My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

It speaks pretty highly of an author (or in this case, a writing duo) when my least favorite of their books is still a 4 star read. After reading a few of their other books, I’m pretty much at the point that I’ll read anything that they write. While My Favorite Half-Night Stand wasn’t my favorite Christina Lauren book, it was a pretty good entry to the romantic comedy genre.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

While I don’t believe catfishing is OK in real life, it made for an interesting plot device in this book. It drove tension in the book and kept me glued to the pages, but it also created an interesting power dynamic that I wish had been explored a bit more. By catfishing Reid, Millie gained the upper hand in their relationship. She was able to glean information about Reid that he wouldn’t have necessarily shared with her and use it to her advantage in their real lives. She had insight into his life that he did not have into hers. When it inevitably came out, it created the final act of drama that really drove the plot home.

It was really fun to have a book about a woman who’s a guys girl – they don’t pop up in this genre very often, and they’re not usually this well executed. Yes, Millie is a guys girl, but does she look down on other women? No, and that’s what sets her apart. She’s obsessed with her career and has never found the time to really put herself out there in the dating world. Overall, she was just a really relatable main character who was given the depth of character I always look for. Reid was the perfect match for Millie, he understands her career, takes an interest in her interests, and likes her for exactly who she is. Their chemistry is off the charts and leads to a hook up – what’s interesting is their chemistry is split in two when Millie begins to catfish Reid on a dating app, while still seeing him every day. As I said before, this made for an interesting imbalance in their relationship. What surprised me was the fact that he was able to forgive her for this. I almost would have rather seen them part ways because it would have been more believable to me.

If you’re looking for a light and airy beach read that you can pick up and put down while you go in the water, this is your book. The plot is simple, but enjoyable and the love story is driven by strong chemistry and an interesting deception plot. While it’s not as memorable as Christina Lauren’s other books, it’s still a fun read. If you’re looking for more books in this vein, check out Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and Roomies by Christina Lauren. 4/5

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