I never feel more uncomfortable about my A through F rating system than when I am reviewing a three-star book. See, if I had stuck with star ratings, it seems obvious to me that three stars is not a bad review. Three stars is decent, maybe even good.
But giving something a ‘C’…well, that seems like a bad review. Like, “when I got a ‘C’ in Life Science in the seventh grade, I got grounded” bad.
But it’s really not. A ‘C’ from me is just me saying, hey…I enjoyed this, and it was exactly the book I thought it was, nothing more or less. It was…shudder…perfectly average.
It was fine.
Which brings us to Homecoming King.
Rex "TW" McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn't bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn't keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he's always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.
Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She's dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.
The guy who just walked into her bar.
The guy who doesn’t recognize her.
The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.
The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.
So. I’m a fan, generally, of a fake-dater. I love watching two people enter into a perfectly-businesslike relationship and then slowly, against their will and in spite of their better judgement, fall in love. I like to watch them fight it. I especially like when each of them thinks that they are the ones breaking the deal, when they feel horrible that they have caught feelings when obviously those feelings can’t be reciprocated.
And I love that moment when it all becomes clear to them both.
This book gave me none of those feelings.
The problem is two-fold. One, Abby has loved Rex since she was five. There’s nowhere for her to fall…she fell on a kindergarten playground.
And Rex…well, he is an enigma…but let’s just say that I didn’t get the slow burn that I was looking for from him, either.
All that said, the book was still…entertaining. I thought that it brought sufficient steam, and the supporting cast was appropriately warm and funny.
But as much as I liked all these people, there was not that moment where I grin like an idiot because these two knuckleheads finally figured it out…and for me, that’s the moment that gets you to a four-star read. That’s the moment where you can escape the tractor-beam of fine.
This book didn’t get us there. It was good. Entertaining. Perfectly acceptable way to spend a day.
I was just disappointed that it wasn’t better.