Published by Entangled Crush on 8/10/15
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My content rating: YA (Talk of sex, but nothing more than kissing)
Sometimes, blackmail is the only weapon a girl has…
Haley Patterson has had a crush on golden boy Bryce Colton for ages. But when she hears a rumor that he hooked up with her she gives him a choice: be her boyfriend for a month to show other guys that she’s dateable—despite her overprotective and very intimidating brothers—or deal with the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up with.
Bryce didn’t know the other Haley even had a boyfriend. He was just trying to get his ex off his back. And now, not only is he being blackmailed, he's being blackmailed by an honor student. His new “girlfriend” has two three-legged dogs, her father mows grass at the country club, and she's…well, difficult. And different.
Can something so fake turn into something real?
This book just looked all sorts of adorable – I was in the mood for a light read, and that’s exactly what I got, so it was perfect!
Haley wants a boyfriend, but her brothers are too overprotective and intimidating – no one wants to cross them, so they leave Haley alone. So, when Bryce mistakenly tells everyone that he and Haley hooked up (it was a different Haley – one who has a hulking boyfriend of her own), she sees it as an opportunity. She tells Bryce that if he pretends to actually be dating her so that the rumor mill will slow down that she won’t tell anyone about the mistaken identity and Bryce won’t have to face the other Haley’s boyfriend. She tells everyone that the rumor just got blown out of proportion and she didn’t hook up with Bryce, she’s dating him. She hopes that the combination of the attention and the fact that Bryce is able to handle her brothers just fine will give Haley the chance at a real relationship in the future. Of course, things don’t go as planned and the two fall for each other – but there’s lots of hurdles to overcome.
What I loved:
- The premise. Just read the blurb and you’ll see why I enjoyed this book – it was just fun! Sure, it’s a story we’ve heard before in one form or another, but the blackmail element and the family relationships added something new and fresh to the concept.
- Family ties. Both Haley’s and Bryce’s families were involved in the book quite a bit and family drama made its way into the story a lot more than I was expecting. Bryce came from a well-to-do family, and his father had high expectations of him. Bryce had a great relationship with his mom, though, which was refreshing. On Haley’s side, even though her brothers were a bit overprotective, she had a great relationship with her family. But when she started dating Bryce, her mother started acting very strangely, and Haley wasn’t sure how to deal with this shift in her personality. Throughout the book there are revelations about both families that play into the story.
- Dual POV. I liked getting both Haley and Bryce’s POVs so we could understand what they were both thinking going into their blackmail relationship and how it changed and developed over the course of the book. I also appreciated getting to know both characters and seeing how they affected each other. Haley learned there was a lot more to the rich and ever-popular Bryce than she first imagined and Bryce learned to let go of appearances a little. Both great messages, especially for younger YA readers.
- Lack of romantic connection at first. My only issue with the book is that I wished I would have felt more of a build of the romance, especially on Haley’s side of things. I got that she’d had a crush on him a bit before the book ever really started, but I just didn’t feel as much of a real connection between the couple as I would have liked at first. So when Haley would get angry about the fact that Bryce didn’t really seem to want to ask her out or kiss her, I just kept thinking, Yeah, he’s not actually your boyfriend. What did you expect? I don’t know – I guess I just didn’t see her really longing for him at the beginning in order to justify her feelings. On Bryce’s side, I did feel like we got to witness more of the shift from a relationship just built on blackmail to an actual romance, so I appreciated that. And I was definitely on board with the romance by the second half of the book or so, so it didn’t fail to catch me up completely!
- Sudden ending. I felt like the ending to the book was just a little bit rushed, and everything was wrapped up neatly and a little suddenly.
I thought that the messages in this book were great and that this one would appeal especially to YA readers who are a little on the younger side or any reader who’s looking for a lighter read. It’s fun and cute, but it does delve into some deeper issues (but not in a way that’s too dark). I give this book 3.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. Going Down In Flames is the first book in Chris Cannon’s shape-shifting dragon series.