Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas. 2017.
I liked this, it was light and fun; fake relationship but he’s really into her all along, which is definitely my jam. I liked that he was willing to be what she needed, and really adores her for her competence and ideas. Their chemistry was lovely, and I enjoyed the way they worked out the fake relationship parts, and especially how they navigated that first big party situation. Also can we take a moment to appreciate a cover that really suits the book? The colors, the light, the watercolor quality, the expression on Pio’s face…it’s perfect.
This is a #romanceclass novel, by a Filipinx author, centering Filipinx characters, and set in the Phillipines. It’s got deep cultural specificity, something that I really appreciate from #romanceclass books in general, and I think this book is especially wonderful in that regard. I liked the ways that both theater and place were woven into the story, and the family dynamics going on added some great complexity. I also enjoyed hating Audrey’s jerk of an ex.
I liked both the MCs, and particularly the heroine; I wanted her to have more of her own arc for herself, separate from the romance. I wished that I had gotten to know the characters a bit more deeply, especially the hero. I struggled with how intensely Pio was into Audrey so quickly, especially because her breakup was so fresh.
It also has some elements that didn’t work for me. There was a diabetes joke, which is a pet peeve of mine, and totally jolted me out of the story. Hero rescuing heroine from creepy guys is not my favorite meet-cute (though I know it appeals to other folks as a trope). I had a hard time with him redecorating her home while she was away, just because she left him a key because he had slept over the night before. That feels like such a boundary push, to me. And for him to then push that very same day in another way, it felt too much like a whirlwind of pressure. It didn’t seem like Audrey was upset about him redecorating; I definitely would have been in her shoes, especially since I wasn’t sure Pio knew her well enough to assume that it was okay reaching out to her family to plan it.
I had not read Waiting in the Wings when I read this. It did feel a bit like this book was starting in the middle of things and I was trying to catch up. I didn’t especially mind that, but it might be good to read that one first, especially since Pio gets introduced, so maybe it would feel like he was more fully fleshed out if you have read it. (I hear that its great!) I love theater books, so it’s on my TBR! This is my first book by this author, and I’m looking forward to reading more!
- Filipina heroine
- Filipino hero
- Filipina author
Content Warnings (in white, highlight to read)
Alcohol use. Damsel in distress rescue moment from creepy guys. Cheating is referenced multiple times. On the page sex. Ableist joke.
- Source of the book: I bought this myself.
- I have had no contact with the author.
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