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by Sara Desai

Pub Date: March 16th, 2021
ISBN: 9780-5-931-0058-5
Publisher: Berkley

An organized software engineer reunites with the high school crush who jilted her on prom night.

Daisy Patel has a particular way of doing things as a self-described "neurotic software engineer." With her life in chaos after she catches her boyfriend cheating and learns that her company is in dire financial straits, Daisy can't take any more of her parents' romantic meddling. Liam Murphy has returned to San Francisco to mourn his grandfather and take over the family distillery, but there's a catch with his inheritance: He needs to get married. Though Liam is a friend of her brother's and her former high school crush, Daisy isn't exactly thrilled about their reunion, considering that he stood her up on prom night a decade earlier. However, a spark of lingering attraction motivates the pair to form a mutually beneficial agreement: They'll pretend to date and then marry out of convenience. Daisy's family is fond of Liam, and it'd give her some freedom from their pressure to settle down, and Liam will finally have the power to make some much-needed changes to the distillery. Given Daisy's love of detail and organization, she concocts a dating plan for the two of them, though sticking to the rules proves to be hard when pretending feels a lot like the real thing. Pop-culture nerds may appreciate Daisy's love for Marvel movies, as she often wears clothing emblazoned with the Avengers, but her obsession with Liam's prom-night gaffe makes this detail feel infantilizing rather than an unabashed example of fandom love. The weak conflict of a disappointing prom night feels unnecessary in the face of other obstacles Daisy and Liam may have to contend with as fake partners approaching a modern marriage of convenience.

A thin conflict downgrades this promising fake relationship to a lukewarm rom-com.