Highly Suspicious & Unfairly Cute


I wish it wasn’t YA

Talia Hibbert is one of my favorite adult romance authors. She’s a fantastic writer, and I love her characters, so I had high hopes for her first foray into Teen Fiction, which is mostly a success.

Bradley and Celine were close friends growing up but now find themselves in different groups in high school. Bradley is an athlete and star of the football team, which puts him in a different social strata from Celine. Celine is a bit of a brainiac obsessed with conspiracy theories and odd bits of information, which she believes makes her an outsider and unable to be part of the ‘cool kids.’ She blames Bradley for abandoning her for the popular group and is standoffish toward him.

There’s a low-key academic rivalry between the two, and because of this, they both sign up for a woodland survival course to win the grand prize, which will help them get into college. Of course, the two are paired on a team and must learn to communicate and work through their issues to win a scholarship.

My issue with this book is that it felt like it belonged in that weird world between teen fiction and adult romance. It’s cute, sweet, and wholesome, but it felt as though having the book take place through an entire school year messed with the pacing a bit much, so the enemies-to-lovers trope never really felt impactful. Talia Hibbert is a fantastic writer of banter and back-and-forth between love interests, but I didn’t feel like the chemistry translated over to her YA work. Another thing I adore about Hibbert’s books is the sexual elements, as she’s excellent at writing sex scenes, but obviously, that is not an option here. I totally understand not having that be a part of this title, but without those elements, this one fell a bit flat for me.

As the title says, this is a cute book, but it didn’t give me the usual happy feeling I get from Hibbert’s other work.

Title: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
Author: Talia Hibbert
Format:  Hardcover
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780593482339

Three Descriptors: Cute, Teen, Authentic,

Read Alikes:
In the Same Boat by Holly Green
The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding
Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs

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