Monday 3 July 2023

CBR15 Book 22: "It Takes Two" by Jenny Holiday

Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars

15-word review: Bridesmaid Wendy keeps hooking up with former crush Noah, who’s the brother of the bride.

Wendy's best friend Jane (from One and Only) is getting married, and she's delighted to be asked to be the maid of honour. Unfortunately, the best man is the bride's older brother, Noah, who Wendy nursed a crush on for pretty much her entire adolescence until he broke her heart by standing her up at the prom. She has spent most of her adult life going on strategic trips to avoid spending time with Jane when she knew Noah was around, but now she's going to have to spend quite a lot of time in his company and it has her on edge. Determined to not show him how much he still affects her, Wendy challenges him to a "friendly" competition, about making the most memorable bachelor or bachelorette party. 

Since Wendy spent almost all of her time at their house growing up, Noah is very comfortable in her presence. His sister's friend is all grown up now, however, and initially, he feels almost guilty at how much she's now affecting him. She also seems to go out of her way to either avoid him entirely or snarkily disagree with him. As they are both trained lawyers, they can certainly both dish it out verbally, but the closer his sister's wedding they get, the more he seems to forget that Wendy was his sister's childhood companion because he can't stop thinking about how much he wants to kiss her. 

The major obstacles in the path of Wendy and Noah's HEA are Wendy's reluctance to ever let herself be vulnerable around him again and both of them having to get over their past relationship, where Wendy spent so much time with Jane that Noah came to see them both as little sisters. While Wendy nursed her crush for years, Noah was so busy working part-time jobs to help support his family after his father's untimely death and to cover for his grieving mother's depression that he didn't really have time to think about romance. A few years older than Wendy and Jane, as an older teen that age difference was great enough that he never really considered Wendy as a potential love interest. Now that they're both adults, however, the age difference is negligible, and really spending time with her makes him see her in an entirely new (and much more desirable) light.

I liked this one better than Jane's book, where I felt that the ending got a bit silly and the obstacles put in the way of the couple's HEA were a bit forced. Jane and Cameron make for fun supporting characters in this one, though, and it was nice to see them in a different light than in their own book. 

Judging a book by its cover: While the current trend of cartoony romance covers can be exasperating and make the books seem overly cutesy, I'm not sure I miss having photos of actual people on the covers either, as they so rarely match the images I have in my head. Neither of these cover models look anything like I pictured Wendy and Noah. 

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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