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New Release Review! HIS GRUMPY CHILDHOOD FRIEND by Jackie Lau (Cider Bar Sisters #2)

His Grumpy Childhood Friends cover

It’s been five years since Charlotte Tam had to endure a public proposal at a baseball game—literally the stuff of her nightmares—and realized her ex never really knew her. She hasn’t dated since, afraid that no man will understand her cranky, introverted, coffee-obsessed self, but she wants to try again. Her friend suggests she ask a guy to ease her into the dating game and give her some lessons.

That night at the cider bar, Charlotte runs into Mike Guo, her childhood best friend who lived in the house next door twenty years ago. Surely easygoing Mike, who is now surprisingly handsome, must do well in the world of love. He’s the perfect candidate for this.

But as they go on practice dates around Toronto and even have kissing lessons, Charlotte starts to fall for Mike, and that was never part of the plan. He’s too different from her, just like her ex—how could it work? And she suspects Mike has secrets of his own…

Can their childhood friendship really become love?

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Friends-to-lovers–especially when they’re childhood friends, with a touch of unrequited love–is one of my all-time favorite tropes, when done well. Ms Lau does very well with Charlotte and Mike here 🙂

Their story was so much fun!

Charlotte’s quirks (and okay, Mike’s too–I’m looking at you, spiders) made me laugh out loud more than once. Though I am 100% with her dislike of stadium proposals–those are ALWAYS a bad, bad idea–I just loved that Mike was so accepting of them–and of her!–and never made her feel bad about them or less-than. And of course Charlotte reciprocated with his spider issue, calmly dealing with any and all that dared to invade his space. (OMG, when he woke her up that one time? I’m pretty sure I snort-laughed. Thank goodness no one was around to witness that.)

The conflict of this story ends up being very low drama, but with all of the drama going on IRL right now that was exactly the kind of story I needed to read. Essentially, His Grumpy Childhood Friend is a lighthearted, sexy friends-to-lovers story about two childhood friends who reconnect as adults and just really manage and enjoy and appreciate each other, not in spite of their quirks but because of them. It’s worth a read even if you haven’t read Amy and Victor’s story ( Her Big City Neighbor ) yet.

But you totally should read their story too. It’s *almost* as fun 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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