Betting on You

Betting on You

by Lynn Painter

Narrated by Jesse Vilinsky, Zachary Webber

Unabridged — 11 hours, 44 minutes

Betting on You

Betting on You

by Lynn Painter

Narrated by Jesse Vilinsky, Zachary Webber

Unabridged — 11 hours, 44 minutes

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Notes From Your Bookseller

Funny and full of romantic tension, Betting on You is a rom-com that reads like an ode to the genre. Tropes of fake dating and opposites attract power this story alongside enjoyable banter that keeps the relationships building.

A New York Times Bestseller

From the New York Times bestselling author of Better Than the Movies, this “entertaining” (Publishers Weekly) rom-com in the vein of She's All That and 10 Things I Hate About You follows a teen girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a bet while working at a waterpark.

When seventeen-year-old Bailey starts a new job at a hotel waterpark, she is less than thrilled to see an old acquaintance is one of her coworkers. Bailey met Charlie a year ago on the long flight to Omaha, where she moved after her parents' divorce. Charlie's cynicism didn't mix well with Bailey's carefully well-behaved temperament, and his endless commentary was the irritating cherry on top of an already emotionally fraught trip.

Now, Bailey and Charlie are still polar opposites, but instead of everything about him rubbing Bailey the wrong way, she starts to look forward to hanging out and gossiping about the waterpark guests and their coworkers-particularly two who keep flirting with each other. Bailey and Charlie make a bet on whether or not the cozy pair will actually get together. Charlie insists that members of the opposite sex can't just be friends, and Bailey is determined to prove him wrong.

Bailey and Charlie keep close track of the romantic progress of others while Charlie works to deflect the growing feelings he's developed for Bailey. Terrified to lose her if his crush becomes known, what doesn't help his agenda is Bailey and Charlie “fake dating” in order to disrupt the annoying pleasantries between Bailey's mom and her mom's new boyfriend. Soon, what Charlie was hoping to avoid becomes a reality as Bailey starts to see him as not only a friend she can rely on in the midst of family drama-but someone who makes her hands shake and heart race. But Charlie has a secret-a secret that involves Bailey and another bet Charlie may have made. Can the two make a real go of things...or has Charlie's secret doomed them before they could start?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Opposites attract in this witty romance by Painter (Better Than the Movies). When Bailey meets Charlie, her seatmate on a flight from Alaska to Nebraska, she’s immediately put off by his cavalier attitude. Though they find common ground in being the children of divorced parents, they disagree about almost everything else, including Charlie’s insistence that “guys and girls can’t be friends.” After the flight, the teens go their separate ways, until three years later, when, now 17, they both land jobs at a resort. As the two develop a friendship—and maybe something more—Bailey recruits Charlie in her ploy to drive away her mother’s new boyfriend, who she feels has upset their mother-daughter dynamic. Bailey and Charlie also unearth their years-old argument over whether guys and girls can be friends when Charlie reveals his belief that Bailey’s bestie, a coworker, will cheat on her boyfriend while working at the resort. Bailey bets against him, but the wager soon comes back to bite her. Via alternating perspectives, the characters’ good-natured and combative banter, and an emergent fake-dating scheme, Painter breathes new life into a familiar premise to present an entertaining low-conflict romp. Bailey and Charlie cue as white. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)


[A] swoon-worthy rom-com.”

author of Waiting for Tom Hanks Kerry Winfrey

A sweet and funny love letter to romantic comedies.”

School Library Journal


Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Bailey meets Charlie, "Mister Nothing," for the third time during training for her new job. She did not get a good vibe from him three years earlier when she was just starting high school, and she is not interested in getting to know him now. Unfortunately for her, they end up working together at the front desk of hotel waterpark Planet Funnn and getting to know each other is inevitable. They begin to bond over their parents' divorces as well as dealing with their mothers' new boyfriends, until a trip to Colorado from their home in Nebraska changes the course of everything. Their relationship flip flops from co-workers to friends to a possible romantic connection. In typical rom-com fashion, there are besties who offer advice, suggestions of fake dating, and exes who muddy the waters. The story is told from multiple points of view. Emotions for both main characters ricochet and are inconsistent with their personalities, making some of their actions unbelievable. Strong language is peppered throughout, which seems at odds with the tame romance. VERDICT Bypass this one and stick to the works of authors Jenny Han and David Yoon.—Elizabeth Kahn

JANUARY 2024 - AudioFile

Jesse Vilinsky and Zachary Webber expressively perform this friends-to-lovers romance. Bailey is less than thrilled to start her new job at a hotel waterpark upon moving to Nebraska after her parents' divorce. She also never thought she would be working with Mr. Nothing, Charlie, the boy she met on her first flight to Omaha. Charlie claims that members of the opposite sex can't be friends, and Bailey wants to prove him wrong. Vilinsky's portrayal of Bailey's vulnerable and conflicted persona is emotional and full of feeling, while Webber's charming mellow tone complements Charlie's guarded yet benevolent nature. Listeners will cheer as Bailey and Charlie let down their walls and fall in love. J.J.M. © AudioFile 2024, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

Unlikely friends fight their growing feelings for each other while placing bets on other people’s love lives.

Bailey met Charlie while flying from Alaska, where she grew up, to Nebraska, where she and her mom would be living after her parents’ divorce. Although they briefly bonded over their parents’ divorces, Charlie’s cynicism grated on the rule-following Bailey, and she was thankful to part ways with him. Three years later, to Bailey’s dismay, she runs into Charlie when they both land jobs at Planet Funnn, a mega-hotel that’s “like a giant landlocked cruise ship.” This time around, Bailey and Charlie begin to get along better. To entertain themselves during their long shifts, they observe and make bets about the hotel guests. But they risk taking it too far when they bet on whether their co-worker Theo will end up with Nekesa, Bailey’s best friend, who’s in “a perfect relationship with the perfect guy.” The book explores Bailey’s conflicted feelings toward her mom’s new relationship with Scott (who doesn’t “do anything wrong” but whose presence changes “the vibe” at home), but it does so in a way that diminishes a primary source of conflict. Bailey's and Charlie’s feelings become even more complicated when Charlie helps Bailey with a fake-dating scheme intended to scare Scott off. Some of the banter between the leads, who are coded white, feels more aggressive than playful, detracting from their intimacy, and the circuitous plot may fail to sustain readers’ interest.

Disappointing. (Romance. 14-18)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178111499
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/28/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 431,720

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Three Years Ago Bailey CHAPTER ONE THREE YEARS AGO Bailey
The first time I met Charlie was at the airport in Fairbanks.

My dad had just said goodbye, so I was swallowing down heavy emotion as I left behind life as I knew it and prepared to fly to Nebraska, where my mother and I would now be living since my parents had officially separated. I lifted my chin and attempted to channel maturity as I traversed the airport with my rolling pink carry-on, but every blink of my eyes held back a weighted homesickness for the place and the memories I was leaving behind.

It was when I got stuck in a long line of people waiting to go through security, sandwiched between strangers and stressing over whether or not my braces were going to set off the metal detector, that we made contact.

The line started moving, but I couldn’t take a step because the two people in front of me were kissing. Hard-core. As if their mouths were fused together and they were desperately trying to pull them apart by turning their heads from side to side.

Or else they were eating each other’s faces off.

I cleared my throat.


I cleared my throat again.

Which made the guy open his eyes—I could only see one eye—and look directly at me. While still kissing the girl. As if that wasn’t weird enough, he said to me while his lips were still attached to hers, “Oh my God—what?”

Which sounded like omiguhdwhruut.

And then The Eye closed and they were full-on kissing again.

“Excuse me,” I said through gritted teeth, my emotional anxiety replaced by irritation, “but the line. The line is moving.”

The Eye opened again and the dude glared at me. He lifted his mouth and said something to his girlfriend that prompted them to actually move forward. Finally. I heard his girlfriend chirp about how much she was going to miss him, and I could see by his profile that he was kind of half smiling and not saying anything as they stumbled forward, hand in hand.

But I couldn’t get past the fact that they looked like they were my age.


I was going into my freshman year. Of high school. People my age didn’t make out in public; they couldn’t even drive yet. People my age didn’t have the audacity to totally get after it in the airport security line, where they could get in trouble.

So who were these obnoxious PDA renegades?

The girl stepped out of line and waved to the guy, probably relieved to finally be getting oxygen. After making it through security and reorganizing my things, I checked the time on my phone. I wanted to be right next to the door when the Jetway opened, so it was imperative that I get there as quickly as possible. I went around the face-eating jackass as he looked down at his phone, and I walked as fast as I could toward the departure gate.

It wasn’t until I took a seat right next to the check-in counter, where I couldn’t miss any pertinent announcements and would be guaranteed a spot at the very front of the line, that I was finally able to calm my nerves.

I scrolled through my phone, checked the airline’s app for updates, then put on my headphones and cued up the freshly curated Bailey’s Airplane Playlist. But as I sat back and watched the other travelers milling about the terminal, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them were being forced to go somewhere they didn’t want to go and start a new life they had no interest in beginning.

If I were a betting person, I’d say zero.

I had to be the only person in that entire airport who was going on what was the polar opposite of a trip. I had a ticket to my own transplantation, and it sucked. I dwelled on this for the entirety of the hour wait, especially when Adorable Family of Four plopped down across from me, looking like poster children for the Disney resorts as they bounced around with palpable travel enthusiasm.

The sight of their familial bliss made me want to snuggle with the tiny scrap of blankie I still slept with (even though no one knew) and cry just a little.

So to say I was tightly wound by the time we lined up to board would be an understatement. I was first in line—hell yes—but buzzing with my own brand of palpable energy. My gurgling turmoil saw Adorable Family’s enthusiasm and raised the pot by a hundred.

“Hey, you.”

I looked to my left, and there was the face-eating jackass from security, smiling at me as if we were friends.

“I looked everywhere for you, babe.”

I glanced behind me at the rest of the boarding line, because he couldn’t possibly be talking to me. But when I turned back around, he was actually moving marginally closer, forcing me to take a step over so he could stand beside me. He nudged my shoulder with his and winked.

What in the actual hell? Was he high?

“What are you doing?” I whispered, clutching the strap of my carry-on bag as I tried scooting away from him while still maintaining my First in Line status. He was wearing a hoodie that said Mr. Nothing, with baggy shorts, and he didn’t have a single thing in his hands. No carry-on, no book, no coat; what kind of person traveled like that?

He moved even closer, so his face was about an inch from mine, and said under his breath, “Relax, Glasses. I just don’t want to wait in that line, so I’m making it look like we’re together.”

“But.” I looked at him and wondered who Mr. Nothing actually was. He was obviously my age-ish and a generally attractive human. He had thick, dark, careless hair and a nice mouth. But his nerve was just too huge for a normal boy. “That’s not fair.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“Everyone else has to wait in line,” I said, trying not to sound like a child screaming It’s not fair while kind of wanting to throw elbows. “If you didn’t want to wait, you should’ve gotten here earlier.”

“Like you?” he asked, his tone thick with sarcasm.

I pushed up my glasses. “Yes, like me.”

Why is this total stranger messing with me? Was this karma for daydreaming about Adorable Family being stranded at the airport? Karma was supposed to be a cat, dammit, not this.

He tilted his head to the side and looked at me. “I bet you used to be a hall monitor.”

“Excuse me?” It was obvious he meant it in an insulting way, and I was torn between wanting to punch him in the face and wanting to sobbingly beg him to leave me alone. I glanced behind us again, and the man next in line was smirking, clearly eavesdropping. I turned back to Mr. Nothing and whispered, “Not that it’s any of your business, but everyone had to take a turn at my school.”

“Sure they did.”

Sure they did? I made a noise, sort of a growl mixed with a groan, before fleetingly wondering if punching a fellow passenger was a federal offense.

“Are you... Do you not believe me?” I asked through gritted teeth. “About hall monitoring?”

He smirked. “It’s not that I don’t believe you; it’s that we both know you would’ve signed up whether it was mandatory or not.”

How would he know that? He wasn’t wrong, but it pissed me off that he behaved as if he knew me, when our relationship spanned five awful minutes. I was squinting and my nose was scrunched up like something smelled bad, but it was physically impossible to unsquinch it. I managed to bite out, “Whatever.”

He stopped talking but didn’t move; he just stayed put, right where he was. We both stood there, side by side, staring in front of us in silence. Why isn’t he moving? He’s not going to stay here, is he?? After another long minute of non-speak, I couldn’t take it and very nearly shouted the words “Why are you still here?”

He seemed confused by my question. “What?”

I pointed my thumb over my shoulder, and he said, “Oh my God, you were serious about that? You’re going to make me go to the back?”

I breathed in through my nose. “I’m not making you. It’s the way things work.”

“Oh, well, if it’s the way things work...” He looked at me like I was an idiot.

The airline employee who’d been standing beside the door grabbed the speaker and began announcing our flight. I gave Mr. Nothing another pointed look, the patented WTF are you doing look, punctuated with bug eyes, which made him shake his head and step out of line.

He looked at the guy behind me and said, “It’s the way things work; don’t worry about it.”

And even though I refused to turn around and watch him, I heard him mutter “It’s the way things work” no less than five times as he made his way to the back of the line.

Whyyyyyyy? Why was this smug, sarcastic jerk even part of my experience? Hes ruining flying for me, I thought as I scanned my boarding pass and started down the Jetway, which was ironic when flying was the only thing I didn’t hate about the day.

My first time flying alone was the one teensy-tiny thing that I’d been excited about, and Assbag Zero seemed determined to destroy that.

I didn’t relax until we were boarded, my bag was stowed in the overhead compartment, I’d texted both my parents, and I was seated next to the window. People were still getting settled, but I’d made it. I’d been stressed all day, but now—ahhh. I closed my eyes and felt like I could finally exhale.


“What are the odds that we’d be seat neighbors?”

I opened my eyes, and there was Mr. Nothing, standing in the aisle, his mouth hard as he looked just as happy to see me as I was to see him.

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