As a newly converted fan of romance and rom-com novels, I couldn’t think of a better book to read as I embark on my new romance journey than NOT THE GIRL YOU MARRY by Andie J. Christopher. It’s based on the equally charming “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days,” with a younger version of Matthew McConaughey’s character and inspired by the brilliant chemistry between McConaughey and Kate Hudson. It improves upon its inspiration, resulting in a better and updated story that wins readers’ hearts.
Like Andy and Ben, Hannah and Jack are young professionals trying to get ahead in their careers. Hannah is an event planner who dreams of becoming VP, a promotion her boss is reluctant to give her. Hannah usually handles the wilder events and usually scoffs at the wedding planning that a VP at the company would have to be familiar with. Her boss makes a deal with her: show me you can be in a committed relationship and I’ll let you plan the wedding of the year, Madison Chapin’s, the Senator’s Daughter. A successful wedding would definitely win her VP.
Likewise, Jack Nolan wants out of the how-to videos that have made him viral at his magazine. He longs for the politics beat and will do anything to get there, instead of writing one last article, “How To Lose A Girl.” This goes against everything Jack stands for–he’s prided himself on being the perfect boyfriend and can’t imagine pulling the stuff his friends have gotten dumped and ghosted for.
When Hannah and Jack meet at a speakeasy bar in Chicago, they each concoct the perfect plan to get what they want. Jack will use Hannah for the “How to” article and Hannah will string Jack along for two weeks to convince her boss she’s wedding planning material. They don’t expect to fall for each other, and they don’t expect to regret the choices that have lead them to that point.
Hannah is definitely one of my favorite characters that I’ve read recently. She’s flawed and human, and I rooted for her the entire novel. She was strong and deeply emotional and I really felt for her. She was a character I got behind instantly. Andie J. Christopher does a stellar job of writing a mixed race character who is real and complicated and not just a person there for diversity points. Jack’s aversion to toxic masculinity is also noteworthy, and while he’s flawed, he is in a way that allows growth by the end of the novel in a way that’s believable and well-written. As far as fictional book boyfriends went, he definitely rates on the swoon-worthy scale.
I loved the romance between Jack and Hannah. They were so complementary, even when they were lying to one another. They’re delicate ruses made the reading even more enjoyable, as I wondered how exactly they would make it up to one another in the end. Their chemistry was just as enjoyable as if they were real people (or actors) that I was watching on screen.
Books like this one make everything okay for a little bit, and no matter how flawed the characters are or how messy their lives become, when they finally figure things out, I feel like you can figure your life out as well, even briefly for a few hundred pages. Overall, this book was all of my favorite rom-coms in novel format. Definitely a top read of 2019 for sure and one that new romance readers and seasoned ones will enjoy.
I cannot wait for Andie J. Christopher’s next book–which will be Jack’s sister, Bridget’s story.