Fake It Till You Break It
Jenn P. Nguyen
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 28th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.
After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.
The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…
I read an uncorrected digital galley of this book, and part of my review has to do with some editing issues. These issues were present in the copy I received for review, and I’m really hoping they’ll have been address by the time of publication. They were annoying enough for me to knock an entire star off my rating. Most of this book is told in the past tense first person POV, wither chapters that switch between Mia and Jake’s viewpoint. There are several instances where the tense very awkwardly shifts around, into the present tense and then back to past tense again. I don’t really care for the first person POV for precisely this reason – it seems like it’s a lot harder to do well than the third person limited, and when there are discrepancies like these they REALLY stand out and break the immersive reading experience for me. If these editorial issues weren’t present, this would have been a solid 4.5 star book for me.
Fake It Till You Break It is a great YA contemporary romance filled with some of my favorite tropes – neighbors to lovers, enemies to lovers, fake relationship… A little bit childhood sweethearts? The memories and moments of Mia and Jake as kids were probably my favorite part of this book. I wish there had been a little bit more story building around what caused them to go from being best friends to hating each other. Was it just that their moms kept pushing them to be an item romantically? Was it just puberty and the whole boys/girls are icky thing that tends to happen around then? Nguyen does such a great job of building this foundation for their relationship from their childhood, and the charged dynamic between them as high schoolers, and I wish she’d given us more of that transition piece to how their relationship wound up where it is when the book starts.
That being said, she definitely delivers on the development of their relationship throughout the book. The chemistry between them is AMAZING, and there are so many sparks – especially when they’re arguing and taking pot-shots at each other while at the same time just unthinkingly supporting and doing kind things for the other. So much squee!!
Jenn Nguyen fell in love with books in third grade and spent the rest of her school years reading through lunchtime and giving up recess to organize the school library. She has a degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and still lives in the city with her husband. Jenn spends her days reading, dreaming up YA romances, and binge watching Korean dramas all in the name of ‘research’.
Winner will receive one (1) print copy of Fake It Till You Break It.
US/CAN only. Ends June 6.