Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He's a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.
Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption--yet, she's still not cool enough for the popular kids' table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that's how Celine sees it.)
These days, there's nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she's surprised to find Brad right beside her.
Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?
Author: Talia Hibbert
Expected Publication Date: January 3, 2023
Publisher: Random House Children's Joy Revolution
I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Children's Joy Revolution for providing me with an eARC of this book to read and give my honest feedback.
This is my first Talia Hibbert book. I've heard her books were great but have never had a chance to read them.
I was really looking for a good way to end 2023. I wanted a fast read and this one fit the bill. The pace was perfect, the characters completely likeable, the story cute and romantic and funny! A great way to end the year for sure!
When I read the blurb for this book, I knew I had to request it. It just sounded like so much fun. And I was not wrong.
First, the characters. Hibbert does a fabulous job with character development. Even for those minor characters. Celine is a high achiever who says nothing will stand in her way of getting what she wants. Yet, she encounters a huge barrier she never knew was really there. Brad Mr. Popular who branched out and left Celine behind. Counter them with Jordan, Minnie, Aurora, Sophie, and Raj, and you have a group of amazing characters who help this story move along at a fast pace!
The plot is adorable. I am always down for a cute romance where you know in the end the characters will of course be together but you have to get through all their "stuff" first to get there. Inevitably there is the miscommunication and then the resolution. And it all gets tied up in a perfect little bow at the end.
I don't know much of England, just the London area, so I will say I was not able to really picture much in my mind but I don't think that took away from being able to form a picture I know is probably close.
I loved how the author put a little guide in the front of the book for us non-British chumps who may have had no idea what some of their colloquialisms mean. Honestly, I don't think I really would have needed it as it was easy to understand from the circumstances what things meant, but it was nice to have it in case I needed it.
I love me a good enemies to friends story! Overall, this was a truly enjoyable read and I'm glad I picked it up to end the year on a 5 star rating! I'll definitely be exploring Hibbert's other books.
She writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include beauty, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. She also rambles intermittently about the romance genre online.
Talia self-publishes via Nixon House and is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary.