Originally posted on Leah’s Books.
Funny You Should Ask
- Author: Elissa Sussman
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: April 12, 2022
- Publisher: Dell
Thank you to NetGalley and Dell for providing me with a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: alcoholism, homophobia
A restless young journalist with big dreams interviews a Hollywood heartthrob–and, ten years later, it’s clear that their time together meant more than meets the eye in this sexy, engrossing adult debut novel.
Then. Twentysomething writer Chani Horowitz is stuck. While her former MFA classmates are nabbing book deals, she’s in the trenches writing puff pieces. Then she’s hired to write a profile of movie star Gabe Parker. The Gabe Parker–her forever celebrity crush, the object of her fantasies, the background photo on her phone–who’s also just been cast as the new James Bond. It’s terrifying and thrilling all at once . . . yet if she can keep her cool and nail the piece, it could be a huge win. Gabe will get good press, and her career will skyrocket. But what comes next proves to be life-changing in ways Chani never saw coming, as the interview turns into a whirlwind weekend that has the tabloids buzzing.
Now. Ten years later, after a brutal divorce and a heavy dose of therapy, Chani is back in Los Angeles, laser-focused on one thing: her work. But she’s still spent the better part of the last decade getting asked about her deeply personal Gabe Parker profile at every turn. No matter what new essay collection or viral editorial she’s promoting, it always comes back to Gabe. So when his PR team requests that they reunite for a second interview, she wants to say no. She wants to pretend that she’s forgotten about the time they spent together, years ago. But the truth is that those seventy-two hours are still crystal clear, etched in her memory. And so . . . she says yes.
Chani knows that facing Gabe again also means facing feelings she’s tried so hard to push away. Alternating between their first meeting and their reunion a decade later, this deliciously irresistible novel will have you hanging on until the last word.
This book popped up on my radar through an upcoming Jewish books post on Instagram, and I’ll be forever grateful to the person (I can’t recall which friend it was) who recommended this book. Just in case it isn’t already obvious, this book is amazing, and there were so many things I loved about it.
The writing is fabulous. It’s written in first person from Chani’s POV and I could literally feel all of her discomfort and awkwardness and angst and longing and stress. I was pulled into this story from the very beginning, with the writing flipping smoothly between what happened 10 years ago and in the present day. Another thing that I loved was the way the author incorporated blogs and excerpts from news articles throughout the story, and how each of these actually worked to forward the story.
The characters are incredible. I fell in love with Chani, but also with Gabe and Ollie. They’re all portrayed so beautifully, with flaws and expectations, and pressures that they struggle to cope with in their own ways. There’s solid Jewish representation, and I was thrilled to see that the main character is named CHANI, which is such a Jewish name. She incorporates a bit of her culture into the story, but for the most part, it’s just one aspect of who she is, like it is for so many Jewish people. There’s also gay representation, and the kind of impact it has on a person and their career in Hollywood. In addition, there’s representation of alcoholism and recovery, which is nice to see portrayed accurately.
The plot. Right from the start, I was invested in the characters and their connection. I’m not going to lie, I wanted to hear about what *really* happened that night ten years ago, but more importantly, I wanted to hear about what was going on with them in the present day, dealing with the fallout of choices that they had made a decade ago. The romance was gorgeous, and all I wanted was to see them get together happily. It was done so masterfully, and the sexual tension that threaded throughout the story had me absolutely flying through this book. There were some spicy scenes but not overly so, and it was the perfect balance.
This was a super fast read, taking me only a few hours to finish, but I enjoyed every second of it. I was expecting a fluffy, happy read, and while this was definitely happy, there were incredibly touching and sweet moments that pulled at my heartstrings and had me tearing up. I’m going to be shouting about this book to everyone to read it, because yeah, it’s that good.