In brief: Millie and her guy friends have always been just that – friends. But now they need dates for a fancy university function, so they decide to use a dating app. It seems to work for the boys, but not Millie. But now her alter ego profile has matched with Reid…
The good: It’s really fun.
The not-so-good: Could have done with some more subplots for me.
Why I chose it: Love Christina Lauren’s novels for a pick me up.
Publisher: Piatkus (Hachette)
Setting: Mainly Santa Barbara, California
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Christina Lauren’s novels should really come with a guarantee of a fun read. I love that I can rely on them for a great story that is fun and witty, exploring relationships. Hence I turn to their novels when I don’t want to take a chance on not liking what I choose to read. My Favourite Half-Night Stand is one of their earlier stand-alone novels and while it’s great, their subplots and depth of their novels have only gotten better with time. I did still love this friends to lovers story though.
Millie and her guy friends Reid, Chris, Ed and Alex all work at the University of California in Santa Barbara. They get along well, despite their differing expert subjects (Millie’s into criminology and Reid and Ed are neuroscientists). They catch up regularly, but one night ends with Millie and Reid having a half-night stand. They swear off things going further, just as it’s announced the Barack Obama will be speaking at the university gala. Now they all need dates for the black tie event so they decide to join a dating app. The guys initially do well after Millie rewrites their introductions. For Millie, it’s all about dick pics and boredom. So she creates a better alter ego which laughingly, matches with Reid. Millie leaves crumbs for Reid to guess it’s her, but he doesn’t notice until he and ‘Catherine’ are in far too deep – and a few half-night stands with Millie later. Can true love conquer betrayal?
The story is generally pretty light, following the friendship between Millie and the guys and her friendship with Reid growing into something more. Millie has also had a pretty rough childhood, which has resulted in her shutting off her feelings to others. This is frustrating for Reid, who would love for Millie to get serious on occasion and it’s one of the major things holding him back. It’s difficult for Millie, but there is a span of personal growth for her across the novel. It’s realistic for she has set up her walls and the pain and anxiety she feels on taking them down. There are a lot of messages too in the story, which is something I like (think DMs on the dating app, SMS and IM on the university servers). However, it does make some pages go by really quickly if that kind of thing bothers you. I would have loves more about the other guys – Ed is hapless but seems to find his happily ever after, Chris finds love in forbidden territory and poor Alex is left to play the field. I’m sure each of these guys is just as intriguing and I’d have loved some more detail. (Also I want to know what Obama said at the gala).
The story works in having first person perspectives from both Millie and Reid, getting to the heart of what’s stopping them from being completely together. It made Millie’s shortcomings all the more poignant and Reid’s playing the field a little more understandable. It all makes for an entertaining read.