Have you ever finished a book and immediately wanted to read it again? That’s The Unhoneymooners for me. Enemies to lovers is honestly my favorite romance trope – no matter how overdone it is. It often leads to the most chemistry driven romance books in the genre, with the best implementations having the line between love and hate so blurred that you forget when the characters stop hating each other and when they fell in love. This book was one of the cutest romances I’ve ever read – and it dethroned Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating as my favorite Christina Lauren book.
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.
This book is the peak of Christina Lauren standalone books: it’s light fair but it’s tightly plotted, über romantic and uses a well-known trope. Enemies to lovers is a very over done trope in the romance genre, but Christina Lauren took it and breathed new life into it. The key to this was the fact that the two leads were never mortal enemies, they just mostly avoided each other and had a mutual dislike – it felt realistic. The writing itself was superb – pretty top notch in the genre and some of Christina Lauren’s best writing yet. This is the kind of book that will give you the warm and fuzzies with the simplest little moment – I found myself melting the first time the two characters shared interest, it was such a sweet moment.
Above and beyond the high-quality writing, the pacing was spectacular. The plot got going right off the bat with a disastrous wedding that was laugh out loud hilarious and it was all uphill from there. This was also one of those books where I loved the subplots just as much as the main plot the story of the main character getting a new job and all the shenanigans that came with that was a genuinely fun ride. There was never a point in the book where the plot felt extraneous or too slow – in fact, I devoured this book in one sitting.
Character-wise, I really liked Olive – she was career driven, headstrong and cared deeply about her friends and family. She put family above all else, including her romantic interest. Just the way she stuck up for her sister in a dark time and refused to be silenced was inspirational and I really respected her for that. Olive also held a belief that she had bad luck, but she never took it over an unbelievable edge – she was a very grounded character. I also loved her bravery – she owned up to her mistakes and was honest with herself about what she wanted in her life.
Ethan was just as great, he had a mutual dislike for Olive, but as they both peeled back the layers of misconceptions they both grew to mutually respect each other and their chemistry was amazing. The journey they took unraveling those layers of misconceptions was super sweet and fun to read. Plus, I really liked the fact that their relationship was driven by humor as well as their chemistry. They’re definitely one of my favorite rom-com couples, I would love to read a follow up book about them.
The Unhoneymooners has officially become my favorite Christina Lauren book. It’s sweet, romantic, and legitimately funny. It was hard for me to find any faults in this book – it’s that good. I can’t wait for their upcoming rom-com The Honey-Don’t List, and plan to burn through the rest of their backlog this year. If you haven’t read all of Christina Lauren’s books, I’d highly recommend starting with Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and Roomies (my reviews are linked if you’d like to check them out). 5/5