It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you mention Harry Styles' dimples in the first chapter of your book, there's a 99.9998% chance that I'm going to love it.
A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan was no exception to this rule. In this dual-POV contemporary romance, our main characters are Hailey Sharp, the plucky, optimistic and hardworking owner of By the Cup, a to-go salad shop, and Wes Jansen, nerdy, reserved, (kinda) secret billionaire who, seconds into meeting her, accuses Hailey of not being herself. He's there for an online date, which Hailey slightly resembles, and he's convinced that she's his date but is trying to flee--which she isn't, making sweet baby angel Wes look like a total jackass. You know, a perfect meet cute.
They meet again and realize that they have things in common and good chemistry, so they decide that they should be friends, and take any pressure for more off the table...that way they can be friends with no expectations. They jokingly make a "Guide to Being Just Friends," which they regularly refer and add to along their road to becoming actual best friends--even when they can't see that they're each other's besties, we know it!
What follows is a cute love story peppered with pop-culture references and enough graphic depictions of food that you'll be salivating for a salad and chocolate cake--and enough drama to keep you engrossed while maintaining relatively low stakes. Wes' brothers and their girlfriends take to Hailey, because let's face it, she's sunshine personified and (most) everyone loves her. Hailey is fiercely proud and independent, which I love, but there were moments that I wanted to scream at her. Girl, let this man spoil you if he wants to!
The only real complaint that I have is that I wish a particular character (which I won't name because SPOILERS!) had gotten theirs--either a punch in the face, or realizing what an idiot they were, or, preferably, both.
I'll be honest: I requested this book via NetGalley because of the title and cover, and only after starting the book did I realize that it's actually part of a pseudo-series. I say pseudo because it doesn't seem like these books have to be read in a specific order, but so far the "Jansen Brothers" books have each apparently featured one of the Jansen brothers and their love story. This book definitely made me want to go back and read more of Sophie Sullivan's work, because I know it will have me high-pitched squealing just as much as this story did.
As far as the audio-portion goes, I have no complaints about either of the narrators--they did an excellent job representing the characters and showing their ranges of emotions.
This was a lovely, quick, and low-stakes rom com that I recommend! A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan is available for preorder now here, and releases January 17, 2023. You can also find the other Jansen Brothers books at these links: Ten Rules for Faking It and How to Love Your Neighbor.
Love and Unwanted Tiffany Bracelets,
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review with my honest feedback. If you purchase a copy using my Amazon affiliate links above, I will receive a small commission from Amazon which I will use to justify my literary addictions and to spoil my dogs (probably).