In the calm before the storm – in this case, the blessed quiet before the bridal suite is overrun by the wedding party – my twin sister stares critically down at a freshly painted shell-pink fingernail and says, ‘I bet you’re relieved I’m not a bridezilla.’The Unhoneymooners, Chapter 1 opening
Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: May 14th 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Modern, Adult Contemporary Romance
Find it on: Goodreads
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.From Goodreads
Unfortunately, this book did not work for me. I know this might be an unpopular opinion given the praise I’ve heard for Christina Lauren as an author and the fact that this book has nearly a 4 star rating on Goodreads, but scanning through the reviews I’m not quite alone. While I enjoyed the setting immensely – who doesn’t like a nice tropical mental vacation to escape a COVID winter? – the characters just didn’t connect for me. I did end up finishing this book and gradually enjoyed it more, but this still sits lower on my book stack.
Olive, the female main character, is described mostly as unlucky and weight-conscious. The chronically cursed / unlucky deal was neat at first but grew old the number of times it came up, unfortunately. But Olive is also intelligent and searching for her next career move which I can appreciate. Ethan is described as an unlikeable jerk for the first half of the book, until he gets slightly more rounded out with a cute geeky job and a dash of human emotions. They’re thrown together when Olive’s twin sister, Ami, and Ethan’s brother, Dane, get married, and they take the non-refundable, non-negotiable honeymoon together in their siblings’ place when then entire wedding party gets sick. The pair spend the entire book bickering and being pretty rude to one another which is grating over time and meant to be endearing towards the end when they get together. I didn’t find it particularly cute, so in addition to not really feeling connected to either character I just didn’t get the chemistry. Some of the people Olive and Ethan run into during their time in Maui were also just incredibly unbelievable. All this and we still haven’t even gotten into the issues after they return to reality with the obnoxious misunderstandings and some terrible he-said-she-said.
There were just too many components here that didn’t click for me, but the writing was good. Given how excited readers get about Christina Lauren I would consider trying another book by this author to see if a different set of characters jive more. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know! 🥰
Background cover photo by Neora Aylon on Unsplash