Title: And the Next Thing You Know…
Series: Why You?: Book Two
Author: Chase Taylor Hackett
Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing
Length: 290 Pages
At a Glance: An enemies-to-lovers story that focuses on the enemies more so than the lovers part of the equation. Despite its flaws and that it took a little while for me to get invested in the story, I ended up enjoying it.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Not the one you’re waiting for . . .
Jeffrey Bornic is getting over his ex. Really. So what if the rising-star attorney is angrily sleeping his way through most of Manhattan’s male population? When the time is right, the perfect partner will show up. And Jeffrey knows exactly what he’ll be like: an ambitious, polished professional who’ll make the ideal other half of a fabulous power couple.
Theo McPherson is definitely not that guy. He’s a short, fiery red-head who works in the arts and wears sneakers held together with duct tape. If it weren’t for the fact that Theo is his best friend’s little (literally) brother, Jeff would be crossing the street to avoid him. Theo, meanwhile, has nothing but contempt for guys in suits, and seems to have deliberately set out to make Jeff’s life miserable, all while grinning at him in that exasperating—some might say irresistible—way that he has.
At least it’s hard for Jeff to keep moping over his ex when he’s butting heads with Theo—and suddenly wondering if the last guy he’d ever fall for might be exactly that . . .
Review: Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite angsty tropes. Something about reading a story with two individuals who have such intense dislike for each other that then blossoms into a romance just gets me right in the feels. And the Next Thing You Know… revolves around Jeffrey (not Jeff, thank you very much) and Theo (do not call him little). It alternates between each of their perspectives, with an occasional secondary character POV. Each change was clearly identified at the beginning of the chapter, which I really appreciated. The characters were all fully dimensional and fleshed out, so it was easy to know whose viewpoint I was reading from. The author created such individuality, with quirks and ways of thinking and processing being so vastly different that it made the characters more realistic and easily identifiable, which is definitely a huge plus.
Jeffrey and Theo meet each other, and it’s hate at first sight. Theo is Jeffrey’s best friend’s little brother, and they are thrown into each other’s orbits. Their relationship gradually develops while they are busy yelling and fighting, purposely trying to annoy the other, being outright mean, and just generally disagreeing with each other. There is a lot of back and forth and banter as they circle around one another.
When I first began reading, I was extremely unsure if this was my cuppa. It wasn’t connecting with me at all, and I was really worried how I was going to continue on since I was struggling hard to get through each page. Why? My best guess is the hectic nature of the thoughts and the overall narration. The inner monologue gave me a bit of whiplash. Adding into the equation the periodic instances where they were essentially speaking directly to the reader, it was not looking good. Also, I had an immediate and intense dislike, bordering on hate, for both Jeffrey and Theo. For reasons…. BUT!!!!! Something happened. I’m not positive when, exactly, but at some point my complete and utter contempt for Jeffrey and Theo turned into…well, not adoration for them, and I can’t say I began to really like them, but they became interesting, and I started finding humor in their interactions. I found myself cracking up at their complete obliviousness to their feelings. Seriously, they were two of the most clueless characters I had ever read. Instead of them being frustrating, they became amusing. Instead of not understanding how the two of them could ever end up together, I started seeing exactly why they should be together.
Jeffrey was a pompous, egotistical jerk the majority of the book. Theo was brash and immature, with a temper that straddled—and sometimes crossed—the line of physical and emotional abuse when he lashed out. When they were in the same room, they were explosive. At first, I didn’t get their slowly building romance; then I began to comprehend how they challenged each other in a way no one ever had before. They pushed each other’s buttons and pushed boundaries, and then I realized (much like they did, eventually) that they were sort of perfect together. Rebecca, Theo’s sister, sums it up pretty nicely:
“You’re both really smart and at the same time total idiots. And you both occasionally feel compelled to be mind-boggling a**holes. Match made in heaven.”
This book has the ‘enemies’ part down pat. Oh boy, the two of them were a whole other level of adversary than I have ever read. The ‘to’ part of the trope is expressed via their slowly emerging feelings, since despite their criticism of each another, and their meanness, they find themselves constantly wanting to be near each other, even if it is just to yell and fight. What you won’t find is much of a focus is the ‘lovers’ part. Though we know they get up to some sexy times, none of it is on page. Nada. None. Zip. There are kisses, there are cuddles, and even holding hands. But that is about all the reader gets, and the rest is alluded to. I don’t mind that one little bit, but that may be a make-or-break requirement for some readers.
Despite this being the second book in a series, I took a couple reviewers’ word for it that this book could be read as a standalone, and I would have to agree. It seems Jeffrey’s backstory involving his broken heart can be found in Where Do I Start?, but there was enough information given that I don’t feel I really missed out on anything.
And the Next Thing You Know… is a different style of enemies-to-lovers story which focuses on the enemies more so than the lovers part of the equation. Despite its flaws and that it took a little while for me to get invested in the story, I ended up enjoying it. I say give it a shot and stick with it. Even if at first you find yourself unsure, you may just be surprised.
You can buy And the Next Thing You Know… here: