Thanks to partner NetGalley and St. Martin'S Press for the digital ARC of Sophie Sullivan’s A Guide to Being Just Friends. The book will be published on Tuesday, January 17!
Sophie Sullivan’s A Guide to Being Just Friends is book three in her Jansen Brothers series (following Ten Rules for Faking It and How to Love Your Neighbor). This one may just be my favorite of the three.
Book three centers on Wes Jansen, the oldest brother who set himself the goal, when he was very young, of protecting his younger brothers from the trauma of his parents’ vicious fights and eventual divorce. This has left him proud of the lives that they lead but convinced that loving someone will lead only to misery.
Hailey Sharp has moved to a small town and opened a new salad restaurant, By the Cup, in hopes of starting fresh after a toxic relationship and ugly breakup. Though her business is struggling, she’s determined to make her new life work.
Hailey and Wes’s meet cute is not so cute. Hailey, seeking to drown her sorrows about her new business in chocolate, has picked up a to go order at the neighboring bakery when Wes approaches her, convinced that she’s his date. When she protests—she’s Hailey, not Hayden—his reaction is less than kind.
But Wes is determined to admit and apologize for his mistakes (unlike his dad!), so when circumstances bring him together with Hailey again, their friendship begins.
While Wes’s determination to be friends-and-nothing-more meets with approval from Hailey, still fragile from her last relationship, it did eventually strain my credulity. Still, with a bit of suspension of disbelief, I was immersed in this romance and enjoyed the slow build of their relationship. I’m also a fan of romance series, allowing the reader to see the couples from previous books living out their happily ever afters, so this one was a joy.
I’m sad that Sophie Sullivan’s first series is over, but I look forward to what comes next!
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I'm Jen Moyers, co-host of the Unabridged Podcast and an English teacher.