Title: Not Okay, Cupid
Author: Heidi R. Kling
Release Date: January 11
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Source: Entangled Publishing, LLC on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
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Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex.
Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart.
With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart. (Source: Goodreads)
Hazel has a plan for her life. She and Jay and going to go to college together, get married, have kids, and live her plan out to perfection. Except Jay cheats on her with her best friend, Kimmy, and he whole plan disappears without a moment’s notice. Hazel decides to get revenge on Jay and Kimmy by pretending to date Kimmy’s brother, Felix. Except Felix and Hazel are quickly falling in love which really makes revenge difficult.
This book was cute, it was a quick read, and it was totally inoffensive. However, it is definitely nothing to write home about either. It’s basically fluff, the kind of thing that has gotten YA the reputation that it has. And there’s not really anything wrong with that, just don’t go into this expecting some deep, profound novel about realistic teen issues. This is basically a rehash of a classic ’80s romance. And it was cute.
The plot is fairly straightforward, Hazel and Felix want to get revenge on Kimmy, the cheating sister, and her boyfriend. There are a few plot hiccups here and there where the decisions made really stray from this revenge plot. Like…why would you agree to go to the dance with Jay when you know he’s asking out of pity not out of a genuine desire to get you back. Why not just go to the dance and steal his crown as originally planned? These hiccups really confuse the plot at times which is a bit of an annoyance but not a huge issue.
Character-wise there isn’t a ton of development to be found. Complicated and emotional pasts are told in a rather straightforward manner which tells you what to feel but doesn’t make you feel it a bit. Hazel’s dad is dead, while Felix’s cheated on and left his mother. Hazel has secrets that feel more necessary to set up plot points than really genuine or true to the character we come to know.
For me the biggest issue about the characters was the lack of distinction between Felix and Hazel’s voices. The book alternates between their perspectives, but we don’t really get a sense of distinction between these voices. Hazel and Felix read like they’re the same person. I get that this alternating perspective is meant to give the reader an insider’s view and get us to know both characters better, but more and more I see this trend leading me to be hugely disappointed in the poor writing of the book. This really draws attention to writing that lacks the skill to have distinct voices and it should be a trend avoided by a lot of writers who can’t capture different characters well.
Overall it’s a light read, good for fans of light romances, but not if you’re looking for a meatier contemporary read.