“I like the idea of saving to buy a place of my own or having some extra in the bank for an adventure once I figure out what kind of adventure I want to have. I see all these choices unrolling in front of me – career, travel, friends, geography – and despite things being insane and hard and messy, I don’t think I’ve ever liked myself more than I do now. It’s the strangest feeling to be proud simply because I’m taking care of me and mine. Is this what it’s like to grow up?”
This book was a ton of fun. I am generally new to the whole romance genre, because they so often seem cringey and shallow to me, but damn it I was in the mood for a rom-com! (Yay for expanding our reading tastes and getting out of our comfort zones!!) I had been interested in trying out a Christina Lauren book for a while and I am really glad I did! I gave this one 3.5 stars.
I knew going into this book that it would take a good heaping of “willful suspension of disbelief” to really enjoy it. It’s meant to be light and fun and sexy. Ok, I can do that. And I did, for the most part. There were a few things though that did annoy me, that I couldn’t just ignore while reading it. But most of the time, I was just enjoying the story.
The plot centers around Olive and Ethan, sworn enemies for flimsy reasons that end up being a big misunderstanding. Shocker. The book stars with Olive’s twin sister and Ethan’s brother getting married. However, when the whole wedding party gets food poisoning, the bride and groom are unable to go on their honeymoon. Olive and Ethan, being the only ones who did not eat from the buffet, are then told to go on the free honeymoon in their sibling’s places. They do, reluctantly because they hate each other, and naturally hijinks ensue.
I really don’t want to tear up this book and try to nitpick on everything that didn’t make sense or that may have hindered my reading experience, because ultimately, I really enjoyed this. I read it in a day for gods sake! It was really fun and funny, and I had a good time reading it. Was it all the memorable for me? Not really. Will I buy myself a copy for my collection? Of course! In terms of sheer enjoyment, I would have given this book 4 stars. However, just a few things made it a 3.5 for me. For this review, I am going to employ some handy dandy lists to lay it all out there!
What I enjoyed about The Unhoneymooners:
- The premise was really fun and light, and there were some cute moments.
- I am a sucker for enemies to lovers.
- Most of the banter between Ethan and Olive was very funny.
- The writing was really good, overall, and it was super engaging.
- I LOVED the Maui setting. I have been there and the characters doing things I have done was so cool and fun to see! This being said, I feel like the authors could have utilized this setting more. Other than Haleakalā, the stuff they did could have been done anywhere. I wanted to see them do more Maui things.
- I actually really enjoyed the second half of the novel, which seems to be more of an unpopular opinion. I liked seeing the characters deal with real life issues when they returned home and I appreciated how that was all handled.
- The way cheating was handled here is how cheating should be handled in every book. The dude is deemed a scumbag, the wife takes shit into her own hands, all of the women act like adults about it, and the cheater is kicked to the curb. Thank. You.
- I loved how Olive held her own and never backed down from what she knew was right and her own instincts, even when it was hard. Even when it meant jeopardizing the love she had just found.
- Big fan of Olive’s family and the support that they showed her throughout the book. I am also a sucker for family dynamics.
- I liked the commentary on careers and doing something that you are passionate about in life. I found it so refreshing that Olive was happy to have a waitressing job, when she needed the money. She was grateful to be working at all while she figured things out and it was not looked down upon as beneath her, by herself, her family, or Ethan. And she was 32 at the time! I really liked that.
- The epilogue was super cute and wrapped everything up really nicely. I liked that we got a little snippet of Ethan’s perspective.
What I did not enjoy about The Unhoneymooners:
- While mostly decent banter, some of the dialogue was downright cringey and embarrassing.
- I got a vibe from the characters that felt very common and redundant. Same old same archetypes with a special “quirk” written in to make them different. Having a weird quirk does not make a personality.
- They weren’t actually enemies and the foundation for their animosity was not very well constructed.
- The constant pop culture references Olive made were annoying.
- Things moved too quickly from enemies to in love for me. There was not enough enemy parts.
- The smut could have been better.
- The scene where Ethan gets drunk was…odd. You expect me to believe an all expenses paid stay at a fancy hotel wouldn’t have better liquor options for free?? And why was she just sitting there watching him pound cheap drinks until he was hammered?? Why didn’t they go back to the hotel and drink together? it was very strange and felt forced.
- A lot of the “oops we’re naked” moments felt very forced and eye roll worthy.
- I found it frustrating that the authors wouldn’t outright say if Olive was plus sized or not. They kept calling her “curvy” and saying she loved her body, but others might not and she was worried that Ethan judged her for eating junk food once. But then all he talks about is how hot she is and how huge her tits are. Like, that doesn’t give the reader a clear enough image of her body type and I think it does plus sized representation a disservice to make it so vague.
- The plot point about Olive’s boss and new job was really unbelievable. The dinner that they had in Maui with the boss and his wife had absolutely nothing to do with work and was completely outside of a professional/workplace setting. She hadn’t even been officially hired yet! And moreso than that, it was none of the boss’ fucking business if Olive was married or not. It’s her personal life and he had no rights to fire her over something that had nothing to do with work. I wanted her to stand up for herself there and be like frankly sir that’s none of your business. She lied about a personal matter and shouldn’t have been fired. It annoyed me.
- The whole cheating thing at the end involving their siblings, Ethan and Olive, could easily have been resolved if Ethan spoke to Olive’s sister at all about it and vice versa, instead of just holding to some blind faith in the brother. They treated Olive like crap about it and they were so dumb. They could have easily figured it out without crucifying her for it. Olive was a badass though and deserves all the awards for that part.
So yeah, ultimately I really had a good time reading this book. I read it super fast and it kept me engaged the whole time. It was very lighthearted and humorous, with a few deeper moments thrown in, as well, that I appreciated. I will certainly be checking out more books by these two! (Oh yeah, the author is actually two best friends that write books together. Hello dream job!)
Thanks guys and happy reading!