How Not to Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins is a sweet story about a cynic and a hopeless romantic who teach each other how to date without getting attached. The main characters are best friends, and their friendship is so heartwarming to read. I had some issues with the love triangle, but I would still recommend this cozy story, especially to those who enjoy the friends to lovers trope.Title: How Not to Fall in Love
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: December 21, 2021
A hardened cynic and a hopeless romantic teach each other about love in this swoony and heartfelt contemporary romance that's perfect for fans of Tweet Cute and The Upside of Falling.
Harper works in her mom’s wedding shop, altering dresses for petulant and picky brides who are more focused on hemlines than love. After years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Nothing more. Her best friend Theo is her opposite. One date and he’s already dreaming of happily ever afters. He also plays the accordion, makes chain mail for Ren Festers, hangs out in a windmill-shaped tree house, cries over rom-coms, and takes his word-of-the-day calendar very seriously.
When Theo’s shocked to find himself nursing his umpteenth heartbreak, Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love. Theo agrees to the lessons, as long as Harper proves she can date without falling in love. As the lessons progress and Theo takes them to heart, Harper has a harder time upholding her end of the bargain. She’s also checking out her window to see if Theo’s home from his latest date yet. She's even watching rom-coms. If she confesses her feelings, she’ll undermine everything she’s taught him. Or was he the one teaching her?
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: How Not to Fall in Love by JacquEline Firkins
Working with her mom in a bridal shop, Harper has witnessed her fair share of disaster and views love as nothing more than a marketing tool. However, her best friend Theo is her exact opposite, falling in love too easily and ending up heartbroken every time. Determined to put an end to Theo’s suffering, Harper offers to teach him how to fall in love without attachment, and in return, she’ll prove to Theo that she can date without falling in love herself. However, with each lesson that goes by, and with a new boy who has caught her attention, Harper realizes that not falling in love is easier said than done. As she realizes she is also starting to fall for Theo, Harper must reconsider her perspective on love.
❀ Realistic Main Characters
Both main characters are realistic, and their dynamic is well-written. Harper has a cynical outlook on love, and I enjoyed the tension between her job at a bridal shop and her lack of interest in romance. Theo is her best friend, and the author did an excellent job capturing their closeness though small, touching moments like Theo helping Harper study vocabulary for her SATs. I loved how Theo is the one with the role of the hopeless romantic and the one who ends up crying over his failed attempts at love, as this is not something I have encountered in books very often. I enjoyed getting to see the male character being vulnerable for a change.
❀ Not a Fan of the Love Triangle
While I loved the concept of this book, I had some issues with the drama and the love triangle. When love triangles are written effectively, I can be convinced to give them a chance, but I wasn’t satisfied with the direction this one took. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the concept of the main character dating someone else while she figures out her feelings for her best friend, only to eventually realize her feelings for her best friend and hurt the second love interest in the process. In this case, Felix seems like a nice character, and because there is so much investment into his relationship with Harper at first, it was a bit difficult for me to switch over to Theo so quickly. I just feel as though there are more effective ways to execute the best friends to lovers trope.
❀ Perfect for Fans of Friends to Lovers Trope
How Not to Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins is a realistic story with a lot of heart. I enjoyed the premise of the main characters attempting not to fall in love, and both of them are well-developed. Where I struggled was with the love triangle, but those who enjoy this trope may like this one more than I did. This is a great read for fans of the friends to lovers trope.