By: Cait Marie
I hate you, Fuller James.
I hate your floppy hair and your lopsided grin and those laughing blue eyes that always seem to be laughing at me.
I hate that you’re the most popular guy in school and I’m still the girl who sneezed and spit out her retainer on someone at a middle school dance. It’s just such a cliché.
I hate that I’m being forced to tutor you in English and keep it a secret from everyone. Because otherwise it might put our basketball team’s chances at winning State in jeopardy, and even though I hate you, I love basketball.
I hate that it seems like you’re keeping a secret from me…and that the more time we spend together, the less I feel like I’m on solid ground. Because I’m starting to realize there’s so much more to you than meets the eye. Underneath it all, you’re real.
But what I hate most is that I really don’t hate you at all.
This book kept popping up in my suggestions on Scribd, and I needed a new audiobook to start, so I went with this one. I knew nothing going into it; I’d barely even skimmed through part of the blurb.
But I loved it!
It was exactly the cute, light romance I was hoping for. The story was fun, but it also had a couple plot lines that tugged on the heartstrings.
I’m not a fan of bully romance, but this one felt very different. Especially since we got to see Fuller’s POV and what actually happened to spark their feud right from the beginning. He really feels guilty for letting things continue the way the did (letting people use the mean nickname he accidentally spread years earlier).
I love the fake dating and bet tropes, so seeing those combined was fun. The characters felt well rounded for the most part. I think there could have been a little more told about Fuller. His whole thing is that he needs to stay on the basketball team in hopes of getting a scholarship, but I don’t think it ever said why he wants to go to college so badly. I’m not sure what his future dreams are. This wasn’t a major blip though, and it didn’t impact the story or my enjoyment.
Seeing Wren and Fuller bond over their family struggles and slowly become friends was probably my favorite thing about the book. They realize they have a lot more in common than they think, which leads to a kind of truce. Wren’s grandfather has Alzheimers, and she helps out with him a lot. Fuller’s younger brother has brittle bone disease, which has affected their family quite a bit and put pressure on Fuller. As someone with a physical disability, I know firsthand how this impacts siblings, so I really related to his story.
It was a tad predictable, but overall, this book was a fun, easy read while still giving some emotional ties. It was a nice balance, and I’d highly recommend it to YA or sweet romance readers. I will definitely be looking into this author’s other books!
Side note: The audiobook narrators did a really great job. Fuller’s POV was done by James Fouhey, and I kept thinking, “I know that voice.” Finally, about halfway through the book, I had to stop to look him up. He absolutely did Warner’s POV chapters in the Shatter Me series… you know, the one I’ve re-listened to multiple times? 😂