Unfortunately, I’ve been working nonstop this week, even today. It’s been a busy week, but reading and speaking about books is a comforting escape from my reality.
Today I bring before you my first blog tour of the year featuring a book that stole my heart. Ending last year with this book made a huge difference in saying goodbye to another bittersweet year.
But without further ado, let’s begin this tour!
I received a DRC of this book from Random House Children’s courtesy of TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
► Title: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
► BY: talia hibbert
► Publishing: Random House Children’s
► on: January 3, 2023
► GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
► Standalone ► pacING: fast
► paGES: 336 ► aGE: 13+
► Rating: 5/5 ★
BUY BOOK: AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors–and each other.
Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.
Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption–yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)
These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.
Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?
ADD TO GOODREADS
Rep: BI MC with ocd; Black MCS
✦ Celine and Bradley put the hate in the hate-to-love trope
Celine and Bradley were high school archnemesis. Meaning they were two good friends till middle school and couldn’t stand the sight of each other now because they had a fallout in high school after Bradley joined the soccer team. They quipped back and forth whenever they orbited the same space and were on fire, with a touch of humour of course. Their mutual hate was undisguised. For those hate-to-love readers, you don’t have to look that far.
✦ Nothing Sus, but fairly, maddeningly cute
But their hate never stuck for long. Their transition from hate to love hit the mark, not letting us down.
You can call this story a grumpy-sunshine romance. Celine was not that grumpy, but she never handed out compliments or smiles as Bradley did. She was suspicious of him and the entire population, sans her family and a handful of people, but she ignored him and focused on her college applications. But Bradley swooped in like a typhoon disrupting her senior year plans and breaking all her walls one by one, albeit charmingly.
✦ Family who had their backs
Celine had a small inner circle. She was protective of her family and friends. They were her people who never shied away from being honest with her and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.
Brad’s family, on the other hand, deserves a family of the year award. They were annoyingly sweet. I don’t remember much about his mother but his brother and dad would appear out of thin air. They had the perfect timing. Bradley’s brother Mason, in particular, was waiting to taunt his brother whenever he had the chance.
Brad and Celine’s families stayed with them when they had setbacks or any struggles. Their families would fight the world for them. Not to forget, they were rooting for Celine and Bradley to happen for a long time. Their parents have known each other since childhood, so they were literally waiting for them to become something more. Not friends. Definitely not archnemesis. But more.
✦ Fostering new relationships
Locking that scholarship camp was Celine’s biggest goal and Bradley competing for the same made her suspicious of him. It did interrupt her plans because their parents made sure they looked out for each other at the camp. Despite Celine thinking he deliberately opted to join the camp to rile her, he had his own goals. He needed that scholarship just as desperate as Celine was.
They were amicable and also made new friends at the camp. Celine took long enough to open up, but she and her roommate became besties soon. Brad and Celine formed a new circle of friends there. They also rekindled their friendship and were aware that they were entering a new territory. That camp was the hot zone for friendships and mended whatever was broken between Celine and Brad.
✦ Slow Burn that pays off
This book had no right to be this cute, and I enjoyed every second of it. It was one of those feel-good books you devour in one sitting even when the main couple (Celine mainly) took their sweet time to confront their feelings. If you aren’t tired of reading slow burns already and need another one for your tbr, do pick this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Talia Hibbert is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.
She writes steamy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include makeup, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. Talia and her many books reside in the English Midlands.
website | twitter | instagram | GoodReads | facebook
Have you read this book or any books by Talia Hibbert? I’m sure this won’t be my last one
“You don’t need to be special or significant to have value. You’re just important, always, and people either see that or they don’t.”
― Talia Hibbert, Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
I was annoyed with myself for not mentioning the awesome friendships in this book because they also gave me life 😍 But I totally agree with everything you’ve written here. The family relationships, the hate-to-love, the maddeningly cute interactions and banter—ah, I loved it. 💜 Great review!
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