You are cordially invited to another book review post! Except, unlike most things you’re “cordially invited” to, this doesn’t require a gift (making your way through this post, and perhaps staying around for whatever’s next, is gift enough) and you don’t even need to dress up!
You might think I’ve lost the plot with that opener but The Worst Best Man, the second book for the book club organised by the lovely Brooke (you absolutely have to check out her blog and her Instagram, I promise you won’t be disappointed), begins with – and ends at (not a spoiler) – a wedding.
I absolutely love a good romance so I knew this would be right up my street. Of course, with working from home and reading a lot of other books (including Sisters by Michelle Frances, Olive by Emma Gannon and How it All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi), it took me longer than I thought it would to read The Worst Best Man. Thankfully, it was worth the wait.
A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.
Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.
If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.
But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…
Unlike Meddling Kids, the first book I read as part of this book club, once I sat myself down and devoted the time to reading this book, I really enjoyed it.
The Worst Best Man takes a woman scorned to the next level, not only by making a brutal dumping happen on Lina’s wedding day but also by forcing the ex’s together again for a bit of competition, and his younger brother tags along as well!
It’s such a different premise than I’m used to but I loved watching everything (the revenge, the romance, the right amount of drama) unfold.
Sosa’s narrative has this quality of drawing you in almost immediately, it’s sharp, funny but it also has a bit of sensitivity to it. We see a lot of sides to the characters but I loved the fact that, even at their most confident, we saw them questioning themselves and letting themselves be vulnerable ( 👏 more of this in books please 👏).
The book alternates between the points of view of wedding planner Lina and businessman Max. I love a book with a dual narrative and, luckily, I actually liked both characters in this one.
Lina is methodical, a bit feisty and fiercely protective of her roots, her family and whatever she believes in. Given the early reviews from other people in the book club, I’m glad to report I’m not the only one that fancied Max. He’s calm, patient, a little bit cocky but he’s also tormented by the belief that he’s second best to his brother – something I think a lot of people with siblings will relate to, from time to time. I could’ve easily just read pages upon pages of Max and Lina separately but when they are united for a bit of business – and a lot (😏) of pleasure – the narrative sparks with electricity and I couldn’t put the book down.
Another thing I loved about this book was the inclusion of Lina’s culture in the narrative. I loved her tight knit, equally sassy family and the bits of Portuguese weaved in the narrative (turns out the Spanish I learnt in school, and more recently on Duolingo, was useful for helping me understand what she or her family were saying), it was refreshing having a different culture at the helm of the narrative- even if the food mentioned throughout made me incredibly hungry!
What I really enjoyed about The Worst Best Man was the way the relationship developed. Even though it was a bit NSFW – which some people would find hard to read (though it did make me squirm a few times, I enjoyed reading these parts more than I expected) – the sexual relationship between Lina and Max is all kinds of satisfying. It’s a bit clumsy, a bit cliche at times but (much like Sally Rooney’s Normal People) it’s also about sex and mutual pleasure.
What I wasn’t so keen on was the ending. I didn’t hate the ending, for sure, but – after the exhilarating moments that came before it, and the question as to whether or not it was Max that led his brother to jilt Lina on their wedding day – it just felt a bit flat. Regardless what the outcome would’ve been, Andrew already becomes the antagonist through the dual narrative – and the fact that his character is just boring – so it just felt pointless building it all up. Saying that, though the book didn’t end with the same sense of excitement that carried the novel, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and a not so subtle reminder of just how single I am (if anyone is, or has, a hot brother: apply within).
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