Series: Say Everything #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 5th July 2022
Buy on Amazon
Eliza Catalano has the perfect life. So what if it actually looks nothing like the story she tells online? As a therapist, it's part of her job to look like she has all the answers, right? But when Eliza ends up as a viral "Worst Date Ever" meme, everything in her Instagram-filtered world begins to crumble.
Enter the most obnoxiously attractive man she's ever met, and a bet she can't resist: if she swears off social media for six months, Beck Carter'll teach her the wonders of surviving the "real world." No technology, no dating apps, no pretty filters, no BS.
It seems like the perfect deal-she can lay low until her sudden infamy passes, meet some interesting new people, and maybe even curate this experience into a how I quit the online dating racket book along the way.
But something about Beck's raw honesty speaks to Eliza in ways she never expected. She knows he's supposed to be completely hands-off...but as complex feelings grow and walls come tumbling down, rough-around-the-edges Beck may be exactly what Eliza needs to finally, truly face herself-and decide who she really wants to be.
If there’s one thing that really jumped out at me, it’s how ‘For You & No One Else’ is so reflective of our contemporary, first-world issues, particularly in the realm of social media: the kind of swaggering front we put up for it as a means to shape some kind of narrative for the public to lap up versus the hidden traumas and privacy that we really all need but don’t appreciate enough.
Long story short, Roni Loren places Eliza and Beckham within this very intersection as protagonists who are accidentally drawn into each other’s circles, then find themselves as ideological opposites. Their personal histories put them at odds, even though the pull of attraction leads Eliza down an alley of digital withdrawal, which then leads to some not-so-surprising revelations…and frankly, an ick-moment (with shades of two-timing where both characters nevertheless insist that it’s just a way of slipping between boundaries because they’re not defined in the first place) that I wished I’d never read about.
As a result, I’ve been sitting alternating between feeling good and cringey about the book, which is probably typical of Loren’s writing for me of late. Loren’s way with words can slice emotions open from a heart of steel which do make her HEA endings quite satisfying, though I had some alarm bells ringing through my head because there’s just so much fuss about coming to some hard conclusions via self-actualisation–in this case, going off grid–, defining boundaries and unravelling things beneath the performative self that it became a bit of a merry-go-round in the end.
It’s inevitable I suppose, that there would be an element of deception there on several counts given the number of rules the characters try to work with, but that was the bit that just didn’t go down well with me by the time I’d gone through half the book. In short, I’m very undecided about ‘For You & No One Else’–there were times when I absolutely loved the incisive look at human nature and other times that I particularly hated how both Beck/Eliza behaved in a manner that dampened my enjoyment of the story.