Book review: Why Now? by Carey Heywood

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Growing up, best friends Kacey and Reilly were inseparable.  Now in their late twenties, they’re still roommates, and the only thing that’s changed is Kacey just got engaged to their friend Heath. Then Reilly’s older brother Jake comes home for a visit and everything blows up.  Kacey had an unrequited crush on Jake for twenty years, and now that he’s home, he’s not too happy that she’s taken. The question is – What changed? Why now?

This book was so disappointing! I enjoyed Carey Heywood’s Him when I read it in 2016 and I was hoping for that same vibe here. Not so much. There’s very little plot and so much of it centers around the fact that Kacey spent twenty years in love with her best friend’s brother. Twenty years where he knew and did nothing to either encourage or discourage her. Then, the day after she decides to move on and gets engaged to one of his friends, he decides to make a move on her and she lets him? I just… WHAT?

Let me throw out some good things about this book before I get into why exactly this book rubbed me the wrong way. First, it’s a nice, light read. It’s not heavy on the drama and despite the subject matter, there’s actually very little conflict. It’s a quick read – it took me about three hours on a rainy afternoon. I also got really invested in some of the side characters, but, that said, I have no intentions of continuing on with the series.

So, here’s the thing. Best friend’s brother is one of my top romance tropes of all time. I absolutely adore it, which doesn’t even make sense because I certainly never had a crush on a best friend’s brother growing up. Did any of my best friends even have appropriately-aged brothers?  I don’t think so.  But anyway, throw in a best friend’s brother-type situation and I’ll probably love the book.  So what happened that I didn’t?

I think the biggest thing was that I just didn’t buy Jake’s sudden change of attitude. I never got the impression that he actually liked – let alone loved – Kacey because his attraction comes out of nowhere as soon as he hears that she’s engaged. We get all this build-up of Kacey’s attraction to him. She’s loved him for twenty years. The whole town knows. Everybody makes fun of her. So on and so forth. But Jake? He’s just happily ignoring her until he finds out that she’s taken. It’s only then that he wants her, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get her. To someone on the outside looking in, it seems like he’s upset that she’s no longer trailing after him. That he wants a chase. Not that he actually cares.  Maybe I’d buy it if we’d been able to see some of his pining from afar, but we didn’t, and so I couldn’t take him seriously.

So many unrealistic things happen over the course of this book. I am generally able to suspend a lot of disbelief when it comes to romance novels. I mean, one of my favorite books of 2017 was about a girl who marries a subway musician that she’s crushed on forever just to get him a green card. I have no problem accepting crazy things in the name of love, but some of the things that Jake did to win back Kacey’s heart, the whole engagement fiasco, and even the town’s over-the-top reaction to everything that happened just seemed forced.

The characters felt much younger than they were supposed to be and the one pairing I really wanted to happen (that would have forced me to read on in the series) was shot down. I’m just so disappointed.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

#killingthetbr: 9 months on shelf