The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory's The Wedding Date boasts a delightful heroine, a memorable hook, and centers around a healthy, sex-positive, power-balanced relationship. I really liked large portions of the story, but thought it fell short on one critical front.

After a crash-course bonding session when they're stuck in an elevator together, Alexa Monroe agrees to be Drew Nichols's fake girlfriend at his ex's wedding. They're immediately attracted to one another, but they live in different cities and have demanding jobs, so there's no way this could be more than a fling... although it turns out that a long-distance friends-with-benefits situation is more workable than they thought. Their just-for-fun relationship gets complicated when real feelings begin to develop, and Alexa and Drew are forced to re-evaluate what they truly want.

The Wedding Date reminded me of an R-rated take on Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Both are stories about an intelligent, successful, quietly confident woman of color agreeing to a fake relationship with a charming yet flaky white guy. As they spend time together, the heroines carefully guard their hearts (in a way that makes them seem alluringly aloof), even as their love interests begin to realize that they have become unexpectedly attached to their fake girlfriends. There's nothing wrong with that setup, of course, (hell, it's a classic) but I found myself wishing for something better for both female protagonists: Han's Lara Jean deserved a boyfriend who wasn't so entangled with his ex, and Guillory's Alexa definitely deserved a more compelling love interest than a grown-ass man whose entire “traumatic past” seems to hinge upon him being a wishy-washy jerk.
Posted by: Julianka


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