How do you date your best friend’s sister? Easy.
Step one: Pretend you want her to set you up with someone else. That will bring the two of you closer.
Step two: Go on date with lots of random women, proceed to get stupid drunk and talk about your best friend’s sister, thus gaining the courage to finally make a move.
Step three: Randomly show up at her apartment and confess your love. Women love that, right?
It all seemed so simple. A fool-proof three step process that will guarantee the love of you life to fall madly in love with you.
At least–that’s what I thought was going to happen. But my attempts to win over Julia Westin backfired in more ways than I can count. The thing about Julia? She’s smart–really smart–and her wicked gaze cuts through all the charm I’ve tried slinging her way. She’s not interested in games, my gifts, or my stories. She might want me too; but she’s not giving in that easy…
Typically when I go into a NA book, my expectations aren’t the same as when I go into a YA book, meaning that I’m just here to be entertained and there’s not much for me to take seriously. It’s been a while since I’ve read a new NA book, and I say new because I’ve reread a couple, but I was itching for a new story so when I stumbled across this one, I knew I had to read it. The title basically told me this would be about one of my top five tropes and the synopsis made me think I’d get a great story. I’m glad my expectations were so low because this turned out to be so genuinely good that I don’t really know what to do with myself. There were times when it felt like the typical NA story but also times where it felt like more. All I know is that it’s one of the better NA books I’ve read in a while and I’m quite happy I picked it up.
- I think for me, personally, what makes a genuinely good NA book, one that’s more than a cheesy/trashy read, is when it has both humour and heart. And that’s exactly what this book had. This was a story about a guy who had developed a crush on his best friend’s little sister over ten years ago and all this time he’s been hiding his feelings because he was afraid of being rejected by her again. That’s where the heart comes in. The humour is definitely in the male lead, Bram Scott, who reminded me so much of Drew Evans from Emma Chase’s Tangled, because they’re both loveable dumbasses. Sometimes his train of thought was so ridiculous that I started laughing uncontrollably but it added to my overall enjoyment of the book. It’s not like the author was going for cheap laughs or comedic relief, but it felt like one of those rom-com books I’ve encountered before. But I think the heart of this book also came from Bram’s treatment of Julia and how he was willing to be so vulnerable when it came to her, exposing his true feelings and telling her he’d wait for her until she was ready to commit to her own feelings, all the while being comfortable with his own feelings. It’s nice to see a male character like Bram be so in touch with his feelings and be understanding of them rather than being scared or acting a certain way to cover them up. It made me feel that genuine connection to the characters and to the story and it’s why I think this book is one of the better NA’s I’ve ever read.
- I loved the romance between Bram and Julia purely because of the “falling for the best friend’s sister” trope since it’s definitely one of my favourites, but because of how good they were for one another. Bram is such an extrovert, the ring leader and popular guy everyone looks up to, while Julia is the introvert, the nerd and the homebody that would rather watch Netflix movies than go out to parties. But because they have such opposite personalities, they are able to compliment each other and kind of bring out different sides of each other. Bram obviously becomes more vulnerable while Julia becomes more confident and is able to relax and truly be herself when she’s with Bram. He brings her out of her shell while she kind of tucks him back into his own shell. It sounds weird but it works. I think what I really love about this relationship is how it’s one out of respect and genuine feelings rather than being materialistic or toxic in any way. I’m not entirely sure what I expected out of this relationship but it definitely wasn’t this.
- The biggest takeaway from this book, I think, is that it kind of shattered this idea of toxic masculinity without even blatantly saying so. First off, there’s the relationship between Bram and Rath. These two guys have the same kind of friendship that you’d expect out of any girls, meaning that they love hugging each other and constantly tell each other they love one another and consider the other to be their brother and other half. I like how the author kind of normalized this kind of friendship between men and I would love to see more like it. The other strike against toxic masculinity is Bram’s entire character. Sure, he’s still your typical arrogant, rich millionaire man, but it’s important to see him talk about his feelings and be willing to understand them, all without emasculating him. Also, it’s so nice to see the man develop a crush on the girl, especially a man like Bram, rather than the other way around. The men I saw in this book are the kind of characters I want to see more of, and the kind that all men should strive to be.
- The flashbacks to the past, something that typically would bother me, were done pretty well here and I feel like when it’s the kind of feelings/relationship that Bram and Julia had, it’s necessary. It was good to see how one another viewed their past interactions and how each flashback helped you understand what was going on in the present, in a way. And also, I really loved seeing how Bram was always nice and genuine towards Julia and it wasn’t just a new thing because of a new found crush. He’s always been respectful of her and it’s why he’s such a wonderful male character.
- While I can praise Bram all I want, there were still times where he kind of acted like your typical, annoying NA male character, talking about how manly he is and real men do this and that. Granted, that was just in his character introduction, but I can emphasize how genuine Bram is all I want but he does have this tiny “alpha male” flaw to him and it’s enough to turn some people off. He’s still fantastic but he does have this gross flaw to him but he’s able to redeem himself so much that it’s worth it.
- This title is too long. I’m sure it could’ve been shorter and still capture the message of the book. Meh.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- This book was so funny and so heartwarming, so full of love that I think I might burst. I came into this looking for an easy and light read and I didn’t expect all the feelings it would invoke on me. I would 100% recommend this to everyone. What a great read.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister
Author: Meghan Quinn
Release Date: January 3, 2019
Pages: 374 (eBook)
Until next time,
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!