Friday, December 30, 2022

The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren


My track record with Christina Lauren is not the best, as I hated-hated-hated BEAUTIFUL BASTARD and felt only lukewarmly towards JOSH AND HAZEL'S GUIDE TO NOT DATING. But when I found this book for, like, twenty cents at a thrift store and saw the blurb, I knew I had to get it, track record be damned. I loved the idea of two used and abused personal assistants falling in love while commiserating over their showboating asshole bosses. Even better, the asshole bosses in this equation are kind of like a cross between Dave and Rachel Hollis and Chip and Joanna Gaines. 

Carey is a PA for Melissa Tripp, CEO and all-around boss babe of her own renovation/home design company, Comb+Honey. Her husband, Rusty, is her #1. Back when they were working out of their house, he built a lot of the furniture in their shop, but now that that's all outsourced, all he really does is mug for the camera and act doofy. They're releasing a book about their perfect marriage and about to launch a new TV show, but all is not well in Trippland. Melissa is becoming angrier and more controlling and Rusty can't keep it in his pants. Their marriage and their careers are both in choppy waters.

James is an engineer but due to a major career mess-up, he's kind of screwed himself into a corner and is essentially Rusty's PA, despite his fancy degrees. He and Carey are often at odds with their employers' conflicting wants, but when they end up on the road for a book tour together, they end up finding not just rapport but also a sort of attraction, too. I liked the romance a lot. It was sweet without being boring. Part of this is because they both are fully fleshed out human beings. They have families, conflicting drives, and lives that exist outside of each other and their careers. Carey is particularly interesting because she has something called dystonia, which is a chronic motor disorder that affects her hands. The authors talk about their own personal experience with this disorder in their family in a touching afterword that's actually worth reading.

I liked this book a lot. I think I liked it more than I would have if it were *just* a romance because of the social commentary. It was done really well and reminded me of that old movie, Best in Show. The portrayal of the hypocrisy and inner-conflict that influencers and celebrities can sometimes demonstrate was really well done and it added a lot of meat to the story. Melissa and Rusty actually eclipsed the narrators at times because their personalities were just so big. In fact, this whole book was like a fictionalized tea channel or reality TV show, so if you're into that kind of big drama, you'll love this.

4 out of 5 stars

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