I’ve been quietly anticipating the next installment of Sally Thorne’s work ever since I read The Hating Game last year. I know I was a little late on picking it up (a friend recommended it to me when I asked about light beach-read-type books), but it was definitely one of my favourite reads from last year. When I saw that there was already a second novel in the works, I was so excited for its release. If I couldn’t get a sequel (and a more in depth look into Lucy and Josh’s love story), this was going to be the next best thing.
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
This was an interesting read for me. I went into it with really, very high (like, almost impossible) expectations because I absolutely loved The Hating Game. I mean, I gave the former a 5-star rating, and if you’ve been following along, you know that I really don’t give those out lightly. I do think the reason I loved THG so much was because it caught me by surprise, but nevertheless, I was pumped to read Thorne’s follow-up.
I will be honest—I had really hard time liking Darcy at the beginning. I didn’t understand why she had such an attitude, she seemed pretty ungrateful for the things she had been given in life, she had a heart problem that she basically ignored, and she talked about her nipple piercing… a lot. (And my impression of her twin brother, Jamie, was that he was even more self-centered, less self-aware and kind of a horrible person.) But Tom Valeska? That man’s a gem. He’s so patient and driven and definitely has flaws of his own, but you can see him grow throughout the course of the story, and that in itself is worth sticking with it. And he’s really good Darcy. He makes her less annoying and more of well-rounded character.
Fans of The Hating Game will like this book a lot, if not just for the charm of Sally Thorne’s writing. If you, like me, are struggling through the first little bit, I promise the payoff in the end is worth it. And an even better bonus is that there are bonus epilogue chapters for both Darcy and Tom’s story, but for Lucy and Josh, too!
“A guy like that is strong in a way that’s deeper than muscle and bones, because he wears his softness on the outside. I think I met my ideal man when I was eight, and no one else has ever measured up.” —Sally Thorne, 99 Percent Mine
Thank you to Ben Rosett on Unsplash for the featured photo of Happily Ever After.