I had really high hopes for this book to be a light and fun friends-to-lovers summery read, and it started off really great with a wonderful friendship, fun banter and a lot of hilarious moments. But sadly, about halfway it turned into a story that wasn’t my cup of tea at all, with too much vulgar smut and a borderline toxic relationship.
Reasons Why Not to Date the Best Friend is the third book in the Shell Grove series following a group of friends in a Southeastern small town. I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but had no problem getting into the story or the characters. The books in the series focuses on different persons, and even though the characters and past events from the previous books played a major part in this story too, it was really well done and everything was explained to keep you clued in to what had happened in the past.
In this third book, focus is on the two remaining singles, Maggie and Finn, who have been best friends since they first met eleven years ago, even though they are each other’s opposites. Where Maggie is spontaneous and always looking for a new adventure, Finn is as stable and secure as it gets, happy to run his local bar after his potential football career ended by an accident. With everyone in Maggie’s friend group getting married and having children, she’s feeling a bit left out and like it’s time to find a new adventure. Like accepting the job offer of her dreams in Key West. But for Finn, the news of Maggie leaving, makes him realize that he might have missed the chance to tell the girl of his dreams that he wants them to be way more than just best friends.
I really liked how Maggie was such a joyful, adventurous and badass character, and how her backstory made her so willing to live her life to the fullest rather than being bitter for what she’d missed out on. I also really liked her and Finn’s relationship as friends (even though it was a bit too unrealistic that there was no sexual attraction for so many years) and how supportive they were of each other and their constant banter and pranks.
But once they got together that all changed from fun and sweet into vulgar sex talks and smut, and toxic possessiveness. I don’t mind spice in a romance story, but all the vulgar talking and bad words, and the way Finn changed into a possessive alpha male wanting to stop Maggie from chasing her dreams was a big no no for me. All this talk about Maggie being his, belonging to him and him being her man, and Finns saying things like “Remove all your other male names from your vocabulary, Mags. Mine is the only one you need to know now.” just made me dislike Finn and the whole idea of his and Maggie’s relationship.
The ending made up for a bit - I have to admit that it was really sweet what Finn did - but then it was a bit too late sadly. Too bad when the story and the characters had such great potential!
But even though the story wasn’t for me, it still had a lot of good parts. I really appreciated how Maggie was such a strong headed woman who definitely took no sh*t from anyone and the sex positivity, as well as the wonderful group of friends and all the fun banter. So if you enjoy really steamy stories with dirty talks and obsessive alpha males, please don’t let my review discourage you from reading this book!
Thank you to NetGalley and Xpresso Tours for the ARC of the book, which I have voluntarily reviewed.
2.5 stars rounding up to 3
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez