Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 5th January 2021
Buy on Amazon
As birthdays go, this year’s birthday for radio producer Everly Dean hit an all-time low.
Worse than the birthday she had a tonsillectomy. Worse than the birthday her loveably reckless parents decided to split up (the first time). But catching your boyfriend cheating on you with his assistant?
Yea, even clichés sting.
But no matter. This is Everly Dean’s year! The year she doesn’t let her anxiety hold her back. The year she stops being the hot potato in the overblown drama of her parent’s marriage. The year she pitches her podcast idea to her boss.
There’s just one problem.
Her boss, Chris, is way too cute. (WHY did he have to be cute)? He’s also supremely respectful of her, to the point of being distant (which means he hates her, right? Or is that the anxiety talking)?
Oh, and Stacey, best friend/ DJ, forgot to mute the mic as Everly ranted about Simon the Snake (syn: see Cheating Ex).
Maybe she has three problems.
Suddenly, people are lining up to date her, Bachelorette-style, fans are voting for their favorite dates (Note to self: never leave house again), and meanwhile, that spark she feels for Chris might be a two-way street. It’s a lot to handle for a woman who considers avoiding people an Olympic sport. She’s going to have to fake it ‘till she makes it to get through all of this.
Perhaps she’ll make a list of three (that’s barely a list)
Five (no one likes an odd number)
Ten rules for faking it.
Because sometimes making the rules can find you happiness when you least expect it.
‘Ten Rules for Faking It’ has a fairly unusual plot I think, or at least one that I’ve not come across in a while: the bachelorette within a radio setting, a harebrained idea of the station manager thanks to a hapless moment during which radio producer Everly Dean had her unfortunate private life and messy break up aired, quite literally, during a programme.
But her manager Chris Jansen slowly worms his way onto her radar and into her heart while this fake dating ensues, though there are many hurdles to jump through before their HEA comes along.
As far as rom-comedies go, this one’s a cute and sweet-ish read, but one that went on a tad too long, with the focus bouncing from Everly’s dates to Chris’s own family issues and back again when I was simply looking for the steady (and hopefully) steamy build to their developing relationship after a while.
In essence, I was expecting a faster-paced romance given the smouldering tension beneath it all, but instead got a slow, slow burn that only came to fruition way down the line. Much of Everly’s and Chris’s attraction seemed internalised as they got under each other’s skin—along with a lot of second-guessing themselves and each other moments as they fumble through Everly’s dating opportunities—and I started skimming as a result, impatiently waiting for the moment when both realised that their feelings were in fact, not unrequited.
What stood out however, was Sophie Sullivan’s articulate portrayal of Everly and her panic attacks in the mesmerising last quarter of the book that simultaneously sent the angst soaring: her struggles with unrequited emotions and the rigid framework through which she viewed life, the need for quiet and space for all variables to be accounted and fixed for in order to manage the anxiety that seemed like an overwhelming constant—all of which made Everly a likeable and relatable heroine who didn’t shy away from these issues but tried to deal with them the best she could.
Overall, a somewhat uneven read that made this rating sit right in the middle of the table: bumpy at times, boring in bits (and lacking smexy times), then with a brilliant finisher.