Title: How (not) to Fall in Love by Lisa Brown Roberts
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington never had to worry about money or where her next shopping spree was coming from. Even her dog ate gourmet. Then one day, Darcy’s car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. As her father’s business hit the skids, Dad didn’t just skip town, he bailed on his family.
Fortunately, Darcy’s uncle owns a thrift shop where she can hide out from the world. There’s also Lucas, the wickedly hot fix-it guy she can’t stop crushing on, even if she’s not sure they’ll ever get out of the friend zone.
But it’s here among the colorful characters of her uncle’s world that Darcy begins to see something more in herself…if she has the courage to follow it.
It is impossible not to fall in love with How (not) to Fall in Love. This charming young adult novel is a beautifully written coming of age story that teaches some important life lessons without angst or drama. With a delightful cast of characters, a realistic plot and a sweet romance, it is a refreshing story that is full of heart and Lisa Brown Roberts avoids the typical storylines of this genre which makes it an absolutely outstanding read.
The backbone, heart and soul of this terrific gem of a book is Darcy Covington. From a rich and privileged background, she is seventeen and completely unprepared for the downward spiral her life is about to take. Losing her car is just the beginning of the many changes awaiting her and her pampered mother after her motivational speaker dad skips town and leaves his family and his company in financial ruin. Darcy’s estranged uncle Charlie reaches out to her and offers her the emotional support she needs to weather the storm. Through him, Darcy finds an unexpected support system in Lucas Martinez, her uncle’s über hot repairman and Liz, the owner of the cozy coffee shop near Charlie’s store.
In the beginning, Darcy is rather shy, timid and content to blend into the background. A bit socially awkward, she is tongue tied and clumsy around good looking young men. When her mom falls apart after her dad disappears, Darcy steps out of her comfort zone, finds a job and discovers that she is much stronger than she ever imagined. Her transformation from meek school girl to responsible young adult is gradual and easy to believe. Even when things are at their bleakest, Darcy never gives up and she always faces problems head on. Darcy is a true survivor and you can’t help but be in her corner throughout the story.
The romance aspect of the storyline is very understated and slow growing. Lucas is a genuinely nice guy, responsible and so sexy that Darcy cannot believe a hottie like him would ever be interested in a girl like her. Darcy is confused by his mixed signals and this uncertainty, along with her family drama, keeps her from acting on her feelings for much of the story. Once Darcy and Lucas decide to admit their feelings for one another, their friendship finally transitions into a very sweet romance.
How (not) to Fall in Love is a very heartwarming novel with a wonderfully realistic storyline. The cast of characters is well developed and appealing despite their flaws. Poignant, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting, this debut novel by Lisa Brown Roberts is exceptional and I highly recommend it to readers of all ages.