“Thank You, Next” Hooked Me with The Premise

(Full disclosure: I received a complimentary digital review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Book links in this post are Bookshop.org affiliate links).

When I read the synopsis for Andie J. Christopher’s Thank You, Next, I clicked that request button on NetGalley so hard I’m surprised I didn’t break something. Here’s the one line description that got me hooked:

“Alex Turner is never The One — but always the last one an ex dates before finding love — and now she’s determined to find out why in this hilarious new rom-com.” —NetGalley synopsis of Thank You, Next

I can’t quite explain why, but I’m a sucker for the “always the one before they find the one” trope, even more so when it involves a quest through the past to try and figure out why. And if the would-be love interest decides to tag along on the quest? I’m so there. 

I’m thrilled that Berkley gave me the green light on an advanced review copy so I could settle my curiousity about this title ASAP and participate in the publication day blog blitz. Happy pub day to Thank You, Next and thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for the chance to read it in advance. 

You already know I was excited to read this one, so let’s get in to how I felt about it once I did. 

What I Liked

Alex and her friends are strong, independent women, as is her star of a grandmother. I loved seeing them interact with one another, and that they each lived a life of their own making that still allowed them to be their full selves. 

Alex is a little prickly and standoffish, which I loved to see in the female protagonist of a romance. So often, they’re cast in the sunshine light, and women are allowed to be complicated, smart, and sexy, too. 

I already mentioned that I like the premise here, of a journey of self-discovery sparked by the realization that you’re the last stop before your romantic partners find bliss. 

There’s also some good diversity in the cast of characters, with a wide range of sexualities and gender identities present as well as racial diversity. This made the world feel refreshingly real and present because reality also contains these multitudes. 

If you’re a fan of on-the-page spice, this book delivers a good amount of that, which I appreciate especially in a romance that features years of accumulated sexual tensions between the couple. 

Finally, I enjoyed the mature, adult way that the central conflict was ultimately handled. Our protagonists showed they had learned and grown through their previous missteps in love with how they handled things when the going got rough on their way to HEA, which I enjoyed. 

What I Didn’t Like

Because I was so excited for the tagline premise of the book, the way it actually played out on the page fell short for me. Not that much space on the page is actually dedicated to the quest to interview Alex’s exes, considering it’s the primary plot driver in the synopsis. I wanted more awkward conversations and a longer parade of exes, and that just didn’t end up actually being the driving force of the book.

What was the driving force of the book was the somewhat repetitive contrived reasons why Alex and would-be love interest Will think getting together would be a bad idea. I wish we’d spent a little less time focusing on this, because several chapters felt like we were stuck on replay with some of the thoughts that Alex and Will rehashed, respectively. While that can be the way these things go in our heads IRL, it didn’t make for particularly smooth reading and just felt frustrating when I wanted to get to the good stuff (see previous paragraph).

Ultimately, while there was a lot to love here, I felt let down by this book simply because I didn’t feel like it delivered on the premise that made me excited to pick it up in the first place. If I hadn’t gone in wanting more of that, I probably would have liked this book better. 

I recommend this book to fans of an enemies-to-lovers romance, on-the-page spice, and watching flawed characters work to figure out their issues to find love. Thank You, Next came out today, June 14th.

Keep up with the latest book reviews by following us here, on Medium, Instagram, and/or Twitter. You can also support us by joining Medium using this referral link or buying me a coffee!

“The Fastest Way to Fall” Made Me Fall In Love With Running All Over Again

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads, image created in Canva

You might’ve noticed I’ve been on a bit of a running-related reading kick lately. I’m the kind of person who falls into hobbies like rabbit holes, and now that I’m gearing up for my second half-marathon (first in person, if life cooperates), I feel drawn to books with running in them.

The Fastest Way to Fall isn’t really about running, at least not primarily. The basic setup is this: Britta is a journalist who pitches a piece about her experience using the FitMe app to get healthier. Wes is the CEO of FitMe and he’s feeling a bit disconnected from his passion for work, so he decides to take on a couple of clients again. 

Naturally, Wes winds up coaching for none other than the journalist reviewing the app — not that he knows it. As the two exchange jokes in app, then via text, and finally in person, boundaries and ethical lines get blurry and sparks fly. 

Though I’m not always the biggest fan of a forbidden romance underpinned by concealed identites like this one, I very much enjoyed this audiobook. 

What I Liked

In the pages (er, audio file?) of this book, Wiliams tackles a lot of difficult topics and handles them well — body image, crash dieting, the balance between loving your body while wanting to get stronger, alcololism, and more. She opens the book with a helpful content warning that notes the ways in which she will address this topics, which was helpful to frame the reading experience for me. 

Britta is fat, and while she struggles with body image like anyone else, she’s mostly just living her life and loving her strength in the curvy body she’s in. I really liked this representation and how she works to hit fitness goals that are (mostly) not related to weight loss. It felt like a realistic portrayal of what it’s like to love fitness in a bigger body. 

The love story starts off with an epistolary element while the two share messages in the FitMe app, and I’m a sucker for this way of love interests getting to know one another. It’s also a bit friends-to-lovers and definitely a slow burn, since they kid themselves into thinking they can just be friends due to the ethical conundrum of their feelings for one another. 

Britta starts training for a 10K towards the middle of the book! I love hearing about people’s training experiences, and a 10K was my first “big” running goal, so I loved seeing this on the page. The way Williams describes training and the feeling of getting stronger as a runner was super relatable and reminded me of my own early days learning to run. 

The relationship between Britta and her sometimes-rival, Claire, was refreshing. The two are competing for a staff writer jobas they collaborate on the Body FTW project (Claire is reviewing a rival app, Hotter You), but they still support one another and try to break out of the “women must be workplace rivals” stereotype. 

I also liked that Britta and Claire are women of color, yet this isn’t treated as a defining characteristic or central conflict in the book. The fact that they’re of color doesn’t come up often, and it’s refreshing to see this treated as just one part of their identity instead of something that has to be a huge conflict in the book. I could see where some readers might be frustrated by this identity being almost overlooked or a side note, but that was not my personal experience with this book. 

What I Didn’t Like

Ahh yes, the “ambitious woman is basically a monster” trope. Wes’ ex and head of rival fitness app Hotter You is a bit of a stereotypical female executive villain, and I did not like that aspect of the book. She could’ve been a compelling character but unfortunately we didn’t see much besides her ambitious, cruel side in the pages of this book. 

I also didn’t love that part of Britta achieving her dream of skydiving required her to lose weight, since she mentions that she used to be over the weight limit. While this is a real thing and thin privilege exists, it felt a bit weird to toss that in at the end of the book when so much of the rest of the story was about Britta learning to love her body for what it can do, not the number on the scale. 

In all, this was a great read! The audio performance was excellent, as well, even if I’ll never quite love the way most male narrators do female voices. 

I recommend The Fastest Way to Fall to fans of forbidden romance, runners, people who’ve struggled with body image (who are ready to read about it), and folks who love some quality banter between love interests. 

(Full disclosure: This post uses Bookshop.org affiliate links)

Want more bookish goodness? Follow us here on Medium, Instagram, and/or Twitter. You can also check out my free newsletter, Amanda Reads, where you’ll get a book recommendation, some words from the web, and a little tarot to start your week.

You might also consider signing up using this referral link or buying me a coffee to support my work (and running shoe collection).