Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.
Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
So I’m the kind of reader that loves to get absorbed into a book, and read in a pretty short time period. And thus this read kind of suffered for me b/c I read it with a big interruption in the middle (I was on vacation). So on a different occasion, this might have been a solid 4 star read, but I’m going to stick with my gut on this one anyways.
First of all, I will say that the cover is completely misleading. I totally thought this was going to be a small town type of Christmas read, and this one was actually set in Boston. Not really a big deal, but it’s nice when the cover actually gives you a feel for the book, and after reading it, I just don’t feel like this one is accurate at all (doesn’t really represent the characters either).
Gabby was pretty freaking adorable. I was torn on Gabby’s background with her parents. It gave me tears sometimes when she was enjoying Christmas with Owen’s family and missing hers, but the whole not wanting to lie because of it felt tacked on as more of a plot device.
Owen was pretty awesome too, if a bit oblivious. And he made some monumentally stupid decisions, but I still thought he was pretty awesome overall.
I was surprised by the short length of their best friendship. Usually when I think of best friends to lovers stories, it’s with friends who have been friends for a LONG time, and these two only knew each other for like 2 years. Made me wonder more about how the friendship developed and what it was like before this wrench was thrown in. I almost would have liked a bit more background or something.
They definitely had great chemistry, though this was a sweeter book than I had been expecting…which isn’t a bad thing, I just hadn’t anticipated that, so I was kept on tenterhooks for most of the book. But I will say I loved the ending I love you scene!! So many feels. It was just perfect.
Owen’s family was da bomb. Truly. I loved them in all their quirkiness. Made it a bit hard to understand Owen’s reluctance to spend Christmas with them, but then I had to remind myself it was all the strangers that he was mostly opposed to.
Definitely some intriguing secondary characters in the building….made me want to read both Wyatt and Brady’s books, assuming they both have them. But at times it did feel like some of those secondary plot lines didn’t fit with the rest of the story, and were mostly there to drive intrigue for the next stories. The whole Jake (his name was Jake right?) stealing thing and the police just felt so out of place…it didn’t add ANYTHING to Owen and Gabby’s story. I don’t mind learning about the other tenants so I’ll want to read the next book, but I prefer it when it’s more seamless with the main storyline so it doesn’t feel tacked on.
All in all a great Christmas read. One I probably would have enjoyed even more if I had been able to stay absorbed in the story, but alas, Disney was calling. 🙂