by Molli Moran
Publication date: December 1st 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
She needs a fill-in boyfriend. He needs a favor. It’s the perfect, no-strings arrangement until they both realize it’s too real…
Sophie-Claire Wright’s life is like a bad country song on repeat. She keeps running into her cheating ex, her songwriting career isn’t taking off, and her roommate just kicked her out of their apartment. With nothing to lose, she decides to do the one thing she said she’d never do: she moves back home. She left her small Southern town with big dreams, but now she’s going home with empty pockets.
Life moves at a slower pace in Sophie’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hometown, but her well-meaning, matchmaking mama doesn’t have a slow gear. Sophie invents a boyfriend to hold off her mother’s efforts, but she’s out of luck when her mom wants to meet him. Sophie panics until she runs into Jake Cooper. Her high school crush is back in town, too, and when he asks her for a favor, she agrees—on one condition. He says he’ll be her fill-in boyfriend, so it should be simple: introduce him to her family and then “break up” with him after a few weeks.
Sophie is sure she’ll be able to resist Jake this time and that their fake relationship will keep them both away from wagging tongues. Sure, she was in love with him years ago, but that was then. This is now, no matter how great he looks, or how she feels around him. But she didn’t bargain for moments that feel all too genuine. Dates that don’t seem fake. Kisses that leave her shaken and wanting more. And she didn’t count on old feelings resurfacing and complicating their arrangement—which is starting to feel less like acting and more like the real deal.
Soon, Sophie can’t tell which kisses are real or fake, but she knows she’s in deep…and she thinks Jake is, too. When she gets a chance to go back to Nashville and chase her dreams again, she has a choice to make: stay or go? Continue hoping that the life she wants is one song away, or write her own?
I loved the first 60% or so of this one–Jake and Sophie are likable characters, and I love the friends to lovers troupe. The combo of a fake relationship + unrequited love is always fun too, and the author’s breezy writing style and sense of humor had me smiling through a lot of the book.
The ending was sweet–Sophie-Claire (love her name! So adorable) finds out some truths about herself that were a long time coming, and finally figures out just where “home” is to her. She and Jake are great together, and it’s all very satisfying in the end. The tie-in with the title is just lovely:
“I have to change things. I have to decide to begin writing everything about my own song. I can’t keep telling myself that everything will fall into place. That someday, the melody and lyrics will go together perfectly. I can’t keep thinking that the perfect life is one song away. I have to start making the most of the one I already have.”
However–the conflict of the story, the part that puts their absolutely adorable relationship in danger, felt contrived. Similar events actually happen twice in the story–something is said or done (or not said or done, as the case may be) and Sophie takes off. Literally. She’s out of there and completely shuts Jake out, refusing to hear his side of the story for a period of time. It was frustrating to read, especially since you’re pretty sure the whole thing is a misunderstanding on her part and once she stops and listens to him again it’ll all be ironed out in a flash.
Which is pretty much what happens.
So…a cute read and a fun one, with some aggravating bits. I’ll definitely give the author another go, though, since there was more that I liked here than not and I really enjoyed her voice.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.