April Parker is a 40 year old divorcée about to send her daughter to college and become an empty nester. April and her husband got married at a young age and when April got pregnant, her husband left her and wanted nothing to do with April or their daughter, Caitlin. Now, 18 years later, Caitlin’s father sends her a letter before graduation, wanting to be in her life. Of course, April isn’t going to interfere in her daughter’s relationship with her father if she wants one, but this brings up a lot of emotions and memories April has spent years forgetting and trying to move on from.
While April is sitting at the local bar, nursing a hard cider and digesting the letter from her ex, an out-of-towner tries to hit on April. When he doesn’t get the message, Mitch, the high school gym teacher and coach, and also April’s sister’s friend, comes to rescue her. April doesn’t need rescuing, but it was nice to have a sexy, intimidatingly large man come to her aid. After the creep leaves, Mitch surprises April with an interesting favor: be his girlfriend- fake girlfriend. Mitch needs April to go to his family mini reunion to get them off his back about settling down and starting a family. In exchange for this, April needs help remodeling her house in order to put it on the market.
April’s plan has been to move out of Willow Creek as soon as Caitlin has graduated. So this has been a long time in the making. But when renovations start on the house that has been home for over 10 years, this puts a riff between April and Caitlin. While there’s tension at home, April must leave with Mitch for the weekend to pretend to be completely in love with him. April thinks this might not be that hard after all.
After their eventful weekend pretending to be completely infatuated with each other, the two return home and everything goes back to normal. Or so they think it will. Over the course of the summer, the two are put in more than one situation where they need to fall back into their roles as “boyfriend and girlfriend.” Now the lines are getting blurred and someone’s going to get hurt.
I fell in love with this world and the characters Jen DeLuca created with Well Met and I was not disappointed with this one. Something about the Parker sisters and the male teaching staff at Willow Creek High School is just magical. I’ve always loved going to the renaissance fair, and seeing how DeLuca turned this very strange tradition into something where people find their soulmates and they’re best friends is so amazing.
I loved every page of this. It felt so realistic and possible in the real world. And Mitch and April are the cutest. Mitch is amazing, oh my, God. The most perfect book boyfriend. They had such a good friendship and foundation to their relationship that it felt natural and not forced at all. April was so relatable. My favorite quote was “There was nothing in the world that I liked better than cancelled plans.” Yes. Most realistic thing I’ve ever read.
The only thing that bugged me slightly was not seeing Mitch’s family again after the reunion. We saw his grandparents and his cousin, but not his annoying, snobby mother. And I was dying for some confrontation between April and Mrs. Malone. But I loved the drama between April and Caitlin. It’s so real. I feel the same way about my home that Caitin feels about hers. And April’s 40, not 28 trying to figure out her life. She has a job and a house and a kid. She has a life that is about to change. And it’s refreshing to see that people go through changes and complications through their whole life and not just when they’re young. And applause to DeLuca for normalizing not wanting children. Not everyone wants them or can have them. Society needs to stop shaming women and couples for not wanting them. And stop shaming women for enjoying sex. There was an age gap between April and Mitch. Only nine years. And this should be normalized as well. People don’t always couple up in their age group.
I loved this book. 10/10. Hit all my requirements. Fake dating? Check. Forced proximity? Check. One bed? Check. Dogs? Check. Amazing. I will be rereading this in the future and annotating better.
fake dating, age gap, one bed, forced proximity, 30-40