Every time I heard the expression “meet cute,” I think of the movie, The Holiday when Kate Winslet’s character learns about the term from that adorable, old Hollywood writer she helps find his way home. There have been some great meet cutes that I’ve read lately (My Oxford Year, for example) and I was really excited to experience this one by Helena Hunting—I mean, it’s the title of the book for goodness’ sake!
Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran—quite literally—into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…
Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner.
The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?
I will admit that the cover is a little deceiving on this one, but I guess that’s why we’re told never to judge a book that way. I was expecting a much lighter rom-com, but got something much more complex, emotionally, and more mature as well. I thought we were going to see Dax and Kailyn’s relationship in college a little more and experience the event that tore them apart, and although it’s mentioned and does cause some tension, it’s really not as big of a deal as the blurb lets on. And the title is a little strange, too, because the way they meet is sort of glazed over…so just be prepared for that.
The character development was real and believable. I believe Daxton acts the way a 30-year-old man who is all of a sudden asked to take care of a 13-year-old girl would act; I think Emme, the teenager in question, handles herself the way a teenaged girl who just lost her parents would; and Kailyn steps into a role that she takes seriously because of her own upbringing (which we don’t spend too much time with, might I add, and I think that was the best way to handle it). I also enjoyed that you got Dax’s perspective in the book—too often we only get the female’s point of view and it was refreshing to hear from him.
The one thing I want to give this book a major standing ovation for is how sexual consent is written the way it should be: like it’s a must-have for every encounter. I guess it’s a bit of a spoiler in saying that the two main characters have sex (I mean, it is a romantic-comedy book after all), but the first time they do it, they take turns asking whether what they’re about to do it okay and whether they can proceed. This is how more romance writers should treat sex because this is how humans should treat sex—especially that first time. Thank you, Helena Hunting!
“As an adult, I don’t do crushes anymore. At least that’s what I tell myself as I trade my glasses for contacts, check my hair, reapply my lip gloss, and adjust my skirt before I leave the office to meet them for lunch.” —Helena Hunting, Meet Cute
Thank you to Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash for the featured photo of the couple on the stairs.