James Parson has a problem. His military dad is going to yank him out of his expensive boarding school if James doesn't prove he's no longer hooking up, pulling pranks, and charming his way out of consequences. What better way to show he's now responsible than becoming the committed boyfriend of a U.S. diplomat's daughter?
Level-headed, book-smart Edelweiss may have traveled the world thanks to her dad's job, but when it comes to friends and boys, she knows exactly nothing. Newly enrolled in boarding school, Edel is now on a mission to learn it all. James says he'll help her experience the ultimate high school life-if she'll be his fake girlfriend. And fake is perfect, because he's exactly the kind of player she'd never date.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains red-hot romance, all the feels, and a soul-mate bad boy.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
Read an Excerpt
It Had to be You
By Lizzy Charles, Kate Brauning
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Lizzy Charles
All rights reserved.
A proctored exam. The knot in my throat tightens, yet I force myself to lift my chin. "Shouldn't be a problem."
The headmistress shifts back in her leather chair and nods. Hopefully she's impressed I didn't turn my head to glance at my mother, my lifelong teacher, the moment she mentioned testing me. "Just a short mathematics exam for determining your class placement. It's not often we have a previously homeschooled student attend Brockmore. Without being able to research the curriculum used to guide your studies, I need to gauge your current understanding."
Her coral blush glows against her umber skin as she smiles, waiting for my nod of acknowledgment. Once I give it, her attention returns to my parents, who perch in leather armchairs beside me. I rock in my chair, feeling the bump of the small Moleskine notebook in my back pocket, where that exact phrase — a proctored exam — is listed among my "top ten must-have high school experiences" so college doesn't chew me up and spit me out like a bad brussels sprout.
Well, top eleven. When I showed Mom the book, she added her own scribbling to the page, right over my first goal of joining the student government. Fall in love and break up, she'd written down with a wink. "You don't want your first heartbreak to be in an environment where losing yourself could cascade into your future more permanently."
A good point. So I kept it, and then I added about ten more pages of random stuff to the list. Why stop at eleven when preparing for college? I put down everything I could imagine so I could feel accomplished as I scratched things off through the year. Survive cafeteria food is on page two, and I should be able to check that off in a few hours, given I do in fact survive.
A group of guys rushes past Headmistress Creighton's window, throwing a Frisbee. It's still hard to believe I'm here. Of all the places I've studied, from nooks off of throne rooms in Belgium to wandering the Ivory Coast of Abidjan, I never thought I'd end up in a real high school. The dark woodwork hugs the doorframe with detailing that's gained beauty with age. The room creaks with my own excitement for this change as the headmistress slides the final paperwork toward Dad.
Dad hesitates, clutching his pen so hard it might break. He loves to tell its story, how his law firm gifted it to him the day he left with his pregnant wife — enter me — for D.C. to prepare for his new position at the U.S. Embassy in Germany. He claims the stainless steel that houses the ink is unbreakable. Ridiculous. Everything breaks. Still, I humor him with a firm nod anytime he mentions it, which is often, since he always has it tucked into the inside pocket of his sports coat. Finally, in a fluid movement, his cursive uncurls along the black line, his name spelling out my freedom.
After the paperwork is signed, we wander around campus together until our time runs out. All parents have to be off campus before the welcoming banquet.
"Are you sure about this, honey?" Mom presses her palm to my cheek as we wait for their ride on the front steps of Brockmore Academy.
"I need to try something new."
She juts out her lower lip, feigning a pout. "What? Learning German folklore while walking through the Black Forest wasn't interesting enough for you?"
I bump her gently with my shoulder. "You know what I mean, Mom. Anytime I think of college —" The skin over my collarbone prickles, and I have to stop to take a slow breath. How will I ever survive college if I've never stepped foot inside a real school?
Mom takes my hand and gives it a good squeeze. "I understand." She doesn't let go, and for the first time I notice that her palm is now slightly smaller than my own. "Perhaps I should have given you a more traditional education, with workbooks and such. Then again ..." She adjusts my necklace, then lifts her mint-green eyes to mine. "I like how you've turned out, but I understand why you're doing this. You need it. I can tell."
A few feet away, Dad sighs and slips his cell phone into the inside pocket of his suit coat. "Peter's not able to make it," he says, wrapping his arm around Mom.
"Oh no." Mom pats his arm, wiggling into his embrace. I can't even look at them, instead glancing around to make sure no one notices their public display of affection. Thankfully, everyone else has already said their good-byes, and the front drive of Brockmore is empty.
"I was able to fly twelve hours to be here, and he can't catch a train for four. This is why I never went into the military."
"Sorry, Dad. I know you were looking forward to seeing him again." Colonel Peter Parson is one of my parents' oldest friends. One I need to thank immensely for encouraging them to release their clutches and send me to Brockmore.
"Then how is James getting here?" Mom glances over her shoulder, as if she expects Colonel Parson's son, James, to be rushing toward us, excited to meet her.
"Family." Dad glances down at me with a grin. "So are you excited to get rid of your old man?" A black limo curls around the grove of pine trees that borders Brockmore Road all the way down to the town. "Look at that. Right on time."
I nudge him with my elbow. They're flying back to Monaco, and the next time I'll see them will be over winter break. To be honest, I don't know how I feel about it. I'm way overdue to have a few nights to myself, but four months sounds a little overwhelming. "I'll miss you. You know that."
"Still. A whole year without dear old dad being able to frighten boys away."
"Dad. Please." Warmth floods my cheeks. He knows very well I've never been asked on a date. The limo pulls into a smooth, easy stop curbside. Both my parents look frozen, but I start walking down the steps, knowing they'll follow.
Dad skips a step to be even with me. "I thought perhaps I'd be able to have a few words with James. Tell him to look out for you and all that. Unfortunately, Peter says he isn't answering his phone. Looks like you'll have to introduce yourself to him at the banquet tonight."
"If I can manage to find him. There are four hundred students in this school!" My thumb twitches until it unlocks from its joint. Somehow this movement satisfies, in a way I can never explain to anyone else.
Mom laughs. "Honey, there were twelve hundred students in my high school, and I knew every single person in my class of four hundred and twenty. You get used to it. Trust me."
"See, this is why I need a typical high school experience. If four hundred kids freak me out, how in the world will I survive navigating a campus of thousands like Yale or MIT?"
Mom reaches out, patting my hand, her gentle signal she's always given me whenever she catches me popping my thumb joint. Her quest to prevent me from arthritis never ends. "Sorry." When I pull my hand back, the impulse to pop the joint returns fiercely.
Dad speaks with the driver for a moment, and when he returns, he glances up at the stunning stone building hovering over us. He laughs. "I'd hardly call one of the most elite boarding schools in the nation a typical high school, but that's not your fault. It's the only place I can bear sending you." He opens his arms, and I step into his hug. "We're going to miss you, Edelweiss."
"I'm going to miss you, too."
It takes twenty minutes' worth of hugs and tears and "I love yous," but finally they let me go, pulling away in their jet-black limo with Mom's hand waving from the window. A cutting anguish digs into me as I watch them disappear behind the pine trees. I'm the force behind this decision, but God, how I need elbow room after a lifetime of following them around the world.
My hand floats to my back pocket making sure my notebook is still there. It is, of course. After a year of kissing my bum, it wouldn't dare escape the comfortable groove worn into my pants. Still, I shove it back down so it won't creep out. A warm excitement pixelates in my chest when I think about all the scary things I've written down in those pages.
Make the type of friends who will laugh with you until you cry or cry with you until you laugh.
Stay up all night long binging Netflix with my roommate.
Give a speech.
Enter a debate.
Be a math tutor.
Fail at something and pick myself up again.
My heart kicks into overdrive. I gaze up at Brockmore Hall in awe. Its great shadow spreads over the driveway, and age has colored the building's stonework, cracks squiggling through the condensed minerals, yet it still stands, like an unbreakable fortress.
Brockmore is designed to place its students in Ivy League colleges. Launch a teenager on the road to becoming the next president of the United States. Not that I want to be POTUS, but I wouldn't mind a little boost for getting into an Ivy League school. Brockmore's name alone should do wonders for my college application, but I'll need to give more of myself to the school if I want to stand out. I've stared at my college applications for the last year with no answers to questions like, "What life experiences have offered you leadership opportunities?" Brockmore is my chance to find the answers.
A cramp in my wrist travels up the tendons in my arm. Oh. I release my fist, letting blood return. Probably best not to walk into the school this way. I should look like I'm at least open to having some fun before the weight of academia hits my shoulders.
I cycle through pranayama breath just as my yoga instructor in New Delhi taught me, syncing my energy to the fresh-cut grass beneath my ballet flats.
This is it, Edel. It's time to start living.
"Watch out!" A voice jolts me out of my meditation. A red motorbike skids toward me. The screech of the breaks makes my teeth vibrate. The bike jets out from under the rider, and suddenly I'm horizontal, pinned beneath the guy.
A fierce heat stings my cheek.
"Are you all right?" The guy's voice is deep. He flips open the visor of his helmet and gazes down with dark-chocolate eyes. If I look closely, swirling flecks of gold dance within the brown. Absolutely intoxicating.
The guy coughs, and I blink to break free of his pull. "Hey. You okay?" he asks.
Only the searing pain on my cheek brings me back to reality. My fingertips feather over the wound and poke at the hot and mushy mess that used to be my skin. When I pull my fingers back, they're coated in red.
Blood. Who cares about the hot guy? I'm bleeding!
"What is it?" He reaches under me, supporting my head off the ground. "You're going to be okay." His lips part into a blazing Hollywood smile. "It's pizza sauce."
"Are you hurt anywhere else?" He waits until I give him a nice shake of my head. But the answer must not have been good enough. "Is it okay if I check?" He eyes me, waiting for my permission.
My processing feels numb, so I nod. He'll do a better job than me at this point.
The tawny-brown skin of his hand warms my pale arms as he slides his palms over my wrist, my elbow, checking my bones in gentle squeezes. Everything there feels normal. Same with the other arm. A satisfying lack of tingling or numbness results from a quick wiggle of my fingers and toes. The only notable injury is to my clothing — marinara sauce splattered all over me.
"Well, when in Rome ..." He peels a slice off my linen pants, handing it to me.
I hold the fluffy wedge smothered in Colby-Jack. This is nothing like the pizza I'm used to from Rome.
"Get it while it's hot, girl." He laughs, and the energy in his voice cracks me open. "Now, there's a smile."
Not wanting to appear uptight, I take a nibble. The salt is shocking, but then the smooth texture of the cheese melts like butter on my tongue. Whoa.
"Good, right?" The guy takes a seat next to me on the grass, flicking the pizza box open with his shoe to see how many pieces remain.
"Are you the delivery guy?" I ask, setting my piece down on the cardboard. Doesn't make sense to eat before the opening banquet tonight.
"She speaks!" He bites into the crust with a curt nod. "You could say that. What's your name?" "Edelweiss."
A smile spreads across his face, and he tilts his head to the right, looking at me oddly.
"Admittedly, it's a unique name." I shrug. "Most people call me Edel."
"Like the singer, Adele?"
I nod, nudging the smashed pizza box with my toe. It never occurred to me that my name would be too weird for school, but suddenly a wave of doubt washes over me.
"I like it. We don't have any Edels here. It's pretty." He tosses his slice aside and jumps up to assess his motorbike. There's a dent in the front fender where it met the pavement.
Losing transportation could mean losing a job — one of Dad's signature life lessons chimes in my mind. Oh please let it still work. "I'm sorry about your bike."
"I nearly run you over, and you're sorry about the bike?" A dimple, high up on his left cheek, imprints with his grin.
"I'm not messed up like that fender. What if it isn't working?"
He revs the engine, his broad shoulders blocking out the setting orange sun. "Roars like a lion. Don't worry about it."
The bell over the entrance to Brockmore Hall rings. Dinner. My chest fights to expand. Other than my roommate, who I met during my campus tour this morning, I'll know no one at my table.
"So is this for the dinner tonight?" It's a stupid thing to say, because obviously they'd need like forty more boxes to feed the school, but I don't want him to leave. I like his dimple, and I want to see if I can get a peek at it one more time.
"Nope." He looks up at the giant clock above the two oak doors. "Six already? Crap!" He stashes his motorbike in the bushes and plucks the box of pizza off the grass.
"But dinner starts at six? It's six right now." I spin to follow him. What's the issue?
"Yes, but even if we bolt we won't make it until 6:03, and in the headmistress's book, that's as good as failing. Come on." He reaches out, takes my hand, and drags me up the steps. My skin tingles when the warmth of his palm presses against mine.
Inside, he directs me down the main corridor back toward the computer lab. Or, what I think is the computer lab. Maybe it's the student services office. "Why are we going this way?"
"Get caught walking in late? Not wise." His fingers tighten, then we take a right down the hall that leads to the grand stairway. I will my palms not to sweat as every nerve ending that touches his skin dances with the warmth of his hand. A gentle warmth crawls up my chest and up my neck. This is the first time I've ever held hands with a guy who wasn't my father. It can't always be this spectacular, can it?
"Watch out for the step," he warns. When I glance down to take the step up into the adjoining hallway, my marinara-covered pants scream at me to come to my senses. I can't meet everyone at Brockmore like this!
"No, wait. I need to change." I stop near the grand stairway, picking at the red stains. "People are going to think I've been stabbed."
"Trust me. Being stabbed is better than being late, in Creighton's book." He shakes his head and leads me forward, his other hand briefly brushing my back. The pizza box he carries wobbles a bit, yet his hand remains there. He leads me past the grand stairway down the next corridor and then presses a large panel of woodwork along the wall. A deep creak, and the wood reveals a concealed door.
"Is she really that bad?" The headmistress seemed so patient in the office with my parents, far from a strict dictator.
"She's tolerable, but pissing off the headmistress isn't the best way to start the school year." He holds open the door. "Coming?"
Getting in trouble the first day could mark me for the entire semester. He's right. The last thing I need is to piss off administration before the year even starts.
I sigh in defeat as I step up into the small passageway. The space is long, twisty, and dark. He lights the way with his cell phone, and after we take a left turn, we have to shimmy past a butler cart.
"Should we be down here?" I'm forced to jog every few steps to keep up with his athletic pace.
"Absolutely not," he says over his shoulder. "That's part of the fun though, isn't it?" His dimple pops again when he laughs, his step picking up a bounce. He's loving every moment of this, and here I am fearing expulsion with each step. We run twenty more feet before he pauses at a thin, wooden door. He touches a finger to his lips then he pushes it open a crack. I peer in at a sea of students surrounding linen-covered tables.
"How well do you handle pressure?" he whispers.
His eyebrow lifts as he assesses me. I must have done something right, because eventually he nods. "You'll be fine. Just stay quiet." He gives my hand a squeeze before stepping into the dining hall, pulling me behind him before I can bolt back down the corridor.
Excerpted from It Had to be You by Lizzy Charles, Kate Brauning. Copyright © 2017 Lizzy Charles. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Let me start with this, what a stinking cute story. I have to admit that I was hooked from the beginning. I'll be honest when I started this book I had a little bit of a hard time connecting with Edel, mostly because all I could think was she was this pretentious rich girl. Thankfully as the book went on I came to realize she was just a normal teen, and I also realized that I was judging her just like a normal teenager and I felt kind of bad for that. She's starting a brand new school, which she's never even been to school in the fist place! She just wants to have that normal teenage experience and this is basically her last chance before being thrown in to College Life and trying to adapt to that. Also can we talk about the "meet cute". I am a sucker for a good meet cute whether it be in a book, on a show, or in a movie. Granted I would have been pretty upset had I been in Edel's position, but I think James saved it. I felt like I knew a little bit about how things were going to go with this, but then again I was pretty surprised with things that were happening. The whole time I was questioning things but I still kept wanting to read and keep figuring things out. Yes, this book is extra cheesy, but isn't that what makes contemporary's what we love? I know personally that I really love cheesy contemporary books because it just makes me fall in love with the characters even more and gives me that butterfly feeling in my stomach. That is how I know I've found a good contemporary novel. Sometimes things seemed a bit convenient when twists happened, but I never lost that butterfly feeling with this book and I just felt that it was so cute I couldn't stop reading it. If you are an avid contemporary reader I would suggest this from you. It is such a fun and easy read that just pulls you in and makes you want to continue to read it. It really is hard to put it down until you realize that it's over. I am so excited to know that this is technically a first book so I'm excited to see how the next novel will go and what will happen!
I got this book at just the right time! Last week as part of my Top 5 Wednesday post, I talked about what kind of Summer time reads I was looking forward to and I spotlighted contemporary novels. While this book doesn't take place in the summer, I think it's just the right kind of lighthearted fare to read during the hot months ahead (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere like me, though you should totally still read this if it isn't summer). Edelweiss and James are two students at Brockmore Academy, a boarding school that I wouldn't be out of place comparing to Chilton from the television show Gilmore Girls. In fact, Edelweiss and her roommate Tuti talk about binge-watching this show and whose team they're on more than once in the course of the book. Edelweiss (shortened to Edel) and James are at Brockmore for different reasons and both want to stay there. Through a slightly complicated series of events, they come up with an arrangement: pretend to be dating to show that James is serious to his father and so Edel can have the normal high school experience after being home schooled by her diplomat parents. This was a fast read that had all the hallmarks of a high school drama. It was a lot of fun to read and I didn't find any slow points. I think there are some parts that could have been fleshed out a bit more, such as the friendships that Edel formed between herself and her roommate and some of the other girls in her dorm, or some of the smaller chats that she and James must have had that lead to them falling in real love. There are some cliches in the book, such as the high school Mean Girl who we don't learn too much about other than the cursory things (she's James's ex, she's jealous of Edel, etc.). Maybe it's because I don't read too many of these books, but this didn't bother me too much even though I know it's happened a lot before. I am curious if we'll learn more about her, though, her inner workings, that sort of thing. The secondary characters introduced had the potential to be really great: Tuti, the YouTube celebrity that pays her bills by promoting her channel supremely well; Ainsley, the foster kid with a head for computers; Charlotte, Grant, Procter, and more. I learned just enough about each of them to be able to keep them separate in my head, but I wish I knew more. This book, however, was mostly true to Edel and James, so I understand in the end why we might not have heard as much as I'd have liked about the others. I think this is only Brockmore Academy book #1, so there will hopefully be more adventures for all involved.. James still has half a year left as a senior at the school and Edel has her own senior year before the advent of college. Who knows what lays in store for these two? Will Emma, the school's Mean Girl and James's ex, come back with a vengeance? Will Ainsley, one of the friends Edel has made this year, find a resolution to her own familial questions? Lizzy Charles has authored a brilliant little book here and I hope to read more soon. And, for the record, I'm with Edel on this Gilmore Girls opinion: #TeamLogan all the way! I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Adorable fake romance to the real thing with all the bumps you'd expect along the way. If you're looking to fill a rainy afternoon this charming story is the perfect way to work out your need for a little teen angst. Given to me for review by Entangled through Netgalley.
It Had to Be You by Lizzy Charles.....This story is a cute fun story about a fake relationship in high school. James and Edelweiss were cute together with some drama and fun to watch this story unfold. This is my first book by this author and it won't be my last. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book from publisher via NetGalley.
This book was so cute and fluffy, and I loved it! I needed a book like this to read during finals and get my mind off actual work. I am a huge fan of fake romance turned true love stories. As cliched and cheesy as they are, I cannot help but enjoy their drama. This book was adorable and a surprisingly quick read. It follows Edelweiss and James, a quiet girl going to school for the first time, and the most popular guy on campus. With that alone, I knew I was going to enjoy this novel. Edelweiss (Edel for short) has lived all around the globe with her diplomat parents. Now, for the first time, she is going to go to an actual school, Brokemore Academy, and she has with her a list of things she wants to complete to have officially lived a good high school experience. Among those things are: Make the type of friends who will laugh with you until you cry or cry with you until you laugh Stay up all night long binging Netflix with my roommate Give a speech And the most important: Fall in love and break up Enter James, charming, handsome, and resident bad boy at Brokemore. His dad is in the military and has traveled the world to do his duty. Sadly, this means that he has left James behind to be raised by his aunt with the hopes of giving him a normal life. And while James is thankful, all he really wants is his father’s attention and to make him proud. And then, James runs into Edle (literally), and sparks (and a little bit of pizza) fly. In order to please James dad, and give Edel a sense of security at the new school, the two make a deal, pretend to date each other through the semester. With the bargain struck, a friendship starts to build, and soon, something else starts to form beneath. But what I liked more than the romance was the characters. I like they are each their own person. Many times in YA romance novels the characters are only half people, needed their other half to be a full person. I don’t like that. Here, both James and Edel know what they want and who they are. They are strong minded and loyal, and good. James especially, I felt was a very well developed character. Usually, the male lead’s personality revolves around being handsome and tough. James, on the other hand, was such a nice guy who genuinely loved his family and truly did everything in his power to make his father happy. I also loved all of the side characters. Julie was great, I love seeing good depictions of adults in YA. So many times are adults two-dimensional idiots or heartless jerks in YA. And then there is Ainsley, I want more of her story. I want to know what happens next with her, which is why I am glad that there will be more to this series. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I read it all in one night and could not put it down. Admittedly, it took me a bit to truly get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. Great novel! Also, just cause, let’s give a hand up for this super awesomely adorable interracial couple. Honestly, the people on the cover was what really pulled me in and made me want to read it. I need more books like this in YA contemporary! **I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
There are very few books that keep me up hours past my self-imposed bed-time. (I admit that i go to bed early. With 2 kids, I never know when they'll get up) If you are judging this book by the synopsis and the cover...don't. Based on those two things I was expecting a cheesy teenage rom-com that would be cute, but not necessarily original or life-altering. The synopsis doesn't seem to get to the heart of the story, and I wish there weren't people on the cover, because my image of what Edel and James looked like differed from the models on the cover and it messes with my psyche. But all of that aside, I read the entire thing in one sitting. I don't do that. Thankfully it wasn't longer than it was, because I only got five hours of sleep last night. First off, I loved the character of Edelweiss (don't you love that name?). She is a girl who has been homeschooled her whole life, and is now wanting to try out a boarding school to help prepare her for college. As a parent who homeschools my own child, I laughed out loud at her missteps, knowing they were totally realistic. She has an idealistic view of the world, and is taken aback when she realizes that she had no idea how to navigate this new world she has been thrown in. (To be fair to homeschoolers, I don't think anyone would know how to navigate that school. A boarding school for rich kids, it turns out, is messed up!) I also loved James. He's a good kid who still has typical teenage boy stuff going on (loves to do pranks, going out with girls, etc.) I wish he hadn't been the stereotypical football player (seriously, choose a new sport, people.) But the point is, he was likeable, but also completely real. And the push and pull dynamic between him and Edelweiss was so spot-on, it had me crying in all the right places. (Yes, I totally bawled at like midnight. Thank goodness my husband was asleep or I'd have been so embarrassed.) This is a character-driven novel where the people are driving the story, not reacting to it. This can be difficult to write because you don't have a complex plot to make up for flaws in your character development. But I felt Lizzy Charles did a beautiful job at this. She has a simple writing style where she doesn't try to be overly-flowery. No drawn out scenes that didn't need to be, no complex language that convoluted things. None of her characters were over-the-top or corny. It was straight-up awesomeness. If it wasn't obvious, I am giving It had to be You 5 out of 5 Stars and a place in my Top Hits. NOTE: There is a little vulgarity, including a couple uses of the F-word, a few sexual innuendos, and although there isn't physical violence, there is some bullying.
A cute read. Edel did seem a little more naive then I thought should would be, being a daughter of a diplomat and having lived/traveled abroad. Maybe it was due to her being homeschooled. She was refreshing innocent and also completely clueless.
“It Had to Be You” was a sweet book that follows Edelweiss’s transition from homeschooling to an elite private school. Edelweiss (who goes by Edel, like Adele) is close with her parents, who are diplomats and have taken her around the world. Edel wants to be well-prepared for college, and so she has convinced them to let her attend Brockmore, an elite private school. Her parents have also helped her to create a list of experiences she should have to be prepared for college- the first one is to fall in love and break-up. Her parents’ good friend’s son also attends Brockmore. James is a prankster, and although his pranks are seemingly harmless, his military father has threatened to pull him out of school if he can’t take it seriously. Brockmore means everything to James, and he really wants to finish out his senior year there before going to WestPoint. However, the call of the pranks is too hard to resist, and on the first day of school, he pulls a prank that infuriates his father to the point of wanting to pull him out. Luckily, he has already run into Edel and helped her to get out of a sticky situation- to which she proposed fake dating to help both of them. By telling his father that he is dating Edel, his father decides to let him stay, even though he is on thin ice. Predictable but cute, their fake relationship takes some turns they weren’t expecting. A lack of communication plays prominently in the frequent misunderstandings. I loved the first half of the book, and the slow build-up of a relationship/attraction- they were both easy characters to love, and I had a hard time not reading this book in one sitting. However, the last half of the book took a completely unexpected and odd turn into something different. I don’t want to include spoilers, so I won’t say what happens, but it seemed really over the top, and not necessary to the main plot (e.g. their relationship). I wish it hadn’t been included, as it really detracted from the overall sweetness of their relationship and felt like it came out of left field. I also didn’t like how the super-brave and confident Edel suddenly became someone who wouldn’t go with her friends to a dance because she didn’t have a date- it didn’t seem to fit the personality I knew and loved from the first half of the book. I loved the first half of the book but wish the second half had been more of the first. That being said, I devoured this book in less than a day and really enjoyed the school/premise and couple overall. I'd give it about 3.5 stars for the things I loved and those I didn't like as much. I am excited to see that this will be a series, and I look forward to reading about some of the other interesting students at Brockmore! Overall, it was a really sweet and heartfelt book- perfect for a summer read! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Lizzy Charles is one of my favorite authors. Her books are an auto-buy for me, always! And IT HAD TO BE YOU might be my new favorite. Warning! Make sure you have time to read it all in one sitting. I sat down to read "just one chapter" before practicing my presentation for a conference ... and didn't put it down until hours later, after I'd finished reading the entire book and no longer had time to practice my presentation. (Actually, this turned out to be a good thing, because I was totally stressing about the presentation, and this book was just the right balance of thought-provoking moments and delicious fun to pull me out of my nervousness, so I was relaxed when it was time to present!) James and Edel are adorable, and the fake dating trope is one of my favorites. I'm usually frustrated by the miscommunications that keep conflict going in a story like this ("why don't they just TALK to each other??"), but James and Edel do talk. The way teens are likely to communicate. He tries to have a heart-to-heart with her, she misinterprets what he's saying and responds in a way that accidentally confirms his fear that they could never be a real couple. She tries to let him know that her feelings are real; he misreads her meaning and responds in a way that confirms HER biggest fears. Add in the friends, frenemies, and nemeses who pop in and out of the story in their attempts to help (or hurt) ... and you have a story that's equal parts realistic and total escapism. The perfect way to spend an enjoyable afternoon!