Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra

This book is the cutest thing ever. I just want to cuddle it like a puppy and never let it go. Normally, I like darker romances, but I've been getting really into #romanceclass lately (#OwnVoices Filipino chick-lit), and when MY IMAGINARY EX showed up for free in the Kindle store, I knew I had to download. It's the OG of these contemporary Filipino romances and so many of my friends had nothing but good things to say about both the author and her work.

Jasmine is a shy, introverted girl who works in HR. One day, she gets an invitation in the mail to her childhood friend, Zack's, wedding. His two ex-girlfriends, Lena and Marjorie, immediately stage a girls' night/female coup at a coffee shop to drop one heck of a bombshell: his wife-to-be, Kimmy, is cheating on him, and they want Jasmine, his oldest and dearest friend, to break up the wedding.

There's another reason behind their motives, too. They all believe that Jasmine was his first girlfriend, and therefore his first love, due to a lie Zack and Jasmine spread around when they were young students in college. When Zack wanted to date Lena, he found out that she didn't want to date anyone who didn't have a relationship history, and asked Jasmine to lie to her for him. Jasmine created a relationship "canon," held as fact by their friends for so many years that sometimes even she has to remind herself that they never dated.

As the clock to the wedding date counts down, we learn about the history of Zack and Jasmine in past POVs, as well as their current status now in the current POVs. And what we, the readers, find out is that buried underneath all of these harmless but mounting lies is a potentially heartbreaking truth.

I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. It shouldn't have worked, but Esguerra carried it off like a pro, and it ended up feeling like one of those breezy summer movies that has everyone walking out of the theater feeling really good (think The Proposal, but set in the Philippines). Jasmine and her friends were so adorable together and their relationships were so strong. The evil girl, Kimmy, was handled respectfully (and the author even added in an author's note in the back that in this 2017 revised edition, she removed some of the girl-on-girl hate because she doesn't want to be an author who hates on women - which made me want to hug everyone). And Zack. Oh my God, Zack. He is not perfect and can be so frustrating, but I can totally see why Jasmine ended up falling for him.

Also, there's a pretty hot sex scene in here that results from a very comedic misunderstanding.

MY IMAGINARY EX softened my heart made me want to go frolicking through fields of clover. It was so cute, and so well done, and I desperately need more of this Chic Manila series in my hands, asap.

4.5 to 5 out of 5 stars

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