This is another one of those books I have to stop reading every few pages because there are too many feelings to process. At first, it was because I was laughing too hard and had to keep breathing, then after a while, it was because I felt my heart squeezing in on itself. Which is both painful and so so so good.
What was the book about?
For one long Christmas weekend in Arkansas, Fiona, an out and proud lesbian, has agreed to pretend to be straight and her best friend Michael’s girlfriend. Of course, she didn’t expect to feel almost immediately and very intensely attracted to one of his sisters, Lizzie.
Featured Tropes: Fake Romance; Christmas; Rom-com; Instalust
The McElroy family is huge, and Hughes didn’t waste the opportunity to create exciting characters. Michael is a sweetheart and I love how ready he is to learn and do better. The relationship between him and Fiona is a dream. The youngest sister, Jessie, is darkly hilarious. And Lizzie is just so… Lizzie, I guess.
The story is told from Fiona’s POV. She was born and grew up in Los Angeles. Her father is Chinese, her mother is Malaysian, they met in Singapore. She now lives in St Louis, where she is studying to become a nurse. Besides the fake relationship and trying to resist falling for her best friend’s sister, her meeting with the McElroys is full of ups and downs. As an only child, she longs for a big family and the feeling of belonging the siblings seem to enjoy. And she’s also faced with racism and has to deal with others’ reactions to it as well as her own. That first scene when she meets the grandmother, Sophia and the aftermath is one of the best I’ve read on this topic.
I wouldn’t call it a weakness, really. This story plays over a few days, and Fiona and Lizzie get together very very quickly. To me, it’s not exactly a romance, more the beginning of one. The author is not promising a big HEA, but the potential for it exists.
Huge. The chemistry between Lizzie and Fiona jumps from the page as soon as they meet, and they have a hard time keeping their hands off the other for most of the story. The whole forbidden thing (she’s my best friend’s sister / she’s my brother’s girlfriend) makes it even hotter.
Heat Rating: 5
I want to spend Christmas with the McElroy family, and I don’t even like people.
Star Rating: 5
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