I still enjoyed it, and realize that maybe I built up expectations too much in my head, but it was just ok for me.