Too Good to Be Real
by Melonie Johnson
Release Date: July 6, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Number of pages: 320
Source: NetGalley ARC
Contemporary Romance M/F
Ages 16 and up
Read 6/25/21 to 6/29/21
She plans to prove there’s a dozen reasons why life isn’t like a romantic comedy, only to discover the one reason it is…
While her friends wish for meet cutes worthy of their favorite rom-coms, Julia is ready to give up on love. Swiping right has replaced getting swept off your feet and good old-fashioned romance has become, well, old-fashioned.
A writer for a popular website, love becomes the last thing on her mind when impending layoffs threaten her job. As Julia searches for the ultimate pitch to impress her boss, she stumbles upon a resort offering guests a chance to live out their romantic comedy dreams. Real life dating is so bleak, who wouldn’t want to spend a week in a fantasy rom-com world with your best friends?
At the resort, Julia literally falls into a not-quite-meet-cute involving an aggressive seagull and an adorably awkward guy named Luke who is also participating in the rom-com experience. Julia hides the fact she is there to do a story, but Luke harbors a few secrets of his own. Among further encounters with thieving seagulls, a gaggle of corgis, kisses in the rain, and even a karaoke serenade, their feelings deepen quickly. But could their love be real when they haven’t been honest about their true identities? Once the fantasy is over, can they have a relationship in the real world?
I was a big fan of this author’s Sometimes in Love series, so couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Where I found the stories in that series to be quirky and fun with phenomenal chemistry and deep emotions, the same cannot be said about this book.
It’s known that I am not a fan of big lies in stories, especially romance. There are often things hidden and truths that are bent to create conflict, this I understand. But when there is are lies being told that don’t seem to be doing anything other than giving the characters a reason to flee from each other when things are out in the open, that’s when I have a problem. Julia and Luke have reasons for stretching the truth, but not to the extent that they did. And, when given the opportunity to come clean, they BOTH double down. Since both Luke and Julia are both very good and kind people, it didn’t make sense to me.
I try not to judge a book to harshly when it turns out to have a trope that I don’t like. And there are many positives with this story. The concept is cute and different. All of the characters are charming. Overall, this story is quite lovely. The chemistry is okay, but doesn’t really spark until the very end. Plus, I sometimes couldn’t help feeling as if I was being force fed information to make sure I came to the conclusion the author wanted me to reach instead of trusting me to be smart enough to figure it out myself.
This is a book that will be good for a road trip or other vacation since you can put it down and pick it back up quite easily without feeling you’re missing out.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**