White chairs draped with pink fabric sit in rows ready for a wedding.

Book Review: The Plus One

I was contacted by St. Martin’s Press to read the final book in the “A Brush with Love” series, though I had only read the second one, Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake, at that point. Though I wasn’t blown away by it, I did like the writing and there were some spicy scenes that I enjoyed reading, so I was hoping maybe a different set of characters was all I needed to jump right in and get excited. We all know I love a good enemies-to-lovers story.

Some facts are indisputable. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west. Gravity exits. Indira doesn’t like Jude. Jude doesn’t like Indira. But what happens when these childhood enemies find the only thing they can rely on is each other?

On paper, Indira has everything together. An amazing job, a boyfriend, and a car. What more could a late twenty-something ask for? But when she walks in on her boyfriend in an amorous embrace with a stranger, that perfect-on-paper image goes up in flames.

Jude has nothing together. A doctor that’s spent the last three years travelling the world to treat emergencies and humanitarian crises, a quick trip home for his best friend’s wedding has him struggling to readjust.

Thrust into an elaborate (and ridiculously drawn out) wedding event that’s stressing Jude beyond belief and has Indira seeing her ex and his new girlfriend far more frequently than any human should endure, the duo strike a bargain to be each other’s fake dates to this wedding from hell. The only problem is, their forced proximity and fake displays of affection are starting to feel a bit… real, and both are left grappling with the idea that a situation that couldn’t be worse, is made a little better with the other around.

TW: PTSD, emotionally abusive/absent parent

What didn’t work for me

The lessons: Though I really enjoyed how much this book tackled mental health (more on that later), it got a little bit preachy or like it was trying too hard to tell a moral of the story in the end. The characters got together earlier in the book than usual, but then a lot of the rest was spent in a therapist’s office or talking about therapy—which, don’t get me wrong, I believe therapy should be mandatory for everyone—that it didn’t really feel like the rom-com we were promised after that. And Indira, a psychologist herself, was a bit too self-aware…it didn’t seem realistic.

The epilogue: Having read the second book in the series before this one, I realize that this epilogue served as an epilogue for the whole group of friends (though why Thuy didn’t get her own book when the other three did makes no sense to me)—and that wasn’t made clear. For anyone who hadn’t read the previous books, it seemed really out of place because it didn’t really move the story along all that much for Indira and Jude, which is usually what an epilogue serves to do. It felt unnecessary.

What I liked

The explicit talk about mental health: Yes, I’m all for this. I will always be a fan of a piece of pop culture bringing mental health struggles (especially for men) to the forefront.

Enemies to lovers—and the spice: I love a good enemies-to-lovers plotline, and we definitely got that here. Though the bickering seemed a bit childish, because they grew up together, it made the passion seem much more believable because there was an inherent trust there. I was NOT expecting the spice level to be as high as it was (loved it!), and it caught me off guard—it was steamy!

I definitely liked this much better than Lizzie Blake—I loved the banter and the wittiness, as well as the ridiculousness of the drawn-out wedding events. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it had some humour, and it touched on some important things in a way that wasn’t a drag. I recommend it for anyone who likes some steamy scenes but isn’t looking for that super cute, hilarious rom-com…because this isn’t that.


An illustration of a woman and a man sitting on opposite wedding chairs looking at each other.

“His friendship with Collin was one of the only good things Jude had left in his sad little life. He couldn’t convince himself he was doing anything to honour that relationship by feeling up Collin’s little sister.” —Mazey Eddings, The Plus One

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Griffin for the advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


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