The premise of this book is extremely silly, but the authors manage to make it work, and ground it in something real, so that’s always fun to have happen. Olive Torres is an identical twin, and her sister Ami is getting married. Olive also hates her sister’s husband’s brother, Ethan, and they have disliked each other for years. Due to food allergies and preferences, they end up being the only two people at the wedding who aren’t food poisoned by a rare toxin, and as a result, Ami begs Olive to take her non-refundable honeymoon so somebody can enjoy it. In order to do that, she needs a traveling partner (of course it’s Ethan), and they both need to pretend to be Ami and Dane to go.
So, that’s the premise. Most of the book, a good 60%, takes place in Hawaii as the two slowly learn to unhate each other and fall in love. This part was at times fun and at times a little humdrum for me. I liked them opening up to each other and being vulnerable, and having fun, but the weird tropey interactions I could have done without (for example, a weird encounter on a boat that ends up with them falling on each naked). There was a subplot with Olive getting the dream job in her field, and it being in peril because of their lies, because of course they run into her new boss and his wife while in Hawaii. They also happen to run into Ethan’s ex. One of these might have been written off, but both of them beggared belief a little, although I thought the direction they ended up going with both of those coincidences ended up being interesting, even if I wasn’t terribly into them as plot devices.
I didn’t hate the way their relationship shed light on Ami and Dane’s, but it did take me by surprise, which is always good. The ending conflict is basically a fight where SPOILERS Ethan chooses to believe his brother over Olive, and I personally felt betrayed by this, which means the author did a good enough job with it. I also felt betrayed by her sister’s reaction to Olive telling her that Dane is a scumbag, but I thought it was sweet the way they resolved it. It was still disheartening and the moment of the character’s ultimate low point, as both Ethan and her sister use her reputation (a sore point of hers to begin with) to justify their disbelief in her, and that was genuinely heartbreaking that the two people she loved most would use that against her. Which brings me to my complaint that there wasn’t enough groveling. I thought Ami and Olive’s reunion was great, especially since Ami had way more reason IMO to be upset and want to defend her husband, and psychologically her reaction made a lot of sense to me. Relationships between sisters, even ones that get along, can be fraught. But Ethan was a total dillhole to Olive, and I just thought his Grand Gesture at the end felt empty. He needed to have a conversation with her and make himself really vulnerable, show that he understood why and how it was he hurt her so badly, and that didn’t happen. So I was just sort of grumpy that they were together again END SPOILERS.
I did the audio, and it was fine. I think I might have liked it better in print, but maybe not. I really didn’t like the male narrator they chose, but at least he was only around for the epilogue.